Zuckerberg. Musk. Rojas? Alex Rojas ’20 hopes to represent the future of innovation.
Goodnight Scholars Program: Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Alex Rojas ’20: I was born in New York City, but I have done most of my growing up in the beautiful city of Greensboro, North Carolina. I went from the city that never sleeps to the one that never woke up. I graduated from Western Guilford High School which is where I developed my outgoing personality that many know me for today. I have a younger brother named Leo that is a fifth grader at Claxton Elementary School and wants to follow in my footsteps. Growing up, education has been a key component of my life and I have been fortunate enough to have great educators throughout. I made the right choice by attending NC State where I continue to encounter excellence. Here at NC State, I study microbiology and I am mostly interested in research and development in order to move us further into a better future. There is still plenty to uncover in this field of study. I look up to innovators like Elon Musk and all of the work that he has done in the tech industry. I am deeply motivated by his progress and hope that one day I could be someone that also inspires the future generation of innovators. I study my major via classes but have taken up learning on my own time as well. I am expanding my horizons by learning French and securing my financial future by learning how to properly invest. Whenever I’m not learning, I love to spend time with friends, draw, and play games on my Xbox.
If you had to summarize your personality in one sentence, what would it say?
If I had to describe my personality in one sentence, it would read: “He is a positive and uplifting individual, driven by his ambitious goals.”
How would you describe your life as an NC State student?
My life at NC State revolves around the people that I have met and the friendships that I have made. College would not be the same if it were not for all the people that go here. There’s a plethora of things to do that keeps me busy. Though I am busy most of the time, it feels good to know that I am using my time wisely. My life is balanced and I have adequate time dedicated to school, health, fun, and rest. My friends introduced me to a life of faith during my first year and took me to Vintage Church. Since then, weekends have been a time for growing in that faith and developing stronger friendships. I did not expect for college to feel like home, but NC State has definitely earned that place.
Is there a particular accomplishment you’ve made at NC State that fills you with pride?
Studying abroad in France was an accomplishment that I am proud to have experienced. I did not think I was going to travel outside the United States until after college, but I am glad that it happened sooner thanks to an enrichment grant from the Goodnight Scholars Program. I got a new perspective and understanding for many things after being in a country in which I had to ask many questions to do simple things and still encountered difficulties. It took some time to get accustomed to being out of my comfort zone, but once I did I was able to speak to French college students and learn about them and the differences in their lives. I discovered many great dishes including my now favorite, escargots! On top of all that, I was able to experience this journey with plenty of students from NC State and that made it all the better.
I absolutely love the programming that this Program provides. I feel that everything that I need to continue growing as a young adult is supplemented in some way.
What is one experience you need to have at NC State before you graduate?
An experience that I must have before graduating is performing research. Whether that be here at NC State as an undergraduate researcher or as an intern at another company. I would love to contribute something to our current body of knowledge and be able to know that I did something meaningful during my time here. This would be a valuable experience for my career and will hopefully help me find what truly interests me.
Tell us about your time in the Goodnight Scholars Program.
I could not imagine what college would be without the Goodnight Scholars Program. It was great to know that I already had a group of friends I could rely on for support. A few of us planned trips during the summer before getting to know each other and this sort of initiative is unique to this community. I don’t know of many other groups of people that are willing to go hiking with strangers. Before school even started, I knew that this Program was going to be a one of the best things I would come across. I absolutely love the programming that this Program provides. I feel that everything that I need to continue growing as a young adult is supplemented in some way. There are plenty of events geared towards professional development and networking, but beyond that there are also events that help foster a positive and supportive community among us.
Any unforgettable moments thus far from your time in the Goodnight Scholars community?
The first Goodnight Graduation Gala that I attended is an unforgettable memory from this Program that motivated and inspired me incredibly. The event allowed all of us to reflect back on the year and be grateful towards those who made it so great. As I was just finishing my first year of college, graduation still seemed a long ways away, but for the graduating class that time was here. There was a slideshow presentation that emphasized each accomplishment that the graduating class had achieved as well as their future goals. This presentation was breathtaking as each and every one of them had achieved so much and continue to work towards even more. I was so unbelievably proud of them and this has inspired me greatly to want to achieve more, so that when it comes my time to graduate I can be just as successful and motivating for the classes to come.
What does being a Goodnight Scholar mean to you?
Being a Goodnight Scholar means putting your best effort towards everything you do because we are part of something larger. We represent the Goodnight Scholars Program, NC State, and the communities from which we come from. It means being a leader and setting the standard by example. We were generously gifted with an investment in our education and thus, it is our goal to pay it forward as our mantra emphasizes.
Where do you picture yourself after graduation?
After college, I see myself staying in the Research Triangle here in North Carolina as there is plenty of opportunity for my field of study. I hope to live somewhere on the outskirts of a city where I can appreciate our beautiful natural scenery and still have convenient access to the city.
Photography credit: Jason Perry/Goodnight Scholars Program