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First-Year Student Stories

Elijah Hammonds: Goodnight Spotlight

Elijah Hammonds, First-Year Goodnight Scholar and Class of 2024, is majoring in mechanical engineering with interests lying in the study of high-performance cars. Read on to learn more about his goals and how they have been impacted by his background as a Lumbee Native American.

Tell us about yourself! 

My name is Elijah Hammonds and I am a junior at NC State. I am majoring in mechanical engineering with the hopes of working on high-performance cars in the future. I am also Native American as a member of the Lumbee Tribe. During my free time I love to play volleyball, hike, and explore new restaurants across the city! 

Do you have any extracurriculars you would like to discuss?

Currently I am a member of the NCSU SAE team and the President of Antioch College Ministry. As a member of the SAE team, we are working together to build a miniature formula-one-style car that competes at the national level. I will go into the shop on a weekly basis and use metal-cutting equipment to create different parts of the car’s suspension team. This has provided excellent hands-on experience for the industry I desire to join after graduation. Also as the president of Antioch, I work to plan and create community events for both members and non-members alike. Antioch strives to create a united community of people that are devoted to growth in multiple areas within their lives, and I am excited to lead such a movement! It has been amazing to call this crowd my family as we all go through the constant highs and lows of being a college student. 

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

The Goodnight Scholars Program (GSP) offers so many unique opportunities that I wouldn’t have even thought about doing before I came to college. During our monthly GSP events I have been able to kayak across Lake Raleigh, learn how to cook a traditional arepa dish, and met countless professionals from a variety of fields. Each event has its own distinctive atmosphere and adventure, and I have truly enjoyed every one so far. One thing each event has in common is the gathering of brilliant, excited Goodnight Scholars that add to much fun in their own distinct way! I am also hoping to join one of the MayVenture trips next year, which would allow me to experience a completely new city and culture. 

How have you been able to connect your racial and ethnic background to your major and involvement at NC State?

While growing up in my hometown, there were plenty of opportunities to encourage young Native students to pursue STEM careers. I tried to join as many summer camps, after-school programs, and clubs as I could in order to secure a successful future. This attitude continued during my time at NC State as I’ve attended Native Powwows and other cultural networking events on campus. The encompassing motto I always heard during these activities was “Pay it forward!” This was ingrained into my lifestyle, and I am determined to use the help I received to help other individuals from my community. I have already been working to help high school seniors during their college/scholarship applications, and I plan to to get more active by hosting higher education information sessions for high school students in my community. 

What are your future career and life goals? Do these goals connect to your racial and ethnic background?

I currently want to enter the manufacturing field for either the automotive or aerospace industries. During my most recent summer internship, I was fascinated by the problem-solving required to work as a manufacturing engineer. Eventually, I plan on working with more of the design and development process for these industries as I aim to work on making vehicles more efficient and environmentally friendly. While eco-friendly transportation has improved over the recent years, it continues to remain costly and counterproductive due to current production methods. This prevents transportation technology from reducing carbon emissions and being accessible to the average citizen. I seek to be a contributing factor as humanity solves these two main issues.

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