Goodnight Spotlight: Ethan Jenkins

Photograph of NC State Transfer Goodnight Scholar Ethan Jenkins on NC State's main campus.

“Living the dream” is a common expression made in passing conversation, but not for Ethan Jenkins ‘T22. He is actually living his dream every day at NC State.

Goodnight Scholars Program: Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Ethan Jenkins ‘T22: I am from Cerro Gordo in Columbus County. Growing up in a rural, agriculturally prominent community with two farmers in my family gave me an appreciation for agriculture early in my life. I became very involved with the National FFA Organization in high school where I participated in several career development and leadership development events that helped shape my passion for agriculture and horticulture. I am now at NC State majoring in agricultural education where I have the opportunity to increase my knowledge and skills in agriculture and to pursue my passions. Some of my hobbies include tennis, basketball, golf, playing music, singing, and working with plants.

If you had to summarize your personality in one sentence, what would it say?

Aspire to spread positivity in everything I do.

How would you describe your life as an NC State student?

My life as an NC State student so far has been very unpredictable. I began my first semester at NC State following some pivotal transitions in my life; leaving home being one of them. I was initially unsure how I would transition into independence and how I would adapt to the new environment. However, I have met some amazing people here that have allowed me to feel comfortable and confident with this new stage in my life. I have also been blessed with instructors who have been very encouraging in my pursuits and have helped me discover the aspects of agriculture I am most passionate about. I have gained so much from being involved in programs such as NC Teaching Fellows and the Goodnight Scholars Program; they have both provided me with incredible opportunities and experiences.

Any personal accomplishments that you are proud of?

I spent two years at Southeastern Community College (SCC) prior to enrolling at NC State where I received my associate degree in arts and science. I also served as the President of the ambassador program at my community college where I networked with members in my community to support SCC’s mission of Succeeding Together. Through the efforts of the ambassador program, the college was able to gain multiple new donors to fund scholarships for students and boast unmatched statistics for student success rates.

I believe having diverse experiences is essential for gaining the best overall knowledge of the field I am pursuing and will better equip me for my future career.

Tell us about your time in the Goodnight Scholars Program.

My time in the Goodnight Scholars Program thus far has been extremely rewarding. I have felt like an integral and significant part of this community from the very first day I started at NC State by the pro staff and by my fellow scholars. I have been given the opportunity to engage in a large variety of activities that I never thought I would be able to experience. Specifically, my exposure to diversity has been extremely beneficial for me. Coming from a small town where there is little variation, experiencing the prominent diversity within the Goodnight Scholars Program has been a new and positive experience for me.

What does being a Goodnight Scholar mean to you?

Being a Goodnight Scholar allows me to participate in experiences that I would be out of reach coming from a poverty-stricken community. It has provided me with the opportunity to attend my dream university at no expense to me, along with having the greatest experiences imaginable during my time at NC State. The Goodnight Scholars Program empowers determined students by providing them with every opportunity to succeed.

Do you have an unforgettable memory from your time in the Program thus far?

The most unforgettable experience I have had through the Goodnight Scholars Program up to this point is the fall break trip to Boston, Massachusetts. This trip gave me my first flying experience as well as connecting me with other people in the Goodnight Scholars community that have now become my friends. The trip was packed with professional development, personal growth, and exciting experiences. Boston had a great environment, great people, and a great variety of experiences available.

What is one experience you need to have at NC State before you graduate?

Before I graduate from NC State, I plan to embark on at least one study abroad trip out of the country. I have never traveled outside the United States and would love to see the world while gaining unparalleled hands on experience in my field of interest from world-renowned NC State professionals. I believe having diverse experiences is essential for gaining the best overall knowledge of the field I am pursuing and will better equip me for my future career.

Where do you picture yourself after graduation?

After graduation, I picture myself returning to my hometown and using the skills and knowledge I have gained at NC State to benefit my community. I would love to give back to the community that has given so much to me and has helped me develop into the person I am today.

Photography credit: Jason Perry/Goodnight Scholars Program