On Saturday, May 11, the 20th class of Park Scholars graduated. Adding to a vibrant network of more than 900 alumni, the Class of 2019 has embraced the program’s pillars of scholarship, leadership, service, and character since the beginning.
Members of the Class of 2019 have been deeply engaged in the community. Together they investigated at-risk youth and the criminal justice system in North Carolina during their Learning Lab I trip and explored the challenging dynamic between political campaigns and the media during Learning Lab II in Washington, D.C. They hosted the first Park Scholarships Gerald H. Elkan Lecture in Science and Society featuring Marc Edwards on the Flint water crisis and they honored Noran Sanford for his work with at-risk youth with the William C. Friday Award.
Research, study abroad, and internships led them to discover more about their surrounding communities and how they could positively affect change in the world. From Adrian Teegarden protecting our oceans to Christian Rust leading the creation of a solar bus stop, from Morgan Barbre attending a global conference on women’s health to Parker Lee learning about the food sales industry, and from Sam Shain leaning into leadership and service to Pranav Kemburu taking advantage of multiple experiences, the Class of 2019 constantly sought to use knowledge as a vehicle in pursuit of their passions.
Having excelled in the classroom, among their ranks are numerous members of Phi Beta Kappa and Phi Kappa Phi – all selected for their academic excellence and extraordinary contributions to NC State. These achievements will only continue past graduation, supported in part by national awards and recognitions. Recipients of the Astronaut Scholarship, Ziad Ali and Madison Maloney were also awarded the Knight-Hennessy Scholarship to fund their graduate degrees at Stanford. In addition, Maloney received the Goldwater Scholarship.
As leaders at NC State and in Raleigh, they carried on traditions and demonstrated an exceptional commitment to raising awareness of important issues. The Class of 2019 can proudly claim the editor-in-chief of the Nubian Message (Keilah Davis), student body treasurer (Molly Mueller), the founder of Help Them LAST - Love a Sea Turtle (Casey Sokolovic), the founders of the Pillowcase Project (Carly Kvietok and Sara Lewis), two Service Raleigh chairs (Lily Goff and Sam Shain), and four Krispy Kreme Challenge directors (Hannah Caison, Abby Cox, Cameron Gray, and Sara Lewis).
For their class legacy project, the Class of 2019 partnered with the Town of Clayton and the Clayton Community Recreational Foundation while they work to build Harmony Playground, an inclusive park intended to foster fun and friendship among children of all abilities. Understanding the importance of creating a space that meets the needs of many, the class sponsored, designed, and built an accessible musical section.
As they continue their connection to the program, we look forward to seeing all of the innovative, altruistic, and exciting things the Park Scholarships Class of 2019 will do in the years to come.