This month, five Park Scholars will earn undergraduate degrees. We caught up with the soon-to-be alumni to find out what experiences had the biggest impact during their time at NC State and where they are headed next.
Alina Creamer ’20
Hometown: Chesapeake, Virginia
College of Engineering: B.S. Aerospace Engineering
Alina served as the lead ambassador for the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering (MAE), co-president of the Women in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Club, and a volunteer for Feed the Pack food pantry. She completed internships at NASA Langley Research Center and Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems as well as a co-op through NASA’s Johnson Space Center. Alina spent a semester abroad at Adam Mickiewicz University in Poland and participated in Alternative Service Breaks in Belize and Rwanda.
What is your favorite part of the Park Scholarships program?
I truly appreciate all of the resources Park Scholars are provided to make their time at NC State invaluable. Apart from an amazing community of scholars, mentors, and our beloved staff, the Park program grants students access to an executive-style Leadership Academy, connections to alumni, and additional funding opportunities for personal or professional enrichment opportunities. Additionally, the Park program offers students the flexibility to study abroad, co-op, or take a gap semester. I’m very fortunate to have been involved in a scholarship program that not only saw the benefit in my study abroad and co-op pursuits, but wholeheartedly supported them.
What was the most defining experience or aspect of your time as an undergraduate?
The most defining experience of my undergraduate career was participating in NC State’s Co-op Program. The Co-op Program helped to build my confidence in what I want to work on for my career and the kind of environment I want to work in. Through NASA’s Pathways Program at Johnson Space Center (JSC), I was able to rotate between different branches and directorates to explore my interests and gain hands-on experience. Ultimately, I found my dream job and an amazing community of people that make JSC feel like home.
What is your advice for current underclassmen?
You may find that your definition of success changes from high school, and that’s totally okay. In high school, “success” may have looked like perfect grades and an overwhelming amount of extracurriculars, and it may be tempting to try and hold yourself to the same standard in college. Simply put, college is different from high school. Your schedule is based on effective time management, classes are more difficult, your interests might change, etc. More than likely, you’ll have an experience (or a few) that High School You would have considered a “failure.” I encourage you to view that experience as a learning opportunity and know that it is okay to adjust expectations.
What advice would you offer high school students considering NC State and/or the Park Scholarships program?
If you’re considering NC State, I highly recommend trying to schedule a visit to campus and signing up for a tour of the university or the college/department you’re interested in. Nearly all of these tours are student-led and can offer you insight into what a college student’s day-to-day schedule looks like. If you aren’t able to make an in-person visit to campus, I highly recommend checking out any of our virtual tours or looking for opportunities like the virtual MAE Q&A sessions in which you can learn more about a department from students and ask questions in a small group setting.
If you’re considering the Park Scholarships program, apply! Also, if your school doesn’t select you for a Park Scholarships endorsement, try the self endorse option! There’s nothing taboo about believing in yourself :). If you’re known to procrastinate, try to set certain deadlines for yourself in advance so that you’re not rushing to hit submit at the last minute. At the very least, the individuals you ask for letters of recommendation will greatly appreciate it.
What’s next for you?
I will be moving to Houston this spring to begin my full-time career as an aerospace engineer at NASA’s Johnson Space Center. I will be working with the Habitability and Human Factors Branch.