RCC Student Finds Cure For Uncertain Future
In 2008, after spending one semester at Rockingham Community College, Kevin McHone dropped out. Odd jobs followed – landscaping, cleaning yards, working in textiles: dead ends – all of them.
Three years later, McHone made a seemingly uninspired decision to re-enroll at RCC. Little did he know he was opening the door to a future he never imagined. During the spring of 2011, McHone was introduced to chemistry and an alchemy took place: he transformed into a student with a burning mission.
The irony is that McHone should have been introduced to chemistry in 2007 as a high school junior. Instead, he was placed in a physics class. Physics was interesting and he enjoyed it, but he didn’t realize what he was missing.
After discovering the world of chemical equations and possibilities, Kevin McHone was on fire, zipping through every chemistry class RCC had to offer and making an A in every one of them.
“I liked discovering how and why things happen the way they do and all the intermolecular forces at work.”
His chemistry instructor, Melissa Totten, was so impressed with McHone’s abilities and mastery of the subject matter that she hired him as the department’s work study student.
“He was so good, he was capable of graduate level work,” Totten said, which included setting up and breaking down labs for the chemistry classes.
An early memory of McHone’s indicates clearly the bent of his mind. “In third grade we were told to open our math books and start at problem one and work the next few problems. I was on problem twenty-three when they made me stop.”
At RCC, McHone also discovered satisfaction in helping others learn. As a chemistry tutor, he became a clear favorite among the other RCC students.
Outside of the classroom, McHone volunteered at Goodwill, Inc. As a member of the RCC Science Club, he helped with fundraising efforts for various organizations including the Rockingham County Relay for Life and the Salvation Army.
And because of it, McHone received a shock. Before graduating earlier this month, he was selected as the college’s Outstanding Student for 2012-13.
Amazed at the honor, he simply said, “It’s good to know people think I’m good.” With that, he thanked his teachers for their help and encouragement.
Looking to the future, McHone wants to help society. It’s a goal; a mission.
“I want to get a doctorate in chemistry and go into research. I’m not certain what kind; maybe organic. I would like to work on cures for diseases.”
He hopes to continue his journey at NC State University.