Raleigh native Juliet Simpson ’18 muscles her way through senior year with dreams of landing a master’s degree in mechanical engineering.
Goodnight Scholars Program: Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Juliet Simpson ’18: I am a senior in mechanical engineering at NC State. I grew up in North Raleigh, a short 25 minute drive from State. I love to travel and am constantly looking for new ways to explore the world. Through travel and my passion for the environment, I became interested in sustainability and renewable energy. I hope to make a difference in the world by researching energy generation and how we can power our world in a way that does not negatively affect the environment. I discovered new hobbies at State that have become a huge part of my life. I started rock climbing at the climbing wall in Carmichael Gymnasium and now climb regularly at a local indoor climbing gym. Also I learned my first social dance when I attended a contra dance in Talley Student Union and fell in love with dance. Now I dance West Coast Swing or Blues at least once a week! I spend time outside whenever I can, practicing handstands in the grass outside Engineering Building 3 or running around Lake Johnson. Overall, I stay busy and make the most of my time outside of the classroom.
If you had to summarize your personality in one sentence, what would it say?
I’m a skeptical optimist who enjoys a little stress in her life, as long as I am surrounded by friends.
How would you describe your life as an NC State student?
My life as an NC State student is full of constant discovery and continued learning. Attending lectures, finishing problem sets, and completing engineering group projects all contribute to an important part of learning in college. However, much of my life is comprised of learning of a different sort. I spend late nights in Hunt Library bonding with friends over the struggle of studying. I discover new interests and pursue hobbies I’d never dreamed of like riding a unicycle, outdoor climbing, and contra dancing. My life ends up being an ebb and flow between intense studying and relaxing time with friends. There is always time for both, but the division varies.
Is there a particular accomplishment you’ve made at NC State that fills you with pride?
My first-year at NC State, I knew that I wanted to get involved in research in the Mechanical Engineering department and start doing real work on energy conservation; however, I had not yet matriculated into mechanical engineering nor had I even taken my first engineering class. I was dedicated to my goal, though, and reached out to a professor, explaining my interest and passion for his work. By the end of our meeting, I had my first research job only halfway through my first-year! I am still incredibly proud that I ignored the conventional wisdom and managed to start my engineering experience so early in college.
I would like to one-day work for an R&D company doing research on sustainable energy technology.
What is one experience everybody should have at NC State before graduating?
Every student needs to attend Packapalooza at least once at NC State. The all-day street festival is a great demonstration of all the different clubs, sports, and activities happening on campus. You get to wander through booths, surrounded by the multitudes of your fellow students, and realize just how much happens at NC State.
Tell us about your time in the Goodnight Scholars Program.
My college experience has been shaped significantly by the Goodnight Scholars Program. Some of the highlights of my time in college come from the Program: a service trip to Trinidad, the fall break trip to Boston, funding for my study abroad in London, and numerous incredible speakers at Goodnight workshops. I have enjoyed being part of an evolving program, growing to meet the needs of the scholars and of North Carolina students. I took part in the first Goodnight Scholars Finalist Interview Day and have volunteered at every one since then. I am serving as an ambassador for the Program as we transition into new income ranges and accept our first transfer student class. During my time with the Goodnight Scholars Program I have seen incredible change happen and incredible effects on my life, and I look forward to continuing to see it evolve.
Any unforgettable moments thus far from your time in the Goodnight Scholars community?
Taking part in a Phagwa celebration in Trinidad is one amazing experience that I know would not have been possible without the Goodnight Scholars Program. In the first annual spring break service trip to Trinidad, our group participated in the Hindu festival of Phagwa, or Holi. Joining the local Trinidadian culture for a celebration provided an opportunity to cross cultural boundaries and expand our perspective through a new experience. I knew that I had been accepted into the festivities the first time a stranger came up and rubbed colorful powder on me, bringing me fully into the festival. By the end of the day, my skin and clothing we completely colored and I couldn’t have been happier.
What does being a Goodnight Scholar mean to you?
Being a Goodnight Scholar means being part of a community of students who are passionate about STEM. A Goodnight Scholar is given the training, skills, and network to become a leader for change and each scholar applies that towards their own passion. Most importantly, though, being a part of the Goodnight Scholar community means supporting each other and having that network to draw on when pursuing a new goal.
Where do you picture yourself after graduation?
After graduation, I plan on attending graduate school to earn a master’s degree in mechanical engineering. I would like to one-day work for an R&D company doing research on sustainable energy technology. I am really interested in the combination of concentrated solar power and supercritical CO2 cycles and would love to get involved in that sort of cutting edge research.
Photography credit: Jason Perry/Goodnight Scholars Program