Chandler Henninger ’20: ‘Having the position of an educator in the 21st century is about inspiring students to reach their potential.’

Chandler Henninger

The only thing Chandler Henninger ’20 loves more than sports is education, which is why NC State was the perfect fit.

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

Chandler Henninger ’20: I am from the small town of Randleman, North Carolina and study mathematics education here at NC State. If you are wondering where Randleman is, it is located in Randolph County just north of the zoo and south of Greensboro. In Randleman, I attended Randleman High School and was involved in our school’s Key Club, cross country team and golf team. NC State was at the top of my list of schools I wanted to attend, and I am proud to say that I am going on my fourth year here! Through NC State and the Goodnight Scholars Program, I have been able to meet amazing people and find new passions outside of the classroom. I enjoy seeing new places and experiencing different cultures. Fall semester of my junior year, I had the opportunity to study abroad in Leeds, England. I had a great time and would recommend it to anyone remotely interested in studying abroad. More recently, I had the opportunity to go on a service trip to Malaysia. My time in Malaysia was spent working alongside some amazing people including fellow Goodnight Scholar Parker Savage! When I’m not at the library, you can find me in the study lounge, a sporting event or spending time with friends.

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

I am an extroverted introvert who is optimistic about the future, always willing to lend a helping hand and grateful of good company.

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

Being a student at NC State has been nothing shy of amazing and incredibly comprehensive. Coming from a small town, it was a shock to see so many people on one campus. I remember my first class being in Dabney Hall; a room the size of a high school classroom, but somehow fitting 70 people. It took some time to adjust to that, but I found that making good study groups helped the transition a lot. Since I am about to start student teaching, I focus a lot of time on my education classes and making sure my classroom observations are doing a good job preparing me for the future! Outside of class and studying, I enjoy going to basketball and football games when I have time. I am beyond grateful to have met incredible friends that I can spend time with outside of class whether we’re attending Goodnight Scholars events, working on projects, studying, or exploring Raleigh!

Any personal accomplishments that you are proud of?

I enjoy interdisciplinary studies and exploring topics outside of STEM. When I saw the different electives available to take here at NC State, I made it a goal to take different classes that I would otherwise know nothing about. I am satisfied to say that I have taken classes on topics like community food security and 18th British literature. Taking and doing well in these classes is an accomplishment for me because it gives me more confidence to engage in other education efforts outside of mathematics. It was nice to utilize unique classes offered outside of my focus area to become a more well-rounded student.

Chandler Henninger writing on the whiteboard in class.

Tell us about your time in the Goodnight Scholars Program.

The Goodnight Scholars Program is more than a scholarship. The Program is enriched with opportunity, friendship and community. From my first year to now, I have been able to attend some amazing seminars with topics that include data art, 4D Printing, engineering human tissue and so much more. I have also had the opportunity to use enrichment grants to extend my education in ways that I could have never imagined like going to Malaysia and studying abroad. During first-year [summer] retreat, I immediately felt at home because everyone I met was so welcoming and excited to have me as a part of the community. One of the most exciting aspects of being a first-year retreat leader this year is welcoming incoming scholars and making them feel at home, just like the retreat leaders did when I was coming in.

What does being a Goodnight Scholar mean to you?

Being a Goodnight Scholar is about being a member of a community whose ultimate goal is to pay it forward. Within the Program, we have opportunities to engage with communities around the area and make a difference outside of the classroom. One of my favorite programs is LEGO Brick Build because I think it shows how much our community values organizations that are making differences in people’s lives. Goodnight Scholars are not only engaged in STEM and STEM education. They are actively looking for ways to lend a helping hand and serve others around them. It is always amazing to see fellow scholars’ accomplishments and aspirations at the Goodnight Graduation Gala. It reminds me of how involved Goodnight Scholars are around campus and the world. Being advocates for STEM and STEM education, and making the world a better place, is a value I believe many scholars hold and one the Program supports.

Do you have an unforgettable memory from your time in the Program thus far?

The pure sense of community within the Goodnight Scholars Program is unforgettable in itself. Engaging with my cohort during the first-year [summer] retreat immediately connected me with other scholars and made life at NC State much easier. The addition of the lounge in the Goodnight Scholars office has also been beneficial throughout the community because of its collaborative space and availability. At any given time I can walk into the lounge and see other scholars working, talking, or relaxing with a cup of coffee. Through this Program, I have had the opportunity to meet lifelong friends and receive support to see the world from a different perspective. I have taken advantage of enrichment grants, and I am forever grateful for the opportunities this service has afforded me. I believe these experiences have shaped the way I view education and live my life. There are so many things to be involved with on campus, but getting to know fellow scholars and the professional staff has helped me find my passion for service and extending access to education for people everywhere.

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

There are so many fun things to do at NC State! I have always loved going to basketball games, so I would recommend trying to get a ticket to the game against UNC at home. PNC Arena is at its loudest when we play them. The atmosphere is amazing and the entire place is coated red. Also, if you ever have the opportunity to rush the bell tower, do that as well. Hillsborough Street was a special sight after we beat Duke at Cameron in 2017.

Where do you picture yourself after graduation?

After graduation, I picture myself staying around Raleigh and teaching mathematics at a local high school. Through my time volunteering around the community and engaging in service-learning, I would love to advocate for the importance of paying it forward to future generations. Having the position of an educator in the 21st century is about inspiring students to reach their potential and showing them how to utilize their resources to become successful in their own ways. At some point in my life, I would love to teach abroad and be engaged with the international community as well.

This article was originally published on the Goodnight Scholars Program website. 

Photography credit: Jason Perry/Goodnight Scholars Program