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Two RCCC students named N.C. State Goodnight Scholars

SALISBURY – Rowan-Cabarrus Community College graduates Kierstyn Buchanan and Isaac Mayle have been selected to receive the prestigious Goodnight Scholarship at North Carolina State University. The Goodnight Scholars program assists high-achieving students in science, technology, engineering and math fields.

Buchanan and Mayle were among 20 North Carolina community college students selected as Goodnight Transfer Scholars from a field of 297 applicants, after a selection process that included interviews with university faculty, staff, alumni and industry representatives from SAS Institute and the Kenan Fellows Program. Recipients were selected based on academics, extracurriculars, community engagement, and goals for success in STEM fields.

The Goodnight Scholarship is valued at $20,500 per year for up to three years for transfer students, covering tuition, fees and housing. Students also receive access to a comprehensive development program that includes weekly programming, exclusive travel opportunities, and enrichment grant funding.

“Rowan-Cabarrus helped me find myself,” Buchanan said. “When I first came to the campus, I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do as a career. It was only after being able to take many different kinds of classes that I finally settled on pursuing a computer science degree. Being chosen as a Goodnight Scholar really surprised me, and I’m very grateful for the opportunities that it will provide.”

Buchanan, who earned her Associate in Science degree from Rowan-Cabarrus in May 2019, returned to take additional classes under the Associate in Engineering pathway before transferring to a four-year institution. Serving as a math tutor in the College’s Tutoring Center helped her grow both socially and professionally, and she also was a member of the Rowan-Cabarrus High Altitude Balloon Team.

“The Goodnight Scholarship is a dream come true, and I owe much of my success to the faculty and staff who inspired me, encouraged me and believed in me,” Mayle said, who graduated in May with an associate of engineering degree said. “I have had a love for science, space and engineering for as long as I can remember, but I was not sure I would actually be able to go to college and pursue the career I have always wanted.”

At RCC, Mayle supplemented his studies by participating in many campus events and volunteer activities. He was chosen for the College’s prestigious Ambassador program, where he served as a liaison with students and the community, and was a member of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society and the Rowan-Cabarrus High Altitude Balloon Team.

Last summer, Mayle represented Rowan-Cabarrus as a NASA Community College Aerospace Scholar and traveled to Kennedy Space Center for an onsite experience with community college students from across the United States. Participants were able to tour the space center, interact with NASA engineers, collaborate on projects, and gain hands-on exposure to engineering career possibilities.

The Goodnight Scholars program was established in 2008 by N.C. State alumni Jim and Ann Goodnight, with the goal of providing financial assistance to North Carolina students from low and middle-income families who wish to pursue STEM fields. In 2017, the scholarship expanded to include transfer students from North Carolina community colleges who plan to enroll in N.C. State after earning an associate degree.

“Kierstyn and Isaac are two of our shining stars. We are extremely proud, but not at all surprised, that they rose to the top in the very competitive selection process for the Goodnight Scholarship,” said RCCC President Carol  Spalding said.

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