Focused on the Future

This article was originally published in NC State News.

Meet December 2021 graduates who have made the most of every opportunity at NC State and are ready to explore their next chapter.

At NC State, we encourage everyone to think and do the extraordinary. This year’s fall graduates did just that — and show no signs of stopping. Each student found their own path, but they all include receiving their degrees at this December’s commencement ceremonies.

As our fall graduates launch their futures, we spoke to four of them about their journeys at NC State and the one that lies ahead.

Georgia Burgess

Georgia Burgess ’21: Merging Engineering and Health Care

Georgia Burgess has accomplished many things at NC State. She’s a Park Scholar and an ambassador for the Edward P. Fitts Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISE) department, and she served as the director for the 2020 Krispy Kreme Challenge, to name a few. But the driving force behind her success is her commitment to showing up for others.

“Investment in humanity is one of the most important things that anyone can do,” she says. “It creates this really positive cycle — whenever you put time into people, people are able to put time into other people.”

This service-first mentality has characterized Burgess’ time at NC State.

In the summer of 2018, she participated in the Ulman Cancer Fund’s 4K for Cancer. She ran from San Francisco to New York with a team of 21 people, stopping to volunteer at cancer centers along the way. At the centers, she spent time learning about the patients’ lives and their aspirations both before and after their hospitalization.

The experience solidified her interest in working in the health care field. “The coolest thing that I think doctors do is giving people the ability to go and live their lives,” she said.

More recently, she worked with the PackVax on-campus vaccination clinics. Her role consisted of converting the information provided by health systems-focused ISE faculty and the director of Student Health Services, Dr. Julie Casani, into mathematical models to reduce wait times. The experience taught her that engineers and health care professionals “speak two different languages.”

The thing about NC State that I love so much is that everyone here really does care about you.

Burgess’ goal is to apply engineering problem-solving to health care challenges.

“I really love patient care and engineering, and I love being able to bridge them to make it so that health care is more accessible and equal among all people in the U.S.,” she said.

After graduation, Burgess plans to work as a medical assistant at a family practice in Cary, North Carolina, before applying to medical school. She was initially uncertain about straying from a more traditional engineering path, but was met with nothing but support from faculty, staff and peers.

“The thing about NC State that I love so much is that everyone here really does care about you,” she said. “If there is something you’re interested in regardless of how obscure, someone here is doing it or someone here can point you to someone that’s doing it. Everyone wants to see you pursue your own passions.”

RELATED: Meet more Graduating Park Scholars
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This article was originally published in NC State News.