Gaston College graduate Mariana de Andrea Pereira selected as Goodnight Scholar

Gaston College graduate Mariana de Andrea Pereira selected as Goodnight Scholar
Pereira also named Associate in Science Outstanding Graduate


Gaston College graduate Mariana de Andrea Pereira will be a member of the prestigious Goodnight Scholars Program’s Transfer Class of 2024. On May 14, she graduated from the College with high honors, earning her Associate in Science degree, and she will start at NC State University in the fall.

A native of Brazil, Pereira and her father, mother, and brother moved to the United States in November 2018, and settled in Mount Holly, North Carolina. Her extended family remains in Brazil. She started at Gaston College in August 2019, selecting the school for its variety of majors, the welcoming admission staff, and its proximity to her home. She has excelled during her time at the College and has greatly impressed her instructors and everyone with whom she interacted.

In April, Pereira learned that she is one of only 25 students invited to join the NC State University Goodnight Scholars Program’s Transfer Class of 2024. The Goodnight Scholars Program is a comprehensive student development program designed to develop scholars into leaders within the STEM and/or education fields.

“The Goodnight Scholars Program, since I submitted my application, was open to listening to my aspirations, dreams, and accomplishments,” said Pereira. “Just like Gaston College, they offered me an opportunity to show my potential as an international student, and they were incredibly welcoming and engaging. Their program is full of diverse activities, and it was an honor to be selected as a candidate. Now I am a future Goodnight Scholar.”

Pereira continued, “NC State has been my first choice since 2019, but I did not believe I could afford to go to this amazing school. Being an international student, I need to pay out-of-state tuition, which makes college unaffordable for me. The Goodnight Scholars Program was my hope to continue my education, and without it I would not be able to attend NC State. They did not limit my opportunity to be part of the program due to my international conditions; instead, they welcomed me. I am immensely grateful for this more than perfect opportunity to afford college. I am willing to take this opportunity to grow, learn, and improve. It will be a privilege to join the prestigious Goodnight Scholars Program in fall 2021.”

Hard work, dedication, and determination led to Pereira’s selection as one of two students to be named Gaston College 2021 Associate in Science Outstanding Graduate.

“It was truly an honor and privilege to nominate Mariana de Andrea Pereira for the 2021 Associate in Science Outstanding Graduate award,” said Patricia Williams, Biology Instructor. “I have known Mariana for the past two years both in the classroom and as a student researcher in the Science Department. Throughout this time, I have watched her grow and excel in her courses while always bringing a smile to the face of everyone she meets. Her dedication to her studies, scientific research, and the campus community is inspiring.”

Pereira maintained a 4.0 GPA with a heavy load of science and math courses, and she was a research student on the Women’s Impact Fund Grant that was awarded in 2019 to Williams and Chemistry Instructor Dr. Virginie Maggiotti. Her accomplishments are even more remarkable because her native language is Portuguese and she has had to work hard to master the English language.”

At NC State, Pereira will initially major in Biology and intends to transfer to Biochemistry. After earning her bachelor’s degree, she will apply to medical school.

“I would like to specialize in pediatrics,” said Pereira. “My dream job is to work at a hospital, and I intend to devote my time to research to discover something that could change the lives of children and adults suffering from cancer and degenerative diseases. In addition, I plan to become a volunteer and help the community that has done so much for me.”

Her experience at Gaston College has been extremely positive. “I keep saying to my parents that if I could, I would continue my education at Gaston,” Pereira said. “I am proud to have been accepted at this community college where I was treated as a person with the capacity to thrive.”

Pereira credits the support of her teachers and her advisor with enabling her to succeed. “Ms. Dupree and Ms. Mendoza, my English teachers, helped me improve my English skills,” she said. “My science teachers, Mr. Mays, Ms. Shariat, Ms. Zieverink, and Ms. Williams, were extremely patient with my developing skills in their classes. My advisor, Alyson Jordan, was incredible. She helped me with everything, from college applications and scholarships to personal advice. But my super special thanks go to Dr. Armstrong and Dr. Maggiotti, who were my chemistry instructors. They gave me the opportunity to show my potential. My amazing experience was due to the amazing job of my teachers.”

Williams has no doubt that Pereira will meet her educational and career goals. “I know she will excel in whatever she sets out to do,” she said. “I am so proud of the amazing woman Mariana has become and I cannot wait for the rest of the world to get to know her. I know she is going to accomplish some wonderful things.”

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