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Hannah Ehmann ’21 on How Opportunities at NC State Will Help Her Affect Change

This interview was originally posted on the Goodnight Scholars news site.

Hannah Ehmann ’21 wants to instill her love for learning into high school students across North Carolina.

Goodnight Scholars Program: Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Hannah Ehmann ’21: I am a first-year student born and raised in Jacksonville on the coast of North Carolina. I love the beach, and summer is my favorite season. It’s only fitting that my birthday falls during this time. I am majoring in high school science education with a concentration in biology. Stay tuned for possible concentration changes in the upcoming years. In high school, I played volleyball, soccer, and was on the cross-country team. While in my first semester here at State, I was hesitant to overload myself with responsibilities. I hope to join an intramural soccer team in the spring ’18 semester. As for hobbies that I have currently, my love for music has grown. Also, I thoroughly enjoy relaxing and watching Netflix with my friends in my free time. Lastly, if I could say one part about me that has developed the most in my first semester at NC State, it would have to be my passion. While I came into college aware that I wanted to become a teacher, it was not until being here that I knew why I wanted it so bad. In my journey, I am motivated by my passion to advocate for disadvantaged students and cause a difference in the injustices you see in the school system.

If you had to summarize your personality in one sentence, what would it say?

I am a giggly person with a mind to help others and am always willing to be a listening ear.

How would you describe your life as an NC State student?

At NC State, I feel enabled in so many more ways than I was in my hometown. In terms of my schooling, I feel as though everything I do have a purpose and it will genuinely better me. I can focus solely on my schoolwork at college. I do not have to worry about many of the things I used to, such as practice and work. Socially I am exposed to new people every day and even live with some of my best friends. I am the treasurer of MYEN, a club that addresses the topic that holds the most importance to me: diversity in education. I also live in a living-learning village where I can make an impact through mentoring a fifth grader. If I had to sum up my experience so far as an NC State student in one word, it would be opportunity.

Before you arrived to NC State, what accomplishment are you most proud of?

I have played soccer since I was in first grade. My final season was in my senior year of high school. Going into the season we were doubtful of how far we would advance due to a large number of seniors that graduated at the end of the previous season. Through the months we played, we learned how to work together and communicate effectively on the field. We made it to the fourth round of the playoffs and even beat Chapel Hill, our biggest game of the season. When I look back on this time in my life, I am so proud of the team that I played a part in building up. Even though we didn’t make it to the state championship, we played with heart until the last whistle blew. I will forever be grateful and proud of the team, of the family, that we created.

What is one experience you need to have at NC State before you graduate?

I have never been to a football game! Before I graduate I must sit in the student section with my friends cheering for our team.

Tell us about your time in the Goodnight Scholars Program.

The majority of my time spent in the Goodnight Scholars Program has been spent in our first-year seminar, GSP 250. We do a lot of professional development and acknowledgment of our goals. Through that, we have all become good friends. I have not seen it often, but when all 210 scholars get into a room, it is an event that leaves me in awe. I have been to many of the community-wide socials in an attempt to get to know the older Goodnights. Even as a first-year student, everyone is so friendly towards me. So far being in the program has been a great experience and I am thankful for the opportunities I am given through it.

Any unforgettable moments from your time in the Goodnight Scholars community thus far?

My first day on campus I met the entire Goodnight Class of 2021 at our Summer Retreat. The next three days made up my most unforgettable memories of the Program. I remember playing “Tanks and Commanders” with Devin as my partner and slipping in the grass due to all the commotion. The next day we went to the Chancellor’s suite, the first and only time I have seen the NC State football field in-person. We also participated in a campus scavenger hunt that was fun, but very sweaty. The last day was the most fun. We built boats and then watched them sink which was a great way to build friendship within the community. Overall it was a fun experience. Next year I hope to be a retreat leader to introduce first-year students to the Program and create good memories for them also.

What does being a Goodnight Scholar mean to you?

Being a Goodnight Scholar is an extremely humbling experience for me. As I look at all my peers, whether in my cohort or not, I am amazed by all the great things we have the opportunity to do. In my interview, I was asked what pay it forward means to me and being in this Program has shown me all the ways I can do this. Through this Program, I have developed professionally to prepare myself for becoming a teacher. Hopefully, I will be able to play a part in molding students to be capable of receiving opportunities to help them in college such as this one. Lastly, GSP has given me a family. Through our GSP 250 class and a few of my other core classes, I have grown close with my cohort. I am grateful that we have each other to rely on.

Where do you picture yourself after graduation?

After graduation, I hope to be in the classroom working with high school students. I hope to be able to increase their love for education and their desire to succeed in school and life. I want to help students learn that they can overcome what life has dealt them. I want to help them get into a good college and find programs that can assist them through it. I don’t know if I see myself in a rural or urban school, but wherever I end up, I only hope to affect change.

Interview conducted and edited by Jason Perry. Photography credit: Connie Feinberg/Goodnight Scholars Program