Meet the Graduates
The Division of Academic and Student Affairs recognizes some standout spring 2021 graduates who have made their mark on the university through their involvement and leadership on campus, especially in DASA programs.
Thousands of graduates will be recognized at NC State’s 2021 Commencement ceremony, which will take place this Friday, May 14, and Saturday, May 15. This week, the Division of Academic and Student Affairs is recognizing some standout graduates who have been involved and served as leaders in DASA programs:
Kali Fillhart is earning an undergraduate degree in general anthropology and plans to move to Boston, where she will pursue a job in the nonprofit sector or as a political organizer. She also plans to continue playing music and writing, and says she aspires to be a singer/songwriter/drummer/poet/freelance writer who changes the world.
“The Scholars Program really broadened my horizons my freshman and sophomore years,” Fillhart said. “One of the events inspired me to take a gap year and travel the country, which foundationally changed who I am as a person. I’m a glutton for experiences, and the scholars program truly supported my desire to learn throughout my entire college career.”
Hannah Fletcher is earning undergraduate degrees in mechanical engineering and international studies. After graduation, she will travel to Livermore, California to conduct research in the additive manufacturing division at Lawrence Livermore National Labs for six months before entering Air Force pilot training in Mississippi.
At NC State, Fletcher played water polo and has been heavily involved in Air Force ROTC, where she has served in the honor guard and presented colors before NC State sporting events. She has taken multiple art classes at the Crafts Center, including pottery, woodturning and glassblowing, and she has also been a member of the choir for the Catholic Campus Ministry. She has also volunteered at the Daniels Center and with New Mind Education, where she has helped Chinese ESL students with English. Additionally, she has studied abroad three times and is a member of the University Honors as well as Benjamin Franklin Scholars programs.
“Honors really set me up well from the start,” Fletcher said. “I spent my first year at NC State living in the Honors Village and making connections with other students who have been incredibly successful in their time at NC State. By taking honors calculus, I was able to form a better relationship with my professor, which helped me get a very solid mathematical background which has served me well in engineering. Several of my honors seminars have been my most thought provoking classes, especially Race and Eugenics with Dr. Carolyn Veale, which explored race relations and the U.S. eugenics movement in the 1900s. Overall, Honors has caused me to think more critically as I engage the world around me!”
Tirrezz Hudson is earning an undergraduate degree in psychology and plans to enroll in the Ph.D. program for ethnic studies at the University of California San Diego this fall.
At NC State, he has been a member and chaplain for Uninhibited Praise Gospel Choir, a member of the Le Cercle Francais French club, a Pack Abroad ambassador, a Channel Blond member, a National Residence Hall Honorary, and a TRIO Collegiate ambassador. Hudson also participated in TRIO’s Summer Research Opportunities Program through the University of Illinois, Chicago.
“TRIO has had a monumentally positive impact on my college experience,” Hudson said. “I’m in the Ronald E. McNair program, and being a scholar in the program has pushed me to pursue research opportunities, seek out faculty mentors, and it has definitely been a major help in the graduate school application process. The research opportunities I’ve been blessed to have participated in have afforded me not only experience, but allowed me to learn about fields I had never even heard of.
“The push from the McNair program to find faculty mentors gifted me with mentorship from some of the most amazing faculty members here at State — Dr. Cryer-Coupet, Dr. Behler and Dr. Grimmett being a few of them,” Hudson said. “Being a part of TRIO has positively impacted my time here at State, and I am truly thankful I was able to be in TRIO and be able to work with the wonderful and caring staff and my fellow students in the program. It definitely prepared me for the graduate application process as well as helped me hone in on my ‘why’ for my research interests and my overall career goals. TRIO is just amazing, and I am thankful to have been able to be in the program, during my time here at NC State.”
Noah Jabusch is earning undergraduate degrees in physics and math and plans to begin working towards a Ph.D. in physics from the University of Minnesota this fall.
At NC State, he has been a member of the Society of Physics Students, a staff columnist for Technician student newspaper, and president of the Society for Undergraduate Mathematics (SUM) Club. He has also been in the University Honors Program.
“The primary way I feel the Honors program has helped me is teaching me how to question even ‘authoritative’ sources like class readings, as well as value my own perspective on a topic. Going into physics research, pushing back on results you find questionable is a key component of the job and moving science forward, so I’m immensely grateful to my time in honors seminars and doing capstone research for helping me with this skill.”
Travis Newton is earning a master’s degree in geospatial information science and technology, and he will begin a summer internship with Esri’s Global Health Team following graduation. Upon completing the program, he hopes to stay in the geospatial health industry and work with the federal government.
At NC State, Newton has been highly involved in Military and Veteran Services programming. He is an ambassador for the College of Natural Resources and the NC State Veteran’s Association as well as a member of the Geospatial Graduate Student Organization.
“The military taught me the perseverance to overcome the impossible,” Newton said. “I’m the first person in my family to achieve a master’s degree. Veteran students face different challenges than the average, fresh out of high school student, and our NC State Veteran Association does a fantastic job enabling success.”
Jenny Ngo is earning an undergraduate degree in psychology, plans to enroll in a master’s program for PA studies, and ultimately wants to work in the healthcare field.
At NC State, she has been involved in Fraternity and Sorority Life, the Pack Ambassadors Program, the Counseling Center’s Mental Health Ambassadors Program, and as an undergraduate research assistant for psychology professor John Begeny. She has also been involved with TRIO Collegiate.
“TRIO is AMAZING! The advisors have really prepared me for what’s next and have kept me on track to pursue my future endeavors,” Ngo said. “TRIO had various professional development workshops that helped me through all four years of my undergraduate career. The advisors were readily available to answer any questions when I needed it. TRIO has not only assisted me academically, but helped me through some pretty tough financial situations because of COVID-19 and guided me to the right resources. Without TRIO, I probably would have been so lost!”
Sasha Pereira is earning an undergraduate degree in zoology. After graduation, she plans to enter the workforce for a year or two before enrolling in graduate school, and this fall she will work as a research technician for the Wyoming Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit in Jackson, Wyoming, next to the Grand Tetons. In that role, she will assist in a project studying the role that ground-fed streams play in the reproduction of Snake River cutthroat trout.
At NC State, Pereira has been in the University Honors Program and has conducted extensive undergraduate research in topics like aquatic ecology, environmental justice and equity in environmental education. She has held leadership roles with the Student Fisheries Society, Environmental Student Association and Service Raleigh Planning Committee. She is also in the Doris Duke Conservation Scholars Program, a two-year scholarship program for underrepresented students with an interest in environmental conservation and diversity, equity and inclusivity. She was also the recipient of a 2021 Matthews Medal.
“As a STEM major, having the opportunity to learn about the human dimensions side of conservation through Honors seminars like ‘Nature Writing in North Carolina and Beyond’ has been an invaluable experience that will benefit me in graduate school and beyond,” Pereira said. “My participation in the UHP has taught me the value of incorporating interdisciplinarity into all components of the research process, from brainstorming ideas to drawing conclusions from collected data. It has also facilitated my personal and professional development as an agent of change and furthered my commitment to making education more accessible through the formation of authentic, collaborative partnerships with community organizations.”
April Sharp is earning an undergraduate degree in environmental sciences and plans to start graduate school in NC State’s biology Ph.D. program this fall.
So far in her time at NC State, Sharp has been involved in the Women in Science and Engineering Program as a mentor and co-president of the student council, the College of Natural Resources’ Student Ambassador Program, as an undergraduate researcher through the Office of Undergraduate Research, and as an assistant for the University Honors and Scholars Forum.
“My experiences in the University Scholars Program has helped me to become a more inquisitive and engaged student and individual,” Sharp said.
Gillian Torr is earning an undergraduate degree in applied nutrition, and plans to attend graduate school at the University of Kentucky, where she will pursue a master’s degree in kinesiology and exercise physiology. She will also work as a graduate assistant overseeing the university’s entire personal training department.
At NC State, she has worked as a program assistant for Wellness and Recreation as well as a certified personal trainer, group fitness instructor and F45 coach. She also received the Division of Academic and Student Affairs’ Howling Success Award earlier this year for her outstanding work with Wellness and Recreation and its COVID-19 response.
“Wellness and Recreation has probably had the biggest impact on my future career goals, and it’s given me a lot of skills that I can bring with me to Kentucky,” Torr said. “My mentors here have been nothing but supportive of everything that I want to do later on in my career. My time working here has really shown me where my passions lie, and it’s brought me to sort of where I want to go career-wise. I’m hoping to stay in health and fitness for many years to come and continue to help people strive to be the best versions of themselves and continue to live a healthy lifestyle.”