Moving to Raleigh from a small town in North Carolina was intimidating for Lacey Malinsky ’22. But, three years later, Lacey describes her successful transition with two words: independence and exploration.
Goodnight Scholars Program: Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Lacey Malinsky ’22: I am originally from the small town of Lumberton, North Carolina. I come from a tight-knit family of five, in which I am the butt of several middle child jokes. I grew up eating lots of Thai food and playing lots of soccer, as my mom is half Thai and my dad is an avid soccer fan. I have always been interested in healthcare and research which is why I chose to major in biological sciences and minor in biotechnology. However, after coming to NC State and doing various community outreach events with the Goodnight Scholars Program, I’ve come to realize my passion for community service and decided to pick up a nonprofit studies minor as well.
If you had to summarize your personality in one sentence, what would it say?
I’m a very laid-back individual who always chooses to lead with compassion.
How would you describe your life as an NC State student?
When I think about my life at NC State, two words immediately come to mind: independence and exploration. Transitioning from a small town to a massive university in the state’s capital was both scary and exciting for me. [At NC State], I’ve had the opportunity to take classes both within and outside of STEM disciplines, and doing so has helped me come to a better understanding of my academic interests and has exposed me to several career paths that I am now considering. NC State’s dedication to service has also enabled me to explore my passion for service by connecting me with many opportunities to volunteer in Wake County. Since being at NC State, I have become a volunteer at the Tammy Lynn Center and have served on the Community Involvement Committee for the largest student-run service organization in the Triangle, Service Raleigh.
Tell us about an accomplishment at NC State that fills you with pride.
Fall semester of sophomore year fills me with a lot of pride. At the beginning of the semester, I decided to put a larger focus on myself and my mental health. I set aside time each week to exercise and read, as well as ensure that I was going to bed before midnight each night — even if that meant turning in an assignment late or pushing it off until the next morning. I saw the benefits of my lifestyle changes and mentality shift almost immediately. I was getting up early and actually feeling energized throughout the day. At the end of the semester, I found myself with all As for the first time in college and as proud as I was of that academic accomplishment, I was even more proud of the personal growth I experienced.
How have you learned to adapt to the COVID-19 situation when it comes to academics?
Moving completely online allowed for a much more flexible schedule that made it very easy to procrastinate. I had to force myself to be very disciplined in order to ensure that I was effectively learning the material and completing assignments on time. I also chose to take advantage of every opportunity my professors provided me to better learn the material, which usually meant showing up to lectures or attending review sessions even when they weren’t mandatory. Although online classes were not ideal, they forced me to learn a lot about how I learn best outside of a controlled classroom setting.
What is one experience you need to have at NC State before you graduate?
Although not necessarily at NC State, I really want to study abroad before I graduate! I am especially interested in the STEM study abroad program in Poland because, if you couldn’t tell by my last name, I have some Polish heritage. And because I love STEM of course! Several of my friends have done it and had amazing experiences. NC State offers a wide variety of study abroad opportunities and makes them very accessible to all students, so I hope to be able to participate in one before I graduate.
But most importantly, the program has provided me with a diverse and dynamic community made up of individuals who are always uplifting and supporting each other.
Tell us about your time in the Goodnight Scholars Program.
My time in the Goodnight Scholars Program has been nothing short of amazing. The program afforded me my first opportunity to travel internationally on the Goodnight Scholars Mayventure trip to Canada, as well as provided me the opportunity to grow in my leadership abilities through my role as an ambassador.
What does being a Goodnight Scholar mean to you?
Being a Goodnight Scholar means being a part of a community that gives me all the tools, resources, and support I need to reach my full potential. During the beginning of my sophomore year, I was talking with Dr. Medlin, director of the Goodnight Scholars Program, and mentioned how I was questioning whether or not I should drop my goal of pursuing an M.D./Ph.D., because I felt I wasn’t strong enough academically. She immediately interjected and told me to never think that I can’t do something just because it intimidates me. She stated that if this goal was something I truly wanted then the Goodnight Scholars Program would give me all the help I needed. This moment meant so much to me because although I was constantly doubting myself, she assured me that I could dream big when it came to my goals.
What is one of your unforgettable memories in the Goodnight Scholars Program thus far?
The Goodnight Scholars Program Mountains to Coast service trip I went on this past year was one of the most impactful experiences I have had thus far in the program and in college as a whole. During this trip, I had the opportunity to give back to rural communities like my own by facilitating STEM enrichment activities at rural middle schools, but also was able to explore parts of North Carolina I had never been to before. From seeing young students’ eyes light up as they realized they too could think like an engineer to belting Riptide by Vance Joy with 14 other scholars in a tightly packed passenger van, this trip was filled with unforgettable moments.
What would be your biggest piece of advice to a potential Goodnight Scholar or incoming Goodnight Scholar?
My biggest piece of advice to an incoming scholar would be to immerse yourself in the program as much as you can and as soon as you can. I was very timid my freshman year and missed out on many wonderful opportunities because I did not get involved as much as I wanted to. The Goodnight Scholars Program is full of many experiences that allow you to grow personally, professionally, and academically. Do not hesitate to participate in as many events and experiences as this program offers. The Goodnight Scholars Program is full of inspiring scholars that you will no doubt get to meet and grow close to the more you are involved!
Where do you picture yourself after graduation?
I could potentially see myself going straight to medical school or possibly taking a gap year or two to do some sort of research within the biotechnology industry. I could also see myself taking a position working for a nonprofit that combines my passion for both healthcare and social service.
Photography credit: Josh Guter/Goodnight Scholars Program