Part of the Park Enrichment Academy, 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 Enrichment Academy courses address a variety of topics and explore theories and methods from a practical standpoint, helping Park Scholars gain a deeper understanding of their own leadership style and then benefit from that insight immediately. The academy includes a seminar with the university’s chancellor, career and alumni panels, leadership interviews, budgeting workshops, community speakers, mental health sessions and more. Scholars also use this time to plan upcoming distinguished speaker events, Learning Labs and other collaborative projects.
Prior to the start of the academic year, the incoming class of Park Scholars participates in a retreat typically held in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Park Faculty Scholars facilitate discussions on a shared reading experience. Upperclassmen Park Scholars help small groups of freshmen prepare to take full advantage of the opportunities afforded by the Park Scholarships program and NC State. The class also participates in challenges to hone teamwork and communication skills.
Freshman Seminar (PRK 101)
This course is designed for first year Park Scholars to learn more about the diversity of academic offerings at the university and how different problems may be solved in different disciplines. During the seminar, scholars learn to think broadly about community needs and how to address them. Leadership skills are built by learning how to collaborate and by studying challenges currently impacting the state of North Carolina.
Learning Lab I
Learning Lab I, an experience designed and implemented by freshman Park Scholars, affords students insight into leadership through the lens of a challenge currently facing North Carolina. Completed as part of PRK 101, students meet and learn from leaders about how to approach complex challenges in order to take action to create positive change. Most recently, the Class of 2026 focused on homelessness and housing insecurity in North Carolina. The Class of 2025 focused on the foster care system and examine diverse ways leaders are responding to child welfare challenges affecting North Carolina and the Class of 2024 examined how leaders work together to address health care challenges.
Learning Lab II
Learning Lab II, an experience designed and implemented by sophomore Park Scholars, affords students insight into leadership through the lens of a national issue. Completed as part of PRK 201, students develop a critical understanding of national and global issues by interacting with leaders of varying backgrounds by immersing themselves in these issues. The Class of 2026 will study Criminal Justice Policy in the U.S. and its Impacts. The Class of 2025 learned about the U.S immigration system.The Class of 2024 analyzed the U.S. education system and learned how leaders are implementing policies to improve equity and access to education at all levels.
The senior retreat is one of the culminating events during the final year of the Park Scholarships experience. 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.
Park Enrichment Grants
Park Enrichment Grants, initiated in 1998, provide support for Park Scholars to engage in professional and personal enrichment experiences in the United States and abroad. The grants are awarded by a committee composed of NC State faculty members and a Park Alumni Society representative. Awards are funded by the Park Foundation and donor gifts made to the Park Scholarships Enrichment Fund. Grant proposals are due November 1, February 1, April 1, and May 25. Refer to our news announcements for lists of recent Park Enrichment Grant recipients.
The broadening of cultural horizons is a critical element of the Park Scholarships program. Park Scholars can apply for Park Enrichment Grants to support international experiences that range in duration from one week to one year. Students also have the opportunity to apply for travel grants awarded by the Park Alumni Society in order to cover airfare for semester-long study abroad experiences. Students choosing international study in Spain are eligible for grants awarded in honor of the late Vincent Maniscalco ’04, a Park Scholar who studied in Salamanca, Spain. In addition, Park Scholars may apply for additional awards through NC State’s Study Abroad Office.