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Student Success

Three Spring 2024 Graduates Earn UHP’s Alex Miller Outstanding Student Award

The three UHP Alex Miller Outstanding Student Award winners for Spring 2024, pictured from left, Krupa Bharodiya, Brooke Cox and Elizabeth Poinsette.
The three UHP Alex Miller Outstanding Student Award winners for Spring 2024, pictured from left, Krupa Bharodiya, Brooke Cox and Elizabeth Poinsette.

Every May and December, during each of its graduating senior recognition ceremonies, the University Honors Program (UHP) recognizes one or more students from the graduating cohort that have exhibited a significant commitment to the University Honors Program (and former University Scholars Program) and its students. These are students that have had a real impact on the program, and left it better than they found it.

The Alex Miller Outstanding Student Award honors the founding director of the original University Scholars Program, a program that began in 1979 and only recently merged with the University Honors Program in the Fall of 2022 to create a single university-wide program to provide enrichment opportunities and academic challenges for incoming high-achieving students.

Alex Miller led the University Scholars Program from its inception until his retirement in 2014. Recipients of his name-sake award exhibit a significant commitment to on- and off-campus engagement, a passion for discovery, a spirit of exploration, and a desire to be active, informed and engaged citizens that lean into difficult conversations and seek to promote positive change.

This spring, Krupa Bharodiya and Brooke Cox of the University Honors Program and Elizabeth Poinsette of the University Scholars Program were honored with the Alex Miller Outstanding Student Award.

Bharodiya, a newly-minted business administration graduate with minors in environmental science and political science, was recently featured as an Honors Program student spotlight for her active engagement both with the UHP and off campus in public service.

As a University Honors Fellow, Bharodiya made an impact on the Honors Program by building community between first year students in their Honors Seminars and teaching her own 1 credit hour Honors course focused on personal wellness.

“The Honors Program enriched my academic and personal growth, giving me the confidence and skills to pursue my goals and make a positive impact on the world!” Bharodiya said.

For Bharodiya, getting involved on campus was all about embracing the full college experience. “It’s not just about attending classes; it’s about growing as a person and building a community. Getting involved helps you step out of your comfort zone, try new things, and meet people who can become lifelong friends.”

Bharodiya’s parting words of wisdom for Honors students are these: “Involvement is key because it helps develop essential skills like leadership, teamwork, and communication. I really think that being active on campus makes your college years more enriching and memorable.”

Now that she has graduated, Bharodiya plans to continue her dedication to public service by pursuing opportunities in the non-profit sector, particularly in human rights advocacy.

Cox majored in environmental science and minored in history. As the selected student speaker for the University Honors Program recognition ceremony, Cox credits the Honors Program with continuing to provide her with “life altering experiences” again and again.

Cox attributes her early involvement in the UHP with her choice to live in the Honors Village her freshman year. She experienced a few wonderful, all-too-short weeks making friends in the village before having to quickly evacuate campus in August of 2020 due to the pandemic.

Cox then felt disconnected from the program, so she applied to become a University Honors Program Ambassador. Upon accepting the position she was thrilled to find a new community of friends and coworkers to help with Program activities and get more involved. She quickly took an interest in recruitment activities, such as speaking and tabling at University Open House and Experience NC State days, because she enjoyed engaging with prospective students and their families. From there she took on the additional role of running information sessions for incoming new students via Zoom throughout the entirety of the Spring 2024 semester.

During her second year, after struggling with anxiety for an entire semester, Cox made what, at the time for her, was a very scary decision: to study abroad with the Honors Program in Florence, Italy.

“I had been missing out on memories with my friends because I could not overcome my worries and fears around the outside world,” she said. “When I studied abroad, however, I was suddenly thrown into the deep end of leaving the country for the first time and navigating life in Italy. Thanks to the community and resources provided by the Honors Program, I thrived. My study abroad experience did more than just expose me to incredible art, food, and culture and give me something to brag about the entirety of my junior year. It taught me that I was strong enough to handle anything the world threw my way.”

Cox wholeheartedly believes that getting involved on campus is one of the most important things you can do as an undergraduate student.

“Community is the only way to persevere through difficult situations. The community you find on campus will be your support through difficult classes, growing up, and getting ready for your next stage of life!”

Cox acknowledges that making an effort to be involved can be challenging, especially when students are encouraged to do well academically, maintain a home and social life, and balance any other responsibilities they may have.

She shared, however, that the most valuable aspect of the Honors Program, in her opinion, is the community its students, staff, and faculty provide to those who put forth the effort to seek it out.

“The Honors Program is so much more than a line item on a resume, or an extra charge on your NC State bill. It is a vibrant community that has the capacity to change students’ lives.”

This fall, Cox will be attending the University of Arizona to pursue her Masters in Geography, where she hopes to conduct research on the environmental justice impacts of flood risk.

Poinsette graduated in May with her degree in industrial and systems engineering, having minored in supply chain engineering and Spanish. She has been a long-running student employee of the UHP, serving as an Office Assistant for five years and an Honors Ambassador for four. “I was looking for a job on campus that would allow me to stay close to the community while also branching out.”

“The role of the ambassador allowed me to share my passion for the Honors and Scholars Program and check in with how students were managing their studies,” Poinsette said. “I was able to curate activities and share the struggles and successes of the students with the staff to make the program more adaptable… I enjoyed sharing my passion for the arts and exploring through the various theater and outdoor activities I got to lead.”

Involvement on campus allows students to get to know the various NC State communities better and build a good support system for themselves. Poinsette recommends that students “choose one group to stay consistent with throughout all your semesters, as the [UHP] was for me, and then try other clubs from year to year. I am a passionate learner so I joined clubs like triathlon, kickboxing, theater, and choir in different semesters in order to make sure I didn’t overcommit myself… You may never discover a hidden passion until you explore all your options.”

“I was able to make my college experience to be more than just studying through my involvement. I would leave the following advice: Don’t chase the grade, chase the life experiences. There is always more time to do work, but spending time with friends and your passions will benefit you more in the long run.”

Poinsette is moving to Marietta, Georgia to work for Lockheed Martin in their Operations Leadership Development Program (OLDP), a three-year rotational program. Her first role will be in Supply Chain working as a Program Operations Integrator.