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Goodnight Spotlight: Gerardo Morado

As a transfer student, senior Gerardo Morado T’22 overcame the challenge of making friends at NC State by joining lots of extracurricular activities, including becoming a Chancellor’s Aide, going on an alternative service break, and continuing his passion as a STEM promoter. Read our Goodnight Spotlight for Gerardo’s reflection on his last 3 years at NC State, and what his biggest takeaways and memories will be come graduation in two weeks.

Goodnight Scholars Program: Tell us about yourself!

My name is Gerardo Morado. I received my Associate’s degree in Engineering from Wake Technical Community College in 2019; I am now a senior double majoring in Industrial & Systems Engineering and Economics at NC State. I come from a small town known as Elm City, here in North Carolina. However, I would also consider Ahuacatlan de Guadalupe my hometown. It’s a small pueblo in Queretaro, Mexico, from where my family originates. Being able to visit my family there has taught me a lot about our Mexican heritage and traditions that are unique to that region. Even though I am grateful for living in the U.S. and receiving an education here, experiencing my family’s culture in Mexico has truly been a blessing. If one cannot visit their parents’ home country, I still encourage them to embrace their culture. Culture is a beautiful thing that parents can pass on to their children. I strive to keep it alive by sharing it with my friends and loved ones.

This past year you have been a part of the Chancellor’s Aide Program! What has this experience been like for you, and how does someone get involved with that program?

The Chancellor’s Aide Program has been a fun and inspirational experience. It’s fun because you get to assist the Chancellor at exciting events like football games, basketball games, and receptions. The receptions always serve fantastic food which you get to enjoy with other Chancellor’s Aides or NC State alumni. Other fun aspects are transporting guests on golf carts or getting free Howling Cow ice cream. 

I’ve also found this program inspirational because you get to meet NC State donors and alumni and listen to all their wonderful accomplishments. They credit NC State for opening opportunities that they otherwise wouldn’t have had. So, they pay it forward by starting new scholarships or make contributions to new buildings on campus. While I don’t have the funds to start my own scholarship,  hearing from the donors inspires me to give back to the community in smaller ways: community outreach, volunteering, service trips, and student organizations. If you have the chance to join the Chancellor’s Aide Program definitely give it a try. I heard about the program from Allison, a Goodnight pro staff. However, anyone can apply or reach out to one of the Chancellor’s Aide staff for questions. 

Although COVID impacted a couple years of your time at NC State, you were still able to luckily travel to the Dominican Republic for an Alternative Service Break! Can you explain what an Alternative Service Break is and what you did during your time in the Dominican Republic?

An Alternative Service Break is a program at NC State where students and faculty lead service trips during winter or spring break. They have a lot of trips that one can apply to, for instance it can be international like mine to the Dominican Republic or within the country like in Philadelphia. For my trip we went to Monte Cristi, Dominican Republic and there I served as a teacher for a local school founded by Outreach360. 

During my time there, I and other NC State volunteers taught English, Math, and Spanish Literacy. Every morning I got to wake up to a view of the beautiful ocean then start teaching class on a nice warm day, during winter. Although I am an introvert, I had a great time teaching the kids. Usually being around so many people all at once can be very exhausting for me, but they brought so much energy and excitement to the classroom that I forgot I was tired. What kept me motivated during the trip was seeing the students’ efforts in the classroom and knowing that alumni from that school have actually taken their education further to study at college or university. I believe that this is how service truly becomes effective, when you not only provide a temporary service but also establish sustainability and have a long lasting effect on the community. 

You have been a STEM promoter for the North Carolina Society of Hispanic Professionals since being at Wake Tech and have continued that involved during your three years at NCSU. Can you explain what you do in this role, and what this involvement means to you?

As a STEM promoter for this organization we reach out to the Hispanic community of North Carolina and share information and opportunities for Hispanic students to get involved in STEM. Sometimes we host events at local schools, colleges, or even drive long distances to reach community in the outskirts, like Hickory, NC. Being an ISE student at NC State I rarely see other Hispanic students in the classroom. And I understand because growing up we don’t see many Hispanics going into STEM careers. Personally, I come from a family of immigrant farmworkers so all that I knew about was tobacco, sweet potato, and cucumber. I never would thought to see myself in the College of Engineering. So, pursuing engineering and being a STEM promoter allows me to serve as a role model for the Hispanic students that perhaps think that they can’t receive a STEM education because of their background. 

What was your experience like being a transfer student into NC State, and what would your advice be to a future transfer student?

I think Wake Tech prepared me well academically for my transition to NC State. But I immediately noticed the difference in class size. I found that it was easier to make friends at Wake Tech than at NC State. However, I was able to fix it by getting involved in different extra curriculars at State. I made friends through recreational sports and programs like Goodnight, Chancellor’s Aide, and Alternative Service Break. So, I would say for future transfer students, don’t hesitate to get involved or reach out to clubs may interest you. Initially I felt like I didn’t belong at State being a transfer but now I’m proud to be part of the Wolfpack.

What has being in the Goodnight Scholars Program the last 3 years meant to you? What will be your biggest takeaways come May and graduation?

Being part of the Goodnight Scholars Program has been one of the greatest gifts I have received in my life. It’s not just a scholarship, it’s a family. I thank this family for helping shape me into the strong individual that I am now. The program has taught me how to be professional, respect others, and stay true to my values. It has taught me that there are greater things above ourselves like serving others or paying it forward. I came into this program thinking I would be an ordinary student just trying to get by. But this family has taught me how to be extraordinary in all sorts of ways. I don’t have to invent the world’s greatest technology to be extraordinary in everyone’s eyes. I can be extraordinary in my own ways by serving my community, pursuing my passion, and accomplishing my goals.