The NC State Park Scholarships

The NC State Park Scholarships


I am majoring in art and design and minoring
in film studies. And I am studying philosophy and pre-medicine. I am a physics and math
major. I graduated in 2001. I have always been unique in that I have my certain passions
and certain disciplines, but I love being interdisciplinary. And as I learned more about
engineering and chemical engineering, I realized it was a combination of all of the things
I found interesting and intriguing. Year after year I would be thinking about where I wanted
to go to college, and I applied to seven schools, but in the back of my head I was thinking
that the Park Scholarship still sounds like what I’m supposed to be doing. I am immensely
grateful for the Park Scholarship. I’m so glad I came to NC State. If I had the chance
to transfer now, I wouldn’t do it. I really value the network of the Park Scholarships
program. The current students and the alumni are really inspiring. They push me to do things
that I wouldn’t normally do and to become the type of person that I don’t think I’d
be without them. I worked on a project in my freshman year with other Park Scholars.
We had a New York Times with us that we had gotten from the Park office, and we were reading
it and we saw that there was an article that an NC State professor was cited in. I thought,
well, we have to meet him. So we did. I’d never met this man before, but I just shook
his hand and said, “I’m Lauren Caddick and I’m a Park Scholar, and we’re working
on a project, and we really want to talk to you about it.” And his face lit up. Taking
that initiative to step in the door was just so much more gratifying of an experience to
my education than anything else, and I definitely thank the Park for encouraging that. I considered
myself to be a leader in high school, but coming here to the program, I was able to
learn more about leadership and to see other leaders and meet people like General Hugh
Shelton and Dr. John Hope Franklin. And then there are opportunities you’re afforded
to do research that most undergrads don’t get to do. The head of the physics department
here at State tried to lure me into the department with a research internship because I was a
potential Park Scholar, and I haven’t stopped doing research since. One of the great things
about Park is that we were required to go find a Park faculty mentor. My faculty mentor
is actually the associate dean of the College of Sciences. I got to go meet with her every
month or so and talk with her about how my life’s doing, and she just sits there and
listens and gives me advice about what it means to be a woman in science. And I can
tell you each year that the passion and the competitiveness really go to another level,
so it’s very impressive to see the coursework that these students are doing, to see the
different interests that they are pursuing outside the classroom and really just pushing
the envelope. One of our biggest events every year is the Krispy Kreme Challenge. It was
started by a group of Park Scholars nine or 10 years ago. It’s grown to over 8,000 racers,
and we’ve raised a cumulative $550,000 for the North Carolina Children’s Hospital.
Each year the senior class selects a legacy project as a way to give back to the Park
Scholarships program or to the NC State Community. The class of 2014 decided that we’d like
to create an endowment for the Park enrichment grant fund. The Park enrichment grants are
opportunities for scholars to apply for funding, and they can use it for a number of personal
or professional opportunities. I traveled to Belize my freshman year with a group of
my friends. We wanted to create an annual trip for the Park Scholarships program that
really focused on service and character development. We wanted to create an infrastructure where
year after year we could help the community help themselves. I think we wanted to take
a step back and say, look, we’re really here to learn from them and learn how we can
fit into service as a whole. So I run half marathons to raise awareness and raise money
for this organization in the Philippines that I’ve been working with. It’s called Gawad
Kalinga, which means “to give care.” It’s really important to me because my dad grew
up poor in the Philippines, and if he hadn’t been lucky enough to come here and find a
job and go to college, I wouldn’t be where I am now. To be able to give back to my people
and to my country means a lot to me, and that’s why I run every year. From the day we walk
in the door, we’re told no one person is the same as another, and they love that about
us. So I think the Park gives you the confidence to say, that’s just me, and if I can be
the best person I can be and really think about how I am giving back to the community
in my own way, then that’s the most important thing of all. I think the class really wants
to do this because we know that the Park Scholarships program is built on four pillars: scholarship,
leadership, service and character. I think about what awesome things Park alumni are
doing today, and that’s where we leave our legacy as well. To know that there’s a student
coming in to this program and continuing in the legacy that my classmates and the Park
staff have created, I don’t ever want that to stop. As long as NC State’s a university,
I want the Park to be an integral part of that university.

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