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 mechanical engineer, Goodnight Mentor, and dual Shack-a-thon and LEGO Brick Build committee member (man, is he busy or what?), Asa Augustin ’19.
Goodnight Scholars Program: Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Asa Augustin: I am originally from Okinawa, Japan. My father was stationed there while in the military and met my mom, but I’ve lived in Jacksonville, North Carolina for the majority of my life. It’s a big military town on the coast, and when my dad moved back to the states he decided to retire there. I am the oldest of three siblings, as I have two younger sisters in fourth and seventh grade. I attended Jacksonville High School – Go Cardinals – where I played basketball for three years and was involved in a few student organizations, my personal favorites being National Honor Society and Skills USA, and also graduated as valedictorian. I have always harbored a love for mathematics and science, but it wasn’t until high school when a few of my teachers recommended engineering to me that I gave it a try and realized it was the field I wanted to end up working in. I have always found working systems such as engines and motors fascinating, and so that’s why I decided to major in mechanical engineering here at State.
Talk about some of your greatest accomplishments at NC State thus far.
During my first year at State, I joined the National Society of Black Engineers. I have thoroughly enjoyed being a member of an organization that encourages and helps students achieve academic success while also fostering a sense of community that I’m grateful to be a part of. Later in my first year, I was on the Goodnight Scholars Alternative Service Break trip to Trinidad & Tobago. This past summer I had the opportunity to study abroad for five weeks in Florence, Italy. I got to take classes on Renaissance history and Italian cuisine, while also getting to travel across the Italian peninsula and immersing myself in Italian culture. During my sophomore year, I will be more involved in the Goodnight Scholars Program as a Goodnight Mentor, while also serving on Shack-a-thon and LEGO Brick Build committees.
How would you describe your experience in the Goodnight Scholars Program?
My experience in the Goodnight Scholars Program has truly been life changing and a huge enhancement to my college experience. From my first day of stepping on to NC State’s campus, I was embraced by my fellow peers in the Goodnight Scholars community and I have felt at home ever since. Because of this, I have come to find that my favorite aspect of the Program are the other people in it. Every time I attend an event, I get to see and meet other scholars and it’s amazing to be around their friendly personalities and hear about the great things they’re doing. The professional staff is also very supportive and they invest a lot of their time in us. It really shows that they are genuinely interested in us and care about our success. The amount of programs offered and the variety in which they come has also been significant, and it’s been huge for me in growing socially and professionally. From career fair workshops to working in the rain forests of Trinidad with the ASB team, or just going to downtown Raleigh to watch Star Wars, the Goodnight Scholars Program has offered me a variety of opportunities that have been tremendous to my personal growth.
As the child of two immigrants, I know that they’re extremely proud of how far I’ve come, and for them to see me receive my diploma will let them know that their hard work was worth it.
To me, being a Goodnight Scholar means that I am not only a part of a scholarship program, but more importantly, a community that is fostering growth in young students to be leaders for the betterment of the world. It means that I’m surrounded by a group of hard-working individuals who push each other towards success. I get to be in contact with so many amazing people doing amazing things, and it’s a privilege that I cherish and take advantage of. It’s that incredible feeling of support that makes being a Goodnight Scholar truly special.
What will the next few years look like for you?
In the relatively near future, graduating college will be a huge accomplishment. As the child of two immigrants, I know that they’re extremely proud of how far I’ve come, and for them to see me receive my diploma will let them know that their hard work was worth it. While I’m not completely sure of what I want to do after graduating, I know that I want to enter industry, hopefully in product design and development. Ideally, I want to work for a company where I can directly or indirectly make a positive impact on this world. Having a sense of purpose and fulfillment in what I do is what’s most important to me. I’m also considering attaining my master’s degree, but if I do so I’ll most likely come back to school after spending a few years in industry.
What advice would give to a new or prospective Goodnight Scholars about being involved at NC State and the Goodnight Scholars Program?
My advice for a new or prospective Goodnight Scholar and all students at NC State in general is the same: get involved and make the most of your time in college. While four years might seem like a long time, it flies by very quickly! I still can’t believe I’m already in my sophomore year, it seems like yesterday that I was a freshman getting lost on-campus. NC State is a really big school with plenty of opportunities ranging from internships, research, athletics, and study abroad just to name a few. Try new things and meet new people, because you’ll grow tremendously during these times and shape into the best version of yourself. The experiences you’ll have in college can be difficult to come by otherwise in your life, so make the most of them while you can.