When Trae Kohn’s plans to go to the Virginia Military Institute were interrupted, he turned to Laurel Ridge Community College.
“I chose Laurel Ridge based on the class size and the 1:1 ratios of teachers to students,” said Kohn, who graduated in spring 2023 with an associate degree in engineering and is transferring to Virginia Tech this fall to study mechanical engineering.
When he initially visited VMI, Kohn had thought about majoring in history, but after talking to mechanical engineering faculty, he “fell in love with the opportunity to build engines.”
“It kind of just fueled my passion for cars,” he said.
At Laurel Ridge, he was a full-time student and a full-time mechanic. Kohn said after he earns his bachelor’s degree at Virginia Tech, he would like to work in the automotive industry
His favorite professors at Laurel Ridge included Engineering Professor Alex Peebles and Math instructor Jeremiah Dyke.
“I liked how down to earth they were, how understanding they were about how most of us had other commitments, like careers or families,” said Kohn, who graduated from high school in Prince William County in 2021. “If we had questions, they were so approachable. They created a very relaxed environment. I easily transitioned from a small high school, and I feel they prepared me very well for what I’m going to face at down at Tech.”
The guaranteed admissions agreement Laurel Ridge has with Virginia Tech’s engineering program means his transfer to the university has been very smooth.
Kohn especially enjoyed working in the new makerspace in Hazel Hall, which opened on the Fauquier Campus in September 2022, and enjoyed great relationships with his classmates.
“We loved it when we had opportunities to go in there and study or work on engineering projects,” he said. “We were very pleased with how it turned out and very interested in how it progresses over the years.
“It was a pleasure to be part of the Laurel Ridge community. I would recommend anybody who is undecided about what they want to do in life go to community college first and get those general education requirements out of the way.”
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.