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 budding math education teacher, Sarah Bristol ’17.
Goodnight Scholars Program: Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Sarah Bristol: I’m from the small town of Marion in mountains of Western North Carolina. Not only is my hometown small, but the entire county is very rural. So rural, in fact, we have only one high school serving our entire county, McDowell High School. I’m currently a junior studying math education with a focus in high school education. I’ve always had a passion for education and for people, I just never dreamed I would be a teacher. Yet, here I am. And I love it! The Goodnight Scholars Program has provided the support for me to develop professionally and shadow local math teachers. It also paired me with a Kenan Fellow mentor at a nearby project-based learning school, so I am getting a lot of hands-on experience in my field. One day, I hope to return to a rural high school and be an advocate for STEM education.
Talk about some of your greatest accomplishments thus far at NC State.
At my time here at NC State, I have been pretty active in several communities. I have been the co-chair of Service Raleigh – one of the biggest service initiatives at NC State – for two consecutive years. I also joined the Caldwell Fellows Program and have been studying and practicing servant-leadership. I even squeezed in a summer-long excursion doing conservation work in New Zealand, thanks to the support of the Goodnight Scholars Program. I think my greatest accomplishment as a student here has been serving others. Whether it has been through Service Raleigh or by picking up cans at every football game through WE RECYCLE.
I’ve always had a passion for education and for people, I just never dreamed I would be a teacher. Yet, here I am. And I love it!
What has your experience in the Goodnight Scholars Program been like thus far?
It seems like most of my experiences always point back to the Goodnight Scholars because the it has been opened door of opportunity for me many times over. The Goodnight Scholars Program has been my most treasured community here at NC State. Not only have they supported me and helped me develop professionally and personally, but they have also pushed me to reach for greatness. Within the Goodnight Scholars community, I have served as a retreat leader two consecutive years, an ambassador, and even designed the t-shirt for two years! There is always opportunity for our scholars to get involved in the community and give back, in both big and small ways.
What does being a Goodnight Scholar mean to you?
To me, being a Goodnight Scholar means being a leader at NC State and outside of the university. It means you were probably already a leader before you came, but you have to continue to lead by example and always strive for excellence. It means you carry yourself with humility, and never stop learning. It doesn’t mean we’re perfect or held to a golden standard. It just means you hold yourself to high expectations, one of which is giving back. The Goodnight Scholars Program saw the potential I had and invested in me, so I need to give back to my community and pay it forward. And that looks different for everyone.
What advice would give to a new or prospective Goodnight Scholars about being involved at NC State and the Goodnight Scholars Program?
If I could give any advice to future students, it would be this: Figure out what you’re passionate about. Try things that interest you and get involved. Then, when you develop your purpose and passion, seek the advice of mentors like the staff in the Goodnight Scholars Program. Remember that no one succeeds alone.