Each month, the Goodnight Scholars Program highlights a select number of current Goodnight Scholars who represent the program’s highly diverse and involved student cohort. This month, the spotlight focuses on Durham native and computer science guru, Sabrina Monserate ’18.
Goodnight Scholars Program: Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Sabrina Monserate: I am a sophomore in Computer Science. I was born in Jersey City, New Jersey, but we moved to Durham, North Carolina back in 2006. I graduated from Josephine Dobbs Clement Early College High School. JDC-ECHS for short. My family consists of my amazing, supportive, and loving parents Alan and Annaliza, and my two younger siblings: Melanie and Justin. I’m currently studying computer science for two reasons. First, there is a lot of flexibility in its applications. Second, I just love to code. I was never an artistic person, but in the same way that art does, my code is able to come to life and have an effect on people. As corny as it may be, my programs are my masterpieces.
Talk about some of your greatest accomplishments thus far at NC State.
I’m currently a member of the Entrepreneurship Initiative, Women in Computer Science, the Video Game Development Club, Barkada, and the Asian Student Association. I am also a Web Committee member for Service Raleigh.
What has your experience in the Goodnight Scholars Program been like thus far?
I absolute love being a Goodnight Scholar! Wherever appropriate, I always try to fit “Goodnight Scholar ‘18” into my info description. LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, my Gmail signature, you name it. I haven’t done anything particularly amazing or developed a mind-blowing invention quite yet, but the Goodnight Scholars Program is helping me get there. Prior to coming to college, I honestly wasn’t comfortable with the idea of speaking in front of people and I lacked self-confidence, but the Goodnight Scholars Program has helped me grow out of that. Today, I have no problem speaking in front of an audience or having a friendly conversation with a stranger next to me. Not to mention, the program helped cultivate my love for volunteering and has helped me pay back to the community in any way I can.
I was never an artistic person, but in the same way that art does, my code is able to come to life and have an effect on people. As corny as it may be, my programs are my masterpieces.
What does being a Goodnight Scholar mean to you?
Being a Goodnight Scholar has practically become an identity to me, and without the program, I’m not even sure who I would be right now. The truth is, if I didn’t get a scholarship to go to college, I honestly wouldn’t have gone. My bank account didn’t agree, I thought it be wrong to ask so much of my parents especially since they had my siblings to think about, and the idea of being thousands of dollars in debt paralyzed me. So, the program means an enormous amount to me not only because it gave me a chance to further my education, but it also made available opportunities that I otherwise would not have had access to.
How has the Goodnight Scholars Program prepared you for life after college?
The Goodnight Scholars Program has helped me develop as a whole, and not just as a student. The program has helped me grow to be a well-rounded individual, and being around a group of people who have the same determination and mindset that I do has really motivated me to keep challenging my limits and challenging what I know about the world. All of the Goodnight events that I’ve attended has helped me open my mind to life outside of college. Combined with the other things I do, these experiences have shown me that the world isn’t just black and white, but also every color in between. Whether it be going to see Spamalot at the Raleigh Little Theatre, participating in a professional development event, or volunteering at the Duke Lemur Center, I value and cherish every moment.
Speaking of life after college, what are your future career goals and aspirations?
Volunteer and service is on the top of my list of passions. Someday I hope to be a software engineer or programmer for a company that has the same values that I do, but I want to be in a position where I could make a difference in the world, or at the very least, in my community. I’m just waiting for the day that I come up with an idea that would solve one of the many problems that we face today through the use of code. I’m sure I’ll come up with something soon enough.
What advice would give to a new or prospective Goodnight Scholars about being involved at NC State and the Goodnight Scholars Program?
Try to push your limits whenever you can. Move out of your comfort zone. There is so much that the world has to offer, and you shouldn’t be afraid. You don’t have to do anything drastic. For example, rather than staring at your feet when someone walks onto the elevator, smile and say “Hello.” You never know who you’ll meet. Maybe it’ll be your boss at a future job or, even better, maybe you’ll make a friend. Never had Indian food, but curious about what it tastes like? I’m sure there’s a great Indian restaurant around here somewhere, and by the way, it’s delicious. Do you usually spend your Friday nights indoors but want to get out and do something? Then, invite a friend to go out with you! If you don’t have anyone to accompany you, send me an email. I’ll be more than happy to go! Believe me, I know what it’s like to feel that way. If I’ve learned anything these past two years, it’s that the only thing that has been holding me back is myself.