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Student Success

Park Scholar Isaac Drown Talks About His Journey to NC State

Photo by Kristen Fontana

Isaac Drown, a freshman studying parks, recreation and tourism management at the College of Natural Resources, is one of 42 NC State students to be named to the 27th class of Park Scholars

Founded in 1996, the Park Scholars program aims to bring “extraordinary students to NC State based on remarkable achievements and promise in leadership,” issuing four-year scholarships to both in-state and out-of-state students.  

Drown, a North Carolina native, graduated from West Johnston High School in 2022. He served as vice president and percussion captain of the band, as well as swim team captain. Drown is an Eagle Scout and member of the Order of the Arrow. 

We recently spoke with Drown about his journey to the College of Natural Resources and the impact he hopes to make through his work in the Park Scholars program. Check out the Q&A below to learn more.

What does being a Park Scholar mean to you?

The Park Scholarships program is based on four pillars: scholarship, leadership, service and character. To me, being a Park Scholar means applying these concepts to my academic endeavors, interactions with others, and everyday life in general. 

What motivated you to excel throughout high school? 

While I experienced some of the same external motivators many high school students face (i.e. grades, parental pressure, getting into college), I was motivated to do my best by some great teachers and faculty who were invested in me and opened up new opportunities to help me succeed.

Which of your accomplishments have meant the most to you so far? 

Pinpointing a particular accomplishment is difficult, but I would say earning my Eagle Scout is a high point for me. While it isn’t necessarily an academic accomplishment, I feel like the scouting program was a large part of my childhood, taught me so much, and has molded me into the person I am today.

Why did you choose the College of Natural Resources for your undergraduate education? 

I chose the College of Natural Resources for my undergraduate education because I immediately noticed the investment in their students. I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to meet with some of the college’s faculty right before I committed to NC State, and their expertise and enthusiasm is what attracted me to the College of Natural Resources.

What are some of your goals for the next four years?

Over the next four years I obviously want to learn as much as I can in the classroom, but also expand and apply what I have learned through practical experience with local departments/organizations and summer internships. 

Do you know what kind of career you might be interested in? 

Right now I’m debating between municipal, state or national parks services. I enjoy the diversity of programs involved in local parks and recreation, but love the almost entirely-outdoor part of working for state and national parks. I’m not against opportunities with private or nonprofit services, but they don’t currently peak my interest. I have always said my motivation is seeing others having fun, experiencing new things, and enjoying life, and a career doing just that would be considered a dream job for me. 

Tell us about something you are passionate about outside of your academic studies.

While I am extremely passionate about the outdoors, I also enjoy music. I am a member of the NC State Wind Ensemble and Jazz Orchestra and hope to get involved in other opportunities to play music with friends outside of school.