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Meet Our Incoming Students: 3 of Our Newest Transformational Scholars

This is part of a “Meet Our Incoming Students” series in which the College of Education will introduce some of its first-year, transfer and graduate students who will join us this fall.

This fall, 16 students will join the inaugural cohort of the NC State College of Education’s Transformational Scholarships Program.  

The Transformational Scholarships Program provides scholarships totaling $40,000 over four years to promising high school students from Eastern North Carolina who will return to the region to teach after graduating from NC State College of Education. The program was made possible due to a generous charitable grant from the Anonymous Trust.

Meet three of the Transformational Scholars who will join the NC State College of Education this fall, including this year’s Dianne Carver Lawing Scholarship recipient.

Jahzar Fields

Wilmington, North Carolina

Middle Grades English Language Arts and Social Studies Education

Hobbies and Interests: Going to the gym, enjoying art and music and watching football.

Why did you choose NC State University and the NC State College of Education?

I chose NC State and their College of Education because I saw it as providing the most significant help and support I need to achieve my goals and dreams.

What does it mean to you to be named a Transformational Scholar?

[Transformational Scholarships Program director] Trisha Mackey played a major role in me feeling comfortable and proud to be a Transformational Scholar. At first, it was unbelievable to have such a title and be recognized for the work I want to put into the field, and now It feels like such an accomplishment and pleasure. I can’t stop thanking the people who brought me here.

Receiving this scholarship reduces the financial burden I would have to carry in order to pay for school. To put it into perspective, I am a low-income student, and college did not look to be in my future and most likely would not be without scholarships and opportunities like this one.

What impact do you hope to make on Eastern North Carolina? 

I want to become a teacher to be able to provide the necessary and best quality of education to students who receive unequal access to this top-tier education, the students, like me, who get school funding based on their zip code and students who face burdens that they did not choose nor want. The best way I could ensure to my full ability that the students like this could achieve the best out of their education is for me to be there. Before I am able to give them my best, I need to gather and learn as much as I can for them and myself. 

How will receiving this scholarship impact your student experience?

I think the scholarship will positively impact my student experience. It gives me a community of friends within the College of Education and that can make college more enjoyable.

What are you most looking forward to this year?

I’m looking forward to the social life of the college, the independence, and, of course, the new experiences. 

What inspired you to become a teacher and choose education? 

My teachers and mentors inspired me to become a teacher. The situations and experiences I lived through are what inspired me to be a teacher.

I chose education because I believe that in order for us as a people or society to grow and improve it has to start with the generation behind us. They have to be well equipped for the task in front of them and I want to help ensure that for them.

Meghan Larson

Fairmont, North Carolina

Science Education

Hobbies and Interests: Dance, camp ministry and working on my truck.

Why did you choose your major?

In high school, I had this amazing biology teacher who encouraged me a lot and made me love the subject.

Why did you choose NC State University and the NC State College of Education?

I chose NC State because of a scholarship opportunity. I never thought about going to NC State, but the more I looked into it, the more it felt like my future home. The College of Education stood out to me because of the staff and the statistics of the programs.

What does it mean to you to be named a Transformational Scholar?

To me, being a Transformational Scholar means that a girl from a small town can do anything she puts her mind to. Receiving this scholarship provided me with a way to afford and accomplish my dreams. I can’t wait to show everyone that I can change the education dynamic in Eastern North Carolina, and that the girl from Robeson County can do something incredible.

What impact do you hope to make on eastern North Carolina?

I want to work in low-income communities like the one that I’m from to give those students the opportunities I didn’t have as a kid. I want to bring new perspectives and ideas to the schools that will bring teachers and students together. My ultimate goal is to become a principal and to make my community excited to send their children to my school.

How will receiving this scholarship impact your student experience?

Receiving this scholarship gives me the opportunity to attend NC State and to get the education I’ve been working for. Being a Transformational Scholar gives me the opportunity to study abroad and get hands-on experience as a freshman. My team of scholars are some of the best people I know, and I’m so honored to be working with them and [Transformational Scholarships Program director] Trisha Mackey. I couldn’t be more excited. 

What are you most looking forward to this year?

I’m super excited to meet new people and start my career path as a member of the Students Advocating for Youth (SAY) Village. I’m from a small community, so I’m also super excited to explore the city and experience the campus life and all of the new cultures. 

What inspired you to become a teacher and choose education? 

I’ve always wanted to work in education. When I was at my kindergarten graduation, I said that I wanted to be a principal when I grew up. When I was in high school, I had this amazing art teacher, Steven Taylor, who always encouraged me to never give up on my dreams and showed me everyday that it was worth it to teach. I also started working at CBM Camp Grace, which is a summer camp in my hometown, when I was 14. Every year, it further drives my passion to work with kids, and I love every second of it.

Grace Liu

Greenville, North Carolina

Elementary Education

Hobbies and Interests: Eating/cooking, listening to music, watching TV, social media, volunteering and art.

Why did you choose NC State University and the NC State College of Education?

I chose NC State because it is just a wonderful university overall, and it is somewhere I know I will be happy at for the next four years of my life. I chose the NC State College of Education because I’ve always wanted to fulfill my childhood dream of becoming a teacher.

Why did you choose your major?

I’ve always wanted to become a teacher, and I adore kids. After volunteering and interning with children and thinking about it, I decided that elementary education would be the best fit for me.

What does it mean for you to be a Transformational Scholar?

It means a lot to me. Besides the large amount of scholarship money being so helpful, I’m very happy and honored to be named a Transformational Scholar because it proves to me that I’m capable of making a difference. It also means that my hard work paid off to be able to get into the program.

What impact do you hope to make on Eastern North Carolina?

I hope to become a well-known and influential teacher in Eastern North Carolina.

What does it mean to you to receive the Dianne Carver Lawing Scholarship

I’m very grateful to have received the Dianne Carver Lawing Scholarship because it symbolizes the importance of first-generation college students majoring in education. It positively pushes me to strive as a scholarship recipient, first-generation college student and education major. 

How will receiving scholarship support impact your student experience?

It will ease my worries of having to pay so much for college. I’ll be able to focus more on my college education and life.

What are you most looking forward to this year?

I’m most looking forward to making new friends and the fun events at NC State that I’ve always wanted to attend.

What inspired you to become a teacher and choose education? 

Since elementary school, my answer for, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” was always: “A teacher.” I always admired the way teachers used Dry-Erase markers to write on the board, passed out papers, graded papers, stood in the front of the room with a pointer, decorated their classroom, etc. I also used to make my younger brother play “pretend classroom” with me, and, of course, I acted like the teacher, and he was the student. When it came time to decide on a major for college, the only thing I could think of was teaching, so here I am.