Kaleb Lee ’21 needs to see the world. After three years at NC State and in the Goodnight Scholars Program, he’s off to a good start.
Goodnight Scholars Program: Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Kaleb Lee ’21: My name is Kaleb Lee and I am a junior majoring in environmental technology and management with a minor in environmental toxicology. I am from Moncure which is almost impossible to say without Southern drawl. I’ll occasionally meet a person who is familiar with the tall-grassed backroads, migrating herds of deer, and dead-end roads, but often, in order to avoid this confusion, I instead opt to tell people I am from Chatham County or a small town near Jordan Lake. Growing up in Moncure there are very few places to go– literally there is a gas station and a post office. Though it may not be a large city with much to do, my hometown taught me a lot about being creative, imaginative, and spending a lot of time outdoors.
If you had to summarize your personality in one sentence, what would it say?
I would say that I am introverted and soft-spoken yet strong-willed and someone who stays true to myself.
How would you describe your life as an NC State student?
My time at NC State so far has been really amazing. From being involved with various multicultural organizations on campus and living in the Avent Ferry Complex with the Black Male Initiative (BMI), these spaces have further developed me into who I am today. Being a member of BMI has allowed me to build meaningful relationships with my peers around me and has also given me the opportunity to develop relationships with faculty and staff here on campus. At first I had doubts about where I would belong on campus. However, NC State has an amplitude of organizations and clubs that caters to all types of people from various backgrounds. I soon found myself getting involved with the Climate Reality Project, the African American Student Advisory Council, and other organizations where I made meaningful friend groups.
Any personal accomplishments that you are proud of?
Becoming a village mentor for BMI is one of the best decisions I have ever made at NC State. Being a mentor has allowed me to offer in-coming students of color with certain information that could impact the way they navigate campus. Along with mentoring to young men of color, I have also had the opportunity to network and collaborate with other underrepresented groups on NC State campus. I have been able to program events about bringing awareness to issues and conflicts minorities face on campus while looking at ways to seek solutions. These things have been very impactful for me during my time at State.
Through the Goodnight Scholars Program, I discovered a passion for wanting to travel and experience new places.
Tell us about your time in the Goodnight Scholars Program.
I am so grateful for the Goodnight Scholars Program. The Goodnight Scholars Program has blessed me with the foundation that has helped shape me into who I am today and has provided me with so many unique and meaningful opportunities. I have met some of the most amazing, passionate, and brightest people in the world within the Goodnight Scholars Program. Through these interactions, I have been able to develop friendships and interpersonal skills. Since joining the community, I have improved my public speaking, built my academic portfolio, and learned that it is okay to be pushed out of your comfort zone and to try new things.
What does being a Goodnight Scholar mean to you?
Being a Goodnight Scholar means always striving to grow and never settling, whether it be academically, civically, or professionally. I have learned that being a Goodnight Scholar means being there for others and investing in the future generations to come. Having the opportunity to pay it forward is a mantra that I will always believe in and practice for the rest of my life.
Do you have an unforgettable memory from your time in the Program thus far?
One of the most impactful memories in the Goodnight Scholars Program would be having the opportunity to be a team participant on the trip to Trinidad. I honestly fell in love with Trinidad because of how great the experience was. This trip was my first time ever traveling internationally. The experience of being immersed in a different culture provided me with the opportunity to learn more about service. On top of that being able to build relationships with people from my cohort and other cohorts within the program allowed me to connect with nature on a deeper level and taught me how to be more vulnerable with others.
What is one experience you need to have at NC State before you graduate?
Before I leave NC State, I would like to experience taking a course outside of my field of study. One thing that I am really passionate about is music. Having the opportunity and time to potentially take a class in music production and composition here at NC State would be phenomenal.
Where do you picture yourself after graduation?
Through the Goodnight Scholars Program, I discovered a passion for wanting to travel and experience new places. After graduation I would like to volunteer with the Peace Corps for two years and preferably go to a country in Africa. Through the Peace Corps, I want to work on a project that relates to issues of environmental concern and use the information learned and my experience to apply to grad school.
Photography credit: Jason Perry/Goodnight Scholars Program