The Park Scholarships program is proud of its recent graduates in the Class of 2016. During their time at NC State, these newest additions to the Park alumni roster made a meaningful impact on campus and around the world through their scholarship, leadership, and service.
Many members of this class found homes in research labs near and far. One’s textile engineering research took her to the Czech Republic’s Technical University of Liberec; another spent two summers studying particle physics at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Geneva, Switzerland; and a third conducted evolutionary genetics research at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany. Among this class’ ranks are recipients of the prestigious Astronaut, Churchill, DAAD-RISE, Goldwater, and Udall Scholarships, as well as a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship.
Scholars in the Class of 2016 also applied theory to practice through internships and co-ops with an impressive range of organizations, from the United States Senate and House of Representatives to General Mills in Minnesota and Tesla Motors in California; from Bayer MaterialScience in Texas to Walmart’s headquarters in Arkansas to Volvo Trucks in Lyon, France.
Members of this class enriched the lives of others through their extracurricular pursuits. One’s voice was heard as a four-year member of NC State’s nationally-recognized male a cappella group, Grains of Time; another’s came over the airwaves of student radio station WKNC. One performed Latin dance with NC State’s Sube Ritmo, another showcased her aerial skills with Raleigh’s Cirque de Vol, and a third got her hands dirty as co-manager of the on-campus SOUL Garden. Among this class’ scholars was the co-chair of NC State’s Annual Powwow and two key organizers of the university’s inaugural South Asian a cappella competition. The Class of 2016 can also proudly claim two Krispy Kreme Challenge Directors, one Service Raleigh co-chair, and two Mathews Medal recipients.
A passion for raising awareness of important issues was a hallmark of the Park Class of 2016. Among its members were a Student Body President, Treasurer, and Chief Justice; a mental health ambassador with NC State’s Counseling Center; and the founder of the Park Scholarships Social Justice Series, which brought guest speakers to campus to discuss topics such as wrongful conviction and juvenile justice in North Carolina. Another scholar in this class represented both NC State and the United States at the 2015 AC21 Student World Forum in Germany, joining college students from around the world in discussion about issues of local and regional democracy and cross-border cooperation.
This class of Park Scholars demonstrated an exceptional commitment to improving the city of Raleigh. Members of the class cultivated significant volunteer relationships with nonprofits and other local organizations – from the Alexander YMCA and the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, to the HopeLine Crisis Center and Raleigh Sidewinders wheelchair rugby team. One scholar served as a co-chair of Build-A-Block, a campus-wide effort to sponsor and build eleven townhomes through Habitat for Humanity of Wake County. Another was selected as InterAct of Wake County’s Youth Services Volunteer of the Year for her work as a facilitator for the organization’s youth domestic violence groups. A third served as an equine specialist for CORRAL Riding Academy, a local nonprofit serving at-risk teenage girls, whose founder the Class of 2016 recognized as the recipient of its William C. Friday Award.
Out of gratitude for the Park Scholarships program’s role in its members’ growth as leaders, the Class of 2016 is leaving as its legacy an endowment to provide support for future scholars. The class committed to raising $50,000 over the next five years – a goal its members have already exceeded, securing more than $68,000 in gifts and pledges by graduation. The endowment will establish a Class of 2016 Award to provide partial funding annually to a Park Scholar.
With such significant accomplishments behind them, members of the Park Class of 2016 are now taking their next steps to innovate, lead, and effect change in their graduate studies, careers, and service throughout the U.S. and overseas. We look forward to learning what the future holds for each of them!