Park Scholars are selected, in part, because of their leadership potential and commitment to service. During their four years at NC State, they learn to apply modern leadership theories and they frequently undertake official roles within the university and local community. Each class of Park Scholars participates in a series of enrichment experiences intended to advance their personal and professional development in scholarship, leadership, service, and character. Park Scholars serve on committees to plan and execute many of these experiences, with the assistance of Park Faculty Scholars and staff.
Prior to the start of the academic year, each new class of Park Scholars travels to the Blue Ridge Mountains to participate in a retreat. Park Faculty Scholars facilitate discussions on a shared reading experience. Upperclass Park Scholars help small groups of freshmen prepare to take full advantage of the opportunities afforded by the Park program and NC State. The class also participates in challenges, both on the ground and on high ropes, which hone skills such as teamwork and communication.
The weekly Freshman Seminar provides students valuable connections with all current Park Faculty Scholars, as well as with the diverse resources available at NC State. Last year, students honed their professional skills through sessions on dining etiquette and grant writing, and delved into complex topics ranging from religious diversity, to global water resources, to automation and the future of work in North Carolina. Guest speakers included U.S. Congressman David Price and NC State Chancellor Randy Woodson.
Learning Laboratory I
Learning Laboratory I is an annual experience designed and implemented by Park Scholars in the first-year class. This educational program allows students to learn about leadership by exploring an issue facing the state of North Carolina. The Class of 2020 met with various Native American officials in and around the Cherokee and Pembroke areas to investigate how leaders in the fields of tribal, state, and federal government, education, and law address the challenges of tribal sovereignty and self-determination in North Carolina.
Learning Laboratory II
The Learning Laboratory II field experience allows students to develop a critical understanding of national and global issues by interacting with leaders immersed in these issues. The Class of 2019 traveled to Washington, D.C. to investigate how leaders within the sectors of media, campaign organization, and campaign finance adapt to a challenging political climate, such as the 2016 presidential election.
Civic Engagement Initiatives
Civic Engagement Initiatives (CEIs) introduce Park Scholars to community needs and how organizations operate to address those needs, create beneficial community change, and teach Park Scholars skills they can use to make lifelong community contributions.
Sophomore Park Scholars work in small groups, each under the guidance of a junior or senior Park Scholar, during the fall and spring semesters to implement solutions to community challenges.
The Leadership Academy is a comprehensive, four-year program through which Park Scholars gain insight into theories and practical applications of leadership, and develop a deeper understanding of their own leadership style. Topics addressed are relevant to leadership across a variety of fields and organizations, including both the for-profit and non-profit sectors.
The senior retreat is one of the culminating events during the final year of the Park Scholarships experience. Each year, the senior class of Park Scholars selects one of America’s national parks as the setting for their retreat. The experience provides class members with a unique opportunity to reflect on their time in the Park Scholarships program and at NC State, while establishing priorities for the future.