Skip to main content
First-Year Student Stories

Goodnight Spotlight: Madison Lawson

Madison Lawson (Class of 2024), shares her passion for gardening and cooking inspired her academic focus on the journey of food. Her interest in agroecology reflects her desire to explore food’s social impact and food security. A leader in campus ministry, Madison combines her academic pursuits with deep faith and a commitment to service.

Tell us about yourself!

I’m a senior majoring in Agroecology & Sustainable Food Systems. I love to garden and cook—two hobbies that lead me to choose a major that looks at how food gets from the farm to your fork. I also adore reading and love a good mystery novel. My favorite days are spent on a sunny porch reading a good book.

What is your major and why did you decide to pursue it?

I actually started out majoring in Plant Breeding & Biotechnology. I engaged to use genetic engineering to decrease food insecurity by making higher yielding and more climate resilient crops. I quickly changed my major freshman year, however, when I worked in a lab and discovered I hate lab work. I realized I wanted to work with people; my strengths have always been communication and the lab-based major I initially chose didn’t allow me to use them. That’s how I ended up in Agroecology. It’s a field that focuses on the social, environmental, and economic aspects of food security. I’m able to dive deep into how people and the food we eat are related.

This love for people and the connection between food and how we live our lives spurred me on to continuing my education here at State. I’ll be starting a Masters in Agricultural Education and Human Sciences, focusing on Family and Community Science this summer. I hope to use this degree in tandem with my undergraduate degree to explore how our connection with our food shapes who we are and how we interact with those around us. 

What is your favorite part about the goodnight scholars program?

My favorite part about the Goodnight Scholars Program is how supportive everyone is. My path to college was far from the normal and it’s had many twists and turns since I got here, but I’ve never felt like I was doing it on my own. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that I wouldn’t be where I am if it wasn’t for Allison and the way she’s cared for and guided me along this journey. She actually found the Masters program I’m in and had it saved to talk to me about before I ever talked to her about considering graduate school. She’s been my go-to person from the beginning.

The other thing I’ve absolutely loved about the Goodnight Scholars Program is the opportunity to serve that we have. This year I’ve served as a STEM Coach; it has been so rewarding. I’ve gone to the Raleigh Girls Club for every event I’ve worked and to see the girls start to recognize and trust me has been a wonderful experience. The most memorable moment was when one little girl’s entire group left and she had to make the newspaper chair all by herself. She was so nervous and didn’t have any confidence in herself, but I was able to help her blossom by answering her questions and encouraging her to try her ideas. Her chair ended up being the only one that worked.

Do you have any extracurriculars you would like to discuss?

I am very active with the campus ministry CRU. I lead a small group Bible study for sophomore girls and serve on the prayer team. This has been such a fruitful experience for me because I get to spend time doing one of my favorite things—learning and talking about Jesus—with people I care about deeply.

What are your plans as far as future career goals?

I’ll be honest, there’s a lot I’m still figuring out about what I want to do as a career. What I’ve learned throughout my experiences in college is that I have a goal that I want to accomplish rather than a title I want to hold. I want a career that allows me to decrease food insecurity, particularly in children and young families. I want to work to create a world in which no child is hungry and all families have the chance to be happy and whole. These aspirations may take me to Cooperative Extension, the Department of Child and Family Well-Being, or a faith-based nonprofit. I’m not sure yet, but I’m learning to trust God’s guidance in leading me exactly where I need to be.

What is your main source of inspiration?

I know it’s a cheesy answer that’s to be expected from someone raised in the South that’s leading a Bible study in college, but my inspiration is Jesus. My faith is a huge part of who I am. God’s provision and sovereignty has been so evident in my life that I couldn’t deny it if I tried. Jesus is the perfect role model—God in the flesh who loved the world so much that He would die a terrible death so that we could live lives of eternal peace with Him. Though I fail everyday, I look to His example of love without restrictions and service to everyone around Him as the way I want to live my life.

Leave a Response

Your email address will not be published. All fields are required.