Before coming to NC State, Goodnight Scholar Devin Wyatt ’21 was destined to pursue an academic field that meshed her fascinations with both machine mechanisms and art. Now in her senior year, Wyatt is bound to graduate with an engineering degree that perfectly blends her unique interests, while also leaving NC State with 50 best friends and a deep love for the Goodnight Scholars Program.
Goodnight Scholars Program: Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Devin Wyatt ’21: I was born and raised in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. As a child, I was obsessed with pulling things apart to understand how they worked. This fascination with the inner mechanisms of machines and tools was accompanied by an enthusiastic desire to create art and a love for philosophy and debate. I wanted to be an engineer, graphic designer, and attorney, all at once. As I filled out my college applications, I was faced with the challenge of chasing just one of these passions. I decided to pursue a degree in Chemical Engineering. When I arrived to NC State, however, it became obvious that my intended major and I were not as well-aligned as I had hoped. Engineering 101, the class all prospective engineers at NC State must take, required that I visit three presentations on different engineering programs. The only one that interested me at all was the Paper Science and Engineering lecture. This intrigue hasn’t left me yet. If you’ve never heard of Paper Science Engineering, which you likely haven’t, I like to describe it as a crossover between Chemical Engineering and Industrial and Systems Engineering. Basically, I’m a process engineer with a decent understanding of business administration that really likes the smell of sulfur in the morning.
If you had to summarize your personality in one sentence, what would it say?
To quote fellow Goodnight Scholar Loulou Batta ’21, I consider myself to be an enthusiastic introvert.
How would you describe your life as an NC State student thus far?
As a senior in her final semester, I feel that I’ve had experience with several student lifestyles. My freshman year, I was a bit overwhelmed by all of the opportunities at NC State, so I mostly stuck to my schoolwork, friends, and the Goodnight Scholars Program. My sophomore year however, I joined any club that interested me, including a sorority, and got more involved in the Goodnight Scholars Program. I was definitely trying to “boost my resume” and compensate for what I felt I had missed out on my freshman year, but it was an unhealthy level of activity that caused me to focus less on my schoolwork. My junior year, things returned to normal. I found a healthy balance between extracurriculars, schoolwork, social life, and physical and mental health. It’s a lifestyle I’ve been able to maintain even throughout COVID and my senior year.
Tell us about an accomplishment at NC State that fills you with pride.
I came into Paper Science Engineering second semester of my freshman year. As a result, most of the summer internships in place for freshman were all taken, and I was told by my advisor that I would have to work very hard to get one. Feeling a bit discouraged, I applied to what felt like eighty different companies through online portals, but no one wanted to hire a freshman. In mid-spring I attended the Engineering Career Fair at NC State and handed out my resume to anyone that would take it. Finally, I heard back from a manufacturing company near my hometown of Winston-Salem and scheduled an interview. Afterwards I began compulsively checking my phone and email for any response from the company.
One momentous day, as I stood in line for lunch at Case Dining Hall, I received a phone call. I answered it as quickly as I could while trying not to sound overly eager. The woman on the other end of the line congratulated me for receiving an internship offer at the company. I felt that I had done what I was told I couldn’t do, and, as the great Matthew Wilder once said, nobody was going to break my stride or slow me down.
Tell us about your time in the Goodnight Scholars Program.
My freshman year, my cohort had a running joke that we all got to arrive at NC State with 50 best friends. It was clear from the moment I met my class that we were going to be like family. There was no competition. We had already made it here, and now it was time to be there for one another.
Despite a lack of competitive attitude from my peers, I still felt insecure. What if I wasn’t smart enough? What if I wasn’t like them? What if they didn’t like me? What if, what if, what if? For a time, I unintentionally distanced myself from the program. It wasn’t until I went to the Goodnight Lounge to print off some notes one day that I realized what I was missing. When I walked into the lounge, I was greeted by name by most of the Goodnights studying there. Those who didn’t know me introduced themselves. There was kindness in their voices, and nothing to be afraid of here. I began spending more time in the lounge even though it was quite the long walk to Peele Hall. Since that time, I’ve been involved in the Goodnight Scholars Program as an Ambassador, Retreat Leader, Interview Day Group Leader, and Blogger. I wanted to make others in the program feel the way those Goodnights in the lounge made me feel.
What does being a Goodnight Scholar mean to you?
Being a Goodnight Scholar is incredibly humbling. Each of us had to overcome generational obstacles to get to where we are. Some of us are first-generation college students, others are immigrants or have parents who are immigrants, others had to work all throughout high school just to make ends meet. Being a Goodnight Scholar means recognizing the opportunities that we’ve been offered and working to give back to others.
What would be your biggest piece of advice to a potential Goodnight Scholar or incoming Goodnight Scholar?
My best advice for incoming Goodnight Scholars is to remember that you belong here.
My best advice for incoming Goodnight Scholars is to remember that you belong here. You earned your admission to NC State, and you earned your scholarship. It can be easy to downplay your own achievements when you come to college and everyone seems as smart as you are, but I can assure you that most people feel the same way that you do.
Where do you picture yourself after graduation?
I recently accepted a job offer at a company called Enzymatic Deinking Technologies (EDT) just north of Atlanta, so I’ll be in that area for some time after graduation. I really like the idea of living in or around a bigger city like Atlanta, so I’ll likely remain in larger cities even if I don’t stay in Atlanta.