Gaston College student Damian Nikolov selected as NC State Goodnight Scholar

Damian Nikolov, a member of the Gaston College Class of 2024 has been selected to participate in the Goodnight Scholars program at NC State.

Damian graduated from Highland School of Technology in 2022. At that time, he was unsure of the academic path he wanted to take, but he felt that Gaston College would be a good place for him to explore his options at an affordable rate of tuition. He gravitated toward an associate in science curriculum and became a participant in the SPARC Scholars program. The scholarship he was granted through SPARC alleviated Damian’s financial concerns and allowed him to focus on academics and take advantage of the program’s other benefits. “SPARC funding provided enrichment opportunities such as trips to study marine biology in the Florida Keys, the history of the American space race at the Kennedy Space Center, and campus visits for potential transfer destinations,” Damian said. “In fact, my nomination from SPARC to attend the S-STEM Research Conference in Washington, D.C., led to my first experience with flying on a commercial aircraft.

“SPARC’s Gaston College mentors and faculty work with student scholars on projects and assist with planning our future paths,” he continued. “They nurture an environment where students are confident with asking any question or expressing any concern that might otherwise seem unusual or unimportant.”

The College’s Writing Center was also an excellent resource for Damian, especially as he was applying to NC State and for the Goodnight Scholarship. “The instructors at the Writing Center have been kind and patient and always ensured that my responses were concise, clear, and reflected my personality,” he said.

At NC State, Damian’s top college choice, he will major in biological sciences with a concentration on cellular molecular developmental science. He wants to enter an MD/Ph.D. program and intends to pursue a career where he can work in a clinical setting so he can help people through research.

The Goodnight Scholars program, which is designed to develop scholars into leaders within the STEM and/or education fields, provides generous scholarship funding that will relieve the financial burden of a college education and give Damian the opportunity to meet diverse people and to expand his horizons through travel and research.

Another Gaston College student, Holly Truong, also has been named a Goodnight Scholar and is a semifinalist for the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship. Winners of that scholarship will be announced in May.

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