Big Plans, Bright Futures: Meet Some of Our 2020 Graduates
They walked the bricks, pulled all nighters in Hill and Hunt, and enjoyed a cone (or two) of Howling Cow — each step marking their journey at NC State.
But this Pack is different.
The Class of 2020 continues to show its strength in the face of adversity. With commencement exercises postponed, they’re finding new ways to celebrate their hard work — while reflecting on the past.
Some will pursue new jobs. Others will further their education. But together, they’ve proved that the strength of the wolf really is the Pack.
Meet 10 of this year’s Humanities and Social Sciences graduates:
Phi Beta Kappa member Caleb Bartholomew served as director of outreach for the Climate Reality Project at NC State.
Minor: Creative Writing
Hometown: Charlotte, NC
Advice to my freshman self: Follow what you think is right. Advocate for yourself and what you need when it isn’t accessible, while still listening to the advice from those around you.
What’s next?: In October, I will begin a master’s in English and American studies at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom, where I will continue to research literature of the HIV and AIDS epidemic.
Transfer student Kiana Bradford served as a student ambassador for the Alumni Association, where she chaired the Traditions Committee.
Major: Communication (Public Relations)
Hometown: Fayetteville, NC
Advice to my freshman self: Do more things outside your dorm room. Instead of studying or eating a meal in your room, go study in the library, or grab something to eat in the atrium. That is how you’ll meet new people and make friends. While NC State is a large university, the more you get out and explore the campus, the smaller it seems.
What’s next for you?: I will attend Elon University and work towards my master’s in management. I have decided to take classes in the Research Triangle Park (RTP) so I can continue to stay in Raleigh.
Hanna DerBoghosian served as president of the Criminal Justice Club at NC State and was a new student orientation leader.
Hometown: Reidsville, NC
Reflecting on my college career: Before I got to NC State, I wasn’t able to lead a group of 20 students in a club meeting or speak in front of hundreds of families and students. NC State gave me the ability to believe in myself and to be confident in what I have been taught. NC State has meant everything to me. Thank you for making me feel valued. Thank you for making me think and do.
What’s next for you?: I am entering the workforce for around two years and then I will go to grad school in Boston for counterterrorism and security intelligence. My ultimate goal is to protect people, to protect families and to protect our country from senseless attacks of terrorism.
Beth Gaudette has been hired as a social worker at the agency where she interned this year.
Major: Masters of Social Work
Hometown: Raleigh, NC
Advice to my first graduate year self: I would tell myself to fearlessly take advantage of all the opportunities available during this graduate program with gratitude. Throughout my time in the School of Social Work, I learned so much about myself and got insights into the person I aspire to be. In particular, I would appreciate all the time I was able to learn from my professors, peers, staff and internships. All of these connections and experiences were a gift, and I know now they were not a given. I would also say to trust your instincts and the process.
What’s next for you?: I started working as a full-time multisystemic therapist this semester at Easterseals, providing children ages 12-17 with home-based family therapy. Balancing school and working was an adjustment, but I appreciate transitioning into my professional career while I still had the support of professors and peers at State. Easterseals and my supervisor have been incredibly supportive, and I strive to become a licensed clinical social worker.
Kevin Hogan received a 2020 Mathews medal, the highest non-academic distinction awarded to NC State students.
Minors: German and Music
Hometown: Greensboro, NC
Advice to my freshman self: Don’t worry about what’s to come. Make an emphasis on living in the moment. Put energy into creating new memories and friendships, having fun, enjoying the experience that is NC State (all the while keeping up with classes, of course!). Ultimately, I would tell myself to not stress as much about how things are going to work out, because they will.
What’s next?: I have accepted a position with the NC State College Advising Corps and plan to work in a high school near Wilmington, supporting students as they create their own post-high school plans.
Park Scholar Jayna Lennon received a 2020 Mathews Medal, the highest non-academic distinction awarded to NC State students.
Majors: Arabic and Political Science
Hometown: Newark, Delaware
Advice to my freshman self: It’s okay to feel uncertain. Try to embrace wherever you are in your journey and never stop looking for chances to explore and grow. You’re going to be just fine.
What’s next?: I am taking a year off from school to move home and take a moment to breathe and reevaluate my passions and goals. As of now, I think I will also apply to graduate programs in sociology during that year off.
Val Mera served as director of sustainability for NC State’s student government.
Major: Political Science
Minors: French and History
Hometown: Raleigh, NC
Advice to my freshman self: Let your passions lead you! By following my heart (as cliche as that is), I was able to mindfully decide what experiences would define my college years: studying abroad, committing to sustainability and food insecurity, and challenging myself to build as much community as possible. Don’t lose sight of yourself by stressing about resume builders. There’s so much more to college than that.
What’s next?: I am a lead for North Carolina Fellow for Apex, where I will be working with the local government and supporting the town’s sustainability program coordinator (specifically in the following areas: coordinating energy reduction efforts carried out by the town, assisting in preparing and presenting reports on the town’s sustainability efforts, assisting in researching and preparing applications for grant funding for new initiatives and programs, and updating outreach materials used for sustainability education in the community).
Park Scholar Abby Scheper served as lead facilitator for the Park Scholarships freshman retreat.
Minors: Art and Design; Health, Medicine and Human Values; Genetics
Hometown: Charlotte, North Carolina
Reflecting on my college career: All of my professors have taken a genuine interest in me as a person and in my work, and they have advanced my philosophical skills greatly. NC State gave me everything that I could have asked to have in a university – I have no regrets.
What’s next?: I recently committed to the University of Virginia’s Law School.
Park Scholar Naila Segule has earned the Payne International Development Fellowship.
Majors: Interdisciplinary Studies (Self-Design: Global Health Communication and Development) and Biomedical Engineering
Hometown: Cary, NC
Advice to my freshman self: Don’t be afraid to try something new!
What’s next?: I am the first Payne USAID Fellow from NC State! I am going to be completing a master’s degree in environmental health from Harvard University. This will be followed by five years of working at USAID as a foreign service health officer. I am starting my public health career by interning at the NC Department of Public Health this summer.
Andre Taylor was a 2018-19 Global Change Fellow for the Southeast Climate Science Center.
Major: M.A. in Public History
Hometown: Philadelphia, PA
Advice to my freshman self: Don’t think you can just get by without ever studying. It doesn’t work that way.
What’s next for you? I’m exploring career opportunities in the field of public history.