The Park Scholarships program is proud of its recent graduates in the Class of 2014. These newest additions to the Park alumni roster have dedicated themselves to improving society through scholarship, leadership, and service.
Twice during their time at NC State, President Obama visited our campus to speak about innovation, job creation, and improved efficiency across industries. He chose NC State because of our institution’s think-and-do approach to solving problems, and the Park Class of 2014 embodies this.
They are innovators. Many contributed to the groundbreaking research for which NC State is widely known. They garnered recognition for their scholarship: among them are a Goldwater Scholar (Eric Whitmire), two recipients of National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships (Matthew Draelos and Bree Tillett), and two future Brody Scholars (Alyssa D’Addezio and Ismail Kassim) – just to name a few accolades.
The Park Class of 2014 excelled at the intersection of leadership and service. Four members of the class (Justin Hills, Ismail Kassim, Nancy Thai, and Meera Venkataraman) chaired the Service Raleigh committee; another four (Emerson Barker, Emily Bissett, Joshua Chappell, and Benton Riordan) directed the Krispy Kreme Challenge; and countless others assisted in upholding these philanthropic campus traditions and elevating them to new heights.
The Class of 2014 is also responsible for the creation of the first-ever student-funded endowment to support the Park Scholarships program. By graduation, they raised over $53,000 to provide ongoing support for Park Enrichment Grants (PEGs).
Likewise, the recent graduates showed an exceptional commitment to improving our city. Many cultivated meaningful relationships with nonprofits and other organizations in Raleigh – from Urban Ministries Open Door Clinic, to the Museum of Natural Sciences, to the Raleigh Civic Symphony Orchestra. They served as excellent role models and mentors to youth by volunteering in schools throughout the area. They also helped strengthen a great partnership between NC State and one of Raleigh’s foremost companies by selecting Jim Whitehurst, president and CEO of Red Hat, as the recipient of their class’s William C. Friday Award.
Their NC State experiences were not confined to Raleigh’s city limits; however, as members of the Park Class of 2014 studied and served in Australia, Belize, Botswana, Brazil, China, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, France, Ghana, Guatemala, Haiti, Hungary, Italy, Indonesia, Kenya, Montenegro, Namibia, Nepal, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Spain, the United Kingdom, and all over the world.
The Class of 2014 truly made an indelible mark on NC State and the Park Scholarships program during a transformational time in our history, and we look forward to sharing news of their future adventures and successes.