Erik Klein – BMX Rider and Application Developer ‣ Laurel Ridge Community College
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Erik Klein – BMX Rider and Application Developer

Application inventor Erik Klein, who will graduate next month with his associate of science degree, says dual enrollment packed a double punch for him.

“Dual enrollment really, really helped – both just transitioning into college and also the credits,” he says.

By the time he had graduated from Millbrook High School in 2015, Erik already had 32 college credits thanks to the program.

“For me, it just seemed a lot easier to go into college having done the dual enrollment, getting used to the workload,” he says.

And while he initially attended Stony Brook University in New York thinking he would go into medicine, he decided after one semester that wasn’t the path for him, and returned to Laurel Ridge last spring as a student.

Erik, 19, hopes to transfer to another university next fall, possibly Virginia Commonwealth University.

“I’m already so, so far ahead into the degree, which helps a lot,” he says.

A young man with varied interests and a sharp mind, Erik isn’t sure what his ultimate degree will be.

“I’m split between art and science – I love both of them,” he says.

So, while he’s interested in computer science, he’s also thinking of studying cinema, and maybe even minoring in one of the life sciences. VCU’s cinema students must have a second major, according to Erik, so he could double major in cinema and computer science.

“The realistic side of me says [film alone] is not the smartest option, to put all your eggs in one basket,” he explains. “I like experiencing so many different number of things.”

Another passion of Erik’s is BMX racing, something he does with his stepfather. For his final project in computer science professor Melissa Stange’s class last spring, he developed an application that allows a BMX team leader to manage all of the riders’ information, such as jersey and helmet sizes, bike details and statistics.

Photo of Erik KleinErik developed a way to automate scores in the application. Creating it involved a lot of new learning and work.

“I just love going all out for final projects,” says Erik, who also teaches gymnastics.

He’s sold the application to some other race team managers. Developing applications is a fun challenge for Erik.

“That’s why I like computer science, because it does combine the creativity along with the math [and] science kind of programming part of it, just something where it just makes someone else’s life easier, or it tracks data,” he explains.

Erik doesn’t think he’ll be done with Laurel Ridge come January.

“Even though I’m graduating with my degree this semester, I think I might take one or two classes next semester,” he says.

He figures he can always apply them to his bachelor’s degree when he transfers.

When Erik moved to Frederick County from New York for his final two years of high school, he hadn’t even heard of dual enrollment. The first time he heard the term was when it was mentioned by his AP world history teacher. Erik then  set out to learn more about the program that allows high school students to earn college credits.

“It sounds like a perfect plan,” he remembers thinking.

And, deciding to continue his education at Laurel Ridge has been the right choice.

“I would definitely recommend kids go to Laurel Ridge,” Erik says. “It’s a smart option.”

Laurel Ridge Community College was known as Lord Fairfax Community College until June 2022. For consistency purposes, the college will be referenced as Laurel Ridge going forward.