Franklin Scholar Expands STEM Focus with International Studies Degree

NC State ranks among Forbes magazine’s top higher education institutions specializing in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). This academic excellence attracted Gibsonville native Andrea Irving to the university, and opened doors for her to pursue her interest in chemical engineering.

She added a major in international studies and minors in Spanish and Chinese to expand the depth and breadth of her studies. Irving’s double major allowed her to pursue a joint degree from the College of Humanities and Social Sciences and from Engineering as a Benjamin Franklin Scholar.

Irving received a boost of support from the Goodnight Scholars Program, which provides financial aid for students from middle-income North Carolina families pursuing science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) and education disciplines. “It was extremely gratifying to be selected for such a great program,” she said. “Knowing that the program had chosen to invest in me greatly influenced the way I approached my classes and coursework.

“The Goodnight Scholars program gave me the opportunity to focus on my studies rather than the financial component of college. Through this and the Benjamin Franklin Scholars Program, I’ve been able to open new doors in my academic career and participate in multiple study abroad trips.”

Irving traveled to both Seoul, South Korea, and Zhejiang University in Hangzhou, China, to conduct research and further round out her college experience. She has since paid it forward to others in the Goodnight Scholars Program by mentoring incoming scholars.

“Interacting with younger Goodnight Scholars was an even exchange,” she said. “These people [Goodnight Scholars] are incredibly talented and hardworking, and are very aware of the opportunity they have been given. My entire time in the program has been a very humbling experience.”

Following graduation, Irving planned to join Armstrong Flooring in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, as an engineer in the company’s rotational program.

“I’m excited about taking this step, and feel that NC State and the Goodnight Scholars Program prepared me for my career path,” she said. “Through getting connected to the community that the program provided, I was able to make great friends and reach my goals.”

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this profile, by Emily Packard, appeared in “Celebrating Scholarship” on the NC State Provost’s news site.

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