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First-Year Student Stories

A Goodnight Spotlight: Elisabeth Kitchin

Ellie Kitchin, First Year Goodnight Scholar Class of 2023, is currently in her last semester of her undergraduate career at NC State. Read on to learn more about her favorite memories within the Goodnight Scholars Program, her major, and the extracurriculars that have shaped her time here.

Tell us about yourself!

My name is Elisabeth (Ellie) Kitchin, and I am a senior majoring in Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems with a concentration in Research and Production. I work for a plant pathology lab and love every second of it- especially when I get to wear a lab coat and pretend I’m a scientist. I’m originally from Avery County, NC, where I grew up on a small farm growing asparagus and making maple syrup. In my free time, I love doing anything outdoors, whether that be hiking, kayaking, or my personal favorite: hot girl walks. I also enjoy gardening, baking, roller skating, and pottery. 

Do you have any extracurriculars you would like to discuss?

Two organizations that have really influenced my time at NCSU were Epsilon Eta and Sigma Alpha. Epsilon Eta is NC State’s Environmental Honors Co-Ed Fraternity, and Sigma Alpha is a national Professional Agriculture Sorority. As an Agroecology major, I split my time between crop science and environmental science but never felt fully involved in either program. My involvement in Epsilon Eta and Sigma Alpha helped me to make friends in both my environmental and my agricultural classes, and allowed me to dive deeper into both sides of my education. I have met my best friends through these two organizations and made countless memories. They have contributed significantly to my college experience and thanks to them I’ve had an absolute blast during my time at NCSU. I can’t imagine where I’d be without them. 

What are some of your favorite things about the Goodnight Scholars Program?

As any Goodnight can tell you, one of the best things about the program is the community. When I was preparing to come to NCSU in 2019, I was absolutely horrified at the idea of making friends on a campus with more people than the entire population of my hometown. I didn’t know very many people and I was worried I would never find my people. Fortunately, I didn’t have to worry about this for very long. From the moment I stepped foot on campus, I automatically had a huge community of friends and advocates who made me feel right at home. Because of the Goodnight Scholars Program, I have never felt lonely at NC State. There is an overwhelming sense of security and belonging that comes with being a Goodnight Scholar, and I think that has made all the difference in my college experience. 

What are your immediate and long-term plans, considering that you are in your last semester of your undergraduate degree?

After graduation I plan to start my Master’s Degree in Plant Pathology and pursue my Ph.D. after that. Career-wise, I’m not super picky as long as I can continue working in research and development, whether that be through the government, industry, or academia. My research interests are in sustainable technology-driven agricultural research, particularly advancements in precision agriculture. My main goal is to develop efficient and environmentally-friendly alternatives for current standards in agriculture and plant pathology and to make sure these solutions are easily accessible for farmers and the general public. 

What are some major things learned about yourself while at NC State? Are there any lessons learned that could be helpful for underclassmen?

As a life-long worrier and perfectionist, the most important thing I learned as a student is to let it go. Didn’t do as well as you would have liked on a test? Learn from your mistakes and let it go. Stressing over something out of your control? Let it go. The worst thing you can do is stress and worry over trivial things that you may not even have the power to change. If you can’t solve it today- let it go and deal with it tomorrow. If you can’t do anything to change the outcome- let it go and forget about it. Life is too short to dwell on the “what-ifs.” The more you let things roll off your back, the better you will feel. Let it go, and then go get some ice cream; you’ve earned it. 

What is your favorite memory within the Goodnight Scholars program?

My favorite memory, by far, was participating in the alternative service break to Trinidad and Tobago during my freshman year. One moment, in particular, stuck out to me- towards the end of the trip, our host took us to his house to participate in the celebration of Holi. After a week of volunteering, everyone was exhausted, but we had a total blast running around and throwing the colored powders at each other. When it was over, we were all covered in a rainbow of pigment. We sat around and talked and laughed together while we ate a delicious home-cooked meal. I just remember thinking how lucky I was to be surrounded by those people, to be a part of the Goodnight Scholars, and even to be able to go on that trip. It was one of those once-in-a-lifetime moments of absolute bliss- and I’m so grateful that I was able to experience it.