Graduate Bryce Scott receives prestigious scholarship to N.C. State

Published on: July 1, 2022
Bryce Scott speaks at the 2022 GTCC commencement ceremony.
Bryce Scott speaks at the 2022 GTCC commencement ceremony.

Just when Bryce Scott thought his goal of becoming an astronaut would not happen through N.C. State University, the Goodnight Scholars Program put him back on track.

Scott, a 2022 graduate of Guilford Technical Community College, was awarded a full scholarship by the Goodnight Scholars Program for his remaining undergraduate studies.

The Goodnight Scholars Program prepares North Carolina's top STEM talent to become transformational leaders at N.C. State University, in North Carolina, and the world.

Scott, who is from South Africa, but attended GTCC after coming to the United States on an F-1 or student visa, said the scholarship is life-changing for him and his family.

"What this means to me directly is the impact it has on my family," Scott said. "From a financial point of view, you can't understand how big this is. The financial situation we are in, my mom and dad were using retirement funds, and I thought that was incredibly unfair. Now that they don't have to do that, they can retire happily without paying for another five or 10 years. It releases the financial stress for everyone in the family."

The value of the scholarship is $22,000 and is renewable for up to four years for first-year students, and three years for transfer students. Applicants must have graduated from a North Carolina community college or high school.

Bryce wasn't aware of the Goodnight Scholars Program until a few months ago, and as promising as it sounded, he didn't think he would be eligible. Anyone applying for the scholarship must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Scott said you must be a U.S. citizen to submit a FAFSA, and obviously he didn't qualify.

Scott had all-but-decided to continue his education at North Carolina A&T University to pursue an engineering degree and to figure a way to move into an aerospace program after that to reach his dream of becoming an astronaut.

Then a GTCC instructor reached out to him with good news.

"One of my professors found out in the Goodnight application there is a section for self-nomination where you can list any extenuating circumstances. Because I can't fill out FAFSA, I wouldn't come up on a list of eligible candidates. I self-nominated and said to them '‘this is why I can't do this.'''

His application was accepted, and it wasn't long after that he was accepted into the Goodnight Program.

That was the beginning of an arduous process. There were essays and interviews, more forms to complete, more essays to write and tours of the N.C. State campus that included an hours-long interview.

"Throughout the whole process, I really put a lot of time and effort into it. In my essays, I had my entire extended family and professors read them. I took it very seriously. I went through a mock interview with professors. One had been a Goodnight Scholar himself," said Scott, who is spending the summer back home in South Africa with his family.

Scott said once he received notice of winning the scholarship, he wrote a thank-you letter to the Goodnight family explaining his pathway to N.C. State and how important the scholarship was to him.

"I told them about living my dream of going to N.C. State. My cousin from South Africa went there and told me about it. I want to be an astronaut, and once I found out they had an aerospace program and they had a student who had become an astronaut, I knew I had to go there," Scott said.

If not for GTCC and its caring, compassionate staff members, Scott says he would not be headed to Raleigh and N.C. State in the fall.

"GTCC has given me every class I needed to get to this point," Scott said. "Everyone was always so ready to help. All the faculty and staff were so ready to help me. They were so supportive, and it always felt genuine."

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