Two Gaston College students are selected for Goodnight Scholars Program

Two students in the Gaston College Class of 2020 have been selected for participation in the Goodnight Scholars Program at NC State University. The students are Jesus Vina Moreno, who will major in Biological Sciences, and Tyler Southward, who will study Statistics.

The Goodnight Scholars Program is a comprehensive student development program designed to develop scholars into leaders within the STEM and/or education fields. The program invests in students from low- and middle-income families in North Carolina studying in STEM or STEM education disciplines and represents a commitment to the students’ personal, professional, and academic development through scholarship funding, comprehensive programming, and enrichment opportunities. The value of the scholarship is $20,500 and is renewable up to three years for transfer students.

Each year, approximately 300 transfer applicants are invited to apply for the Goodnight Scholars Program. In 2020, 41 finalists representing 24 counties and 21 North Carolina Community Colleges participated in the Program’s interviews, which took place in early April. The interviews were conducted virtually rather than in-person this year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. From this virtual interview process, 20 students were invited to join the Transfer Class of 2023.

Student posing in front of campus building

            Jesus Vina Moreno

Moreno will graduate from Gaston College with an Associate in Science degree and a Diploma in Biotechnology. He is an accomplished participant in the College’s SPARC program, through which students get intensive STEM instruction and laboratory experiences. Moreno excelled at research projects through SPARC, and he was invited to present his research at a number of prestigious conferences. At NC State, he will Major in Biology with a minor in Psychology He plans to apply to medical school when he completes his undergraduate degree.

Upon learning that he would be a Goodnight Scholar, Moreno said, “Being selected as Goodnight Scholar is one of the best opportunities and accomplishments of my life. This means a lot to me because now I can ease my mind and get rid of all the stress and headaches caused by the uncertainty of not knowing how I will afford my education. Also, because of all the good experiences I have had in the SPARC program, I think of the Goodnight Program as much more than just a scholarship. I know that the experiences and opportunities that the Goodnight Program offers are just as important as the financial support. Now I am certain that I will be part of a team that will keep developing me as a better person every day, and having that feeling is priceless.”

Male posing outside for camera

               Tyler Southward

Southward, who will graduate with an Associate in Science degree, has been on the Gaston College President’s List every semester, and he was named the Gaston College Arts and Science Student of the Year for 2020. He was a participant in the Gaston College Scholars of Global Distinction program, which is designed to build and enhance global awareness, inspire cultural competence, stimulate personal ethical growth, and deepen intellectual inquiry at the College as well as in the larger community. The program gave him the opportunity to travel to many countries in Northern Europe. He will major in Statistics at NC State and plans to pursue a Master of Science degree, with the goal of working as a data analyst in the Research Triangle area.

“The support I received from Gaston College helped me to be accepted into the Goodnight Scholars Program at NC State,” said Southward. “Being selected as a Goodnight Scholar represents an opportunity to develop professionally, academically, personally, and as a member of society.”

About Gaston College

Gaston College is one of 58 community colleges in the North Carolina Community College System. Serving both Gaston and Lincoln counties, Gaston College enrolls approximately 8,000 students each term in curriculum programs and averages over 17,000 annually in its Economic and Workforce Development and Continuing Education programs. Gaston College offers over 100 fields of study to obtain a degree, diploma or certificate. To learn more about the College’s services and programs, visit the Gaston College website at

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