The Park Under-Resourced Assistance (PURA) program has named two new co-presidents — Molly Sue Smith ’26 and Freddy Kelley ’25. Sam Dotson ’24 and Nicholas Oyarzun ’24 founded PURA and have been co-presidents since its inception in 2020.
PURA provides a direct outlet of support for under-resourced applicants to North Carolina State University and the Park Scholarships program. The program invites under-resourced applicants to interact with the community and grow alongside Park Scholars.
“Sam and Nick recognized that, when compared with other students, there was a gap in the level of support and preparation that they’d had for college and scholarship applications,” said Kim Bloomfield, Assistant Director of Recruitment and Selection. “They came to us with the idea to provide a variety of support to under-resourced Park Scholarship applicants. Their advocacy and commitment to positive change has established a framework that provides assistance at all stages of our selection process. Their work to create a solid foundation for PURA will help insure that PURA will be well prepared to continue far beyond their graduation.”
In its pilot year in 2020, 32 Park Scholars offered help to prospective candidates. Of the 39 applicants who signed up for assistance, 25 were eventually admitted to NC State and 11 enrolled in fall 2021. Since then, PURA has supported hundreds of applicants with essay writing, collecting business professional attire for Final Selection Activities, and more.
“After years of building up PURA into a program we’re truly proud of, it’s finally time for Sam and I to step away,” said Nick. “We’re so grateful to be able to leave PURA with such capable hands as Molly and Freddy as they have been extraordinary volunteers since their first year. We hope to have PURA be a sustainable program that grows and changes to meet the needs of under-resourced students and look forward to watching Molly Sue and Freddy bring this into fruition.”
“Creating and running this program for the past four years has brought so much joy and fulfillment into my life,” said Sam. “Molly Sue and Freddy could not be more perfect to take on mine and Nick’s role as co-presidents of PURA. They are both incredibly passionate about the cause and they hold a vision for its future. I am so excited to see where they take PURA and to watch it grow.”