The Park Scholarships Diversity Student Task Force has compiled profiles of Park Scholars, Park Faculty Scholars, and Selection Committee Members designed to give prospective students insight about the Park Scholarships program, the selection process, and how scholars made the decision to join the Wolfpack.
Name: Alvin Mutongi
Hometown: Charlotte, NC
Class Year: 2023
Major: Civil Engineering
Role within Park Scholarships: Park Scholar
1. Tell us a little more about who you are, your background and identity.
Both of my parents are from Kenya and I’ve lived the majority of my life in Charlotte, NC.
2. What are you involved with on/off-campus? What are you passionate about?
I am a member of the Guatemala Water Systems team of Engineers Without Borders, an organization focused on sustainable development that addresses people’s health and well-being around the world. Our team installs rainwater catchment systems on houses.
I am also a member of the African Student Union and the National Society of Black Engineers which are focused on building a community around common interests. I am also a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. It combines my interests in service and building community with like-minded Black men.
3. Why did you decide to choose NC State and the Park Scholarship? What interested you the most about the Park program as a high schooler?
In high school, I was very focused about how I would pay for college. This program provided not only financial support but extensive support for leadership development and service. This holistic support made me very excited to be a Park Scholar.
4. How did you find out about the Park Scholarships program?
My high school posted several scholarship opportunities.
5. In high school, what were you most proud to share in your Park application?
I was excited to share the service I had done in Kenya in collaboration with the elementary school in my grandmother’s village.
6. What fear(s) did you have while applying to the Park program? Have you found them to be true?
I was afraid that a PWI (predominantly white institution) would not have the same kind of support and community for Black students compared to an HBCU (historically Black college or university) or a more diverse college like UNC Greensboro. I have found my community at NC State and in the Park Scholarships program but it is not uncommon for me to be the only Black student in a class.
7. What advice might you give a high-schooler who is considering applying for the Park Scholarship?
I would suggest that they focus on their strengths and apply because in my experience students often count themselves out and don’t apply.
8. Is there a certain pillar that particularly resonates with you? Why?
Service resonates with me because it is really focused on actions and results and requires me to learn more about the community I’m serving and build a connection before starting that action.
9. What do you value most about fellow Park Scholars? What might you hope to see in prospective scholars?
I value Park Scholars’ drive and passion for a wide range of things because unlike some other programs the Park Scholarships program has a diverse array of people working towards so many amazing goals. I would like to see a drive in prospective scholars to help their communities in whatever way is best for them.
10. Can you share an important college experience that was made possible by the program?
In December I was able to go back to Kenya and renovate a classroom into a library which not only reflected the importance of service, but also helped me gain valuable experience in working in a different environment.
11. What is one thing someone might not know about you as a Park Scholar?
I am often found napping on one of the couches in Peele.
12. What have you learned about the Park Scholarships program since becoming a scholar that was surprising or that you weren’t expecting?
I learned about Civic Engagement Initiatives after becoming a Park Scholar. This level of in-depth service work is something that I wasn’t expecting to have the opportunity to do.