West Johnston High senior Chris Lerma and South Johnston High senior Jessica Autry will join the North Carolina State University class of 2021 as Park Scholars.
The new class was selected from a record-setting pool of 2,150 applicants from 42 states and 97 of North Carolina’s 100 counties, according to the university.
The mission of the Park Scholarships program is to bring exceptional students to NC State, based on outstanding accomplishments and potential in scholarship, leadership, service, and character. The program develops and supports Park Scholars in these areas, preparing them for lifelong contributions to the campus, state, nation, and world.
Lerma, who plans to study engineering, looks forward to his Park Scholar experience.
“I feel like it will definitely become a sort of catalyst to achieve my dreams,” Lerma said. “The financial aspect of it is great, but I really enjoyed the community I had with all of the other Park members I have met and that will strengthen me in being able to succeed in my career path.”
Lerma is the president of the WJHS Science Olympiad team, senior class representative, and an active member of the National Honor Society. He is also co-founder and leader of the All Stars STEM Club, is initiating a student-led Spanish Interpretation team, and maintains his high school’s recycling program.
Autry plans to major in animal science. She is the president of SJHS’s FFA chapter, is a member of the National Honor Society, and a member of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society at Johnston Community College.
“I am so honored to receive this scholarship, and I cannot thank everyone enough for their gracious help and support,” said Autry. “I am very excited to begin my journey at North Carolina State University!”
The scholarship includes tuition, fees, room and board, books, supplies, travel, and grants to fund professional and personal enrichment experiences such as research, service activities, and conferences, according to the university.