Maggie Friemel graduated from Glenwood Springs High School and from CMC Spring Valley at the same time.

Next course of study is the nuclear engineering program at the University of New Mexico

If ever there was a young woman who typifies the benefits of STEM education, it is Maggie Friemel.

The Glenwood Springs High School graduate recently received her diploma, but not before Colorado Mountain College presented her with an Associate of Science degree.

The path to a dual high school diploma and college degree started early. Friemel said she was part of a fifth grade class that loved math and the sciences.

“We’d come to school early before classes to study,” she said.

Friemel’s eighth grade teacher at St. Stephen Catholic School, Guy Brickell, recommended that she register for advanced placement science and math classes after he saw her natural inclination and interest.

By her sophomore year at Glenwood High, she was on a concurrent enrollment course.

“My parents helped me map out the classes I’d need to take to get a degree at CMC,” she said. “And I got a lot of support from Debbie Arnold, my college counselor.”

College before college

Friemel said getting her associate degree at CMC helped her learn what attending college was like.

“Going to CMC was like a safe, miniature college experience,” she said. “I feel more prepared now. I know more what to expect than if I’d just taken AP classes at the high school.”

Friemel said it was a lot of extra work to earn her diploma and degree at the same time, though she is glad she did.

“Debbie Arnold was a big help,” Friemel said. “At one point this year, I discovered I was short one science class. She helped me figure out what options I had.”

Friemel has been accepted into the nuclear engineering program at the University of New Mexico, where she’ll take part in the ROTC program. Her ultimate goal is to be a commissioned officer in the U.S. Navy.