Student Success: Jennifer Vaughn

The University Honors Program is built for and by every member. The Seniors have the task of being role models to every class after them and one who takes this duty with unparalleled enthusiasm is Jennifer Vaughn, known to everyone as Jenny.

Jenny is a Senior is civil engineering dedicated to helping people in the community through the use of her major.

“On campus, I have worked with volunteer organizations such as the Daniel Center and Habitat for Humanity, which has allowed me to give back through the major I love.” Within the Quad, Jenny participated in the societies and was the Honors Fellow for Cultural Exploration for two years. In this position, she led meaningful discussions about all aspects of culture from romance to children’s books. Outside of the Quad, she is involved in the geotechnical engineering journal club and conducts research in Microbial Calcite Precipitation (MCP). She explained, “the process [MCP] uses bacteria to precipitate calcite between soil particles which effectively changes sand to sandstone.

Our research is intended to help stabilize coastal roadbed, and reduce damage during natural disasters and wear over time.” All of this, and her free time spent playing with soil and concrete has helped pave the path for her desired career.

When asked about her reasons for joining the UHP she named family tradition. Her two sisters preceded her to NC State and both participated in the Honors Program. She notes, “I remember coming here for sleepovers when I was younger and just being enveloped by such a warm environment.” It was this environment along with the promise of “diverse seminars” and the networking with professors that made the UHP so enticing. Jenny did not stop there, though. She notes how once she entered the program, students and faculty within it are what pushed her to pursue fields outside of her original intention. This led her to publish art in the Windhover literary arts magazine and take on minors in English and Soil Science. She states that one of the positive forms of exposure was discussing research with friends.

“I remember coming here for sleepovers when I was younger and just being enveloped by such a warm environment.”

These interactions showed her the world of academia outside of her initial efficient plan of operation for college. Even in her senior year, Jenny is exploring new topics through these same avenues by meeting new students as excited about their majors as she is about hers. She also notes how the amazing societies and lecture series available via the honors program and across campus allow her and other to be engaged and exposed to other viewpoints.

When asked about what she thought has been the most impactful experience Jenny answered, “leading Cultural Explorations”. She expands upon this by saying, “I had the opportunity to organize events, work through discussion topics, and interact with one of the most amazing groups of people. These people have enriched my life with different knowledge and perspectives and I am incredibly grateful for that. It is an experience I don’t take for ‘granite’.” (Jenny enjoys rock puns.)