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Goodnight Doctoral Fellowship Welcomes Three Goodnight Scholars Alumni

Fall sunrise on the Memorial Belltower.

On Friday, December 20th 2022, NC State announced the creation of the Goodnight Doctoral Fellowship; a new funding opportunity for doctoral students across colleges whose work focuses on STEM or education. Thirty doctoral fellows will be selected each year for four-year fellowships. This fellowship created by Dr.Jim and Mrs. Ann Goodnight is yet another way to help eliminate financial barriers that often hamper students from pursuing higher education. The Goodnight Scholarships office is happy to share that three of our alums are members of the inaugural class: Jeffrey Barahona (Class of 2019), Nicholas Nunn (Class of 2014), and Jeremy Park (Class of 2020).

Nicholas, who is pursuing his Ph.D. in chemistry,  understands the impact such funding can have, not only from a financial standpoint, but also from a mental health perspective. “One of the toughest challenges in pursuing a Ph.D. in STEM is having to deal with failure, complicated experiments, inconclusive data, etc. This challenge can be amplified by limited funding which is becoming more and more competitive to obtain each year.” Nicholas sees this fellowship as an additional boost in confidence and belief to push harder in his academics. 

At the bequest of Dr. and Mrs. Goodnight, alumni of the Goodnight Scholars Program and Goodnight Transfer Scholars Program will receive special consideration for the Goodnight Doctoral Fellowship, with up to five fellowships allotted to alums each year. This prioritization demonstrates their continued investment in our scholars throughout their NC State careers, and highlights the scope of their impact in our community

Jeremy Park plans to obtain his Ph.D. in computer science and help discover ways to use artificial intelligence for the betterment of the environment. “I am so honored and grateful that the Goodnights and NC State believe in me”, Jeremy says. “Telling my mom that I received the Goodnight Doctoral Fellowship reminded me of the time that I told my mom I received the Goodnight Scholarship — both times involved me excitedly shouting the news to my mom from another room. It really is a tremendous honor.” 

While they’ve moved beyond their undergraduate years, the Goodnight Scholars’ “Pay it Forward” mantra continues to be at the forefront of our alumni’s minds and actions. They have prioritized giving back as a primary aspect of their professional lives and community involvement. Through the Goodnight Doctoral Fellowship, this idea can continue to flourish here at NC State, and gives those selected an opportunity to make an impact through their innovative research, teaching and mentorship. 

“Too often in education, too much focus is placed on repetition and memorization, and

not enough critical thought and analysis”, Nicholas says. The university is not here to train robots, we need to train and develop minds that can adapt to and solve complex problems.” 

The Goodnight Scholarships office applauds these three alumni on their acceptance into the inaugural cohort of the Goodnight Doctoral Fellowship program, and looks forward to the impact they will have on their respective fields.