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College debuts: He picked NCSU

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on July 9, 2009 1:46 PM

Jordan McIntyre

Before his college career even begins, Jordan McIntyre is already learning some valuable life lessons.

The valedictorian and recent graduate of Goldsboro High School was accepted at Georgia Tech, but financial circumstances changed, forcing him to forfeit the opportunity.

"I learned that life will throw you a loop every now and then," he says now. "I expected to go to Georgia Tech on a full ride, but was not qualified for one."

Then he was in the running for the Park Scholarship, a prestigious award that would have helped him attend N.C. State University, but only made it to the semi-finalist round.

From that, he said, he "learned to stick it out" and has been working to pay for the first year at N.C. State.

"The whole time, I had a full ride to A&T, but in my heart of hearts, I knew I wanted to study aerospace engineering," he said.

NCSU would afford him that opportunity.

The dream started back in eighth grade, McIntyre said, when the question arose about what he would one day study in college.

"My mother always focused on having a plan," he said. His wish list ranged from being a biology teacher and lawyer to a music teacher. He always enjoyed questions and answers as well as technology, so when an online quiz indicated engineering would be a good field for him, it seemed to fit.

"I had a fondness for birds, airplanes, rockets. I was a kid that thought I could fly," he said. "I once almost burned down the house when I put a flashlight battery in an outlet and got electrocuted."

The curious bent paid off. He now has an eye toward working at NASA or even being an astronaut.

Short of that, though, he said his ideal future would be to work in a research laboratory or a corporate job.

He is excited about attending N.C. State, he says, and has already been impressed by the atmosphere.

"I visited back in March on a rainy day, so it wasn't the way it appeared but how it felt," he said. "All the students -- how people interacted in the library, it felt like a community where people were not only learning but enjoyed the atmosphere. It was lively where they could learn and still do great things and do great research."

Orientation is later this month, and he is admittedly a bit anxious in anticipation.

"I'm nervous a little bit but more than anything I'm excited just to go there and do well," he said. "I like having a routine, and I'm not afraid to meet new people."

He already has a list of things he would like to participate in once there, including student government, the National Society of Black Engineers, maybe join a fraternity and participate in intramural sports.

Mostly, though, he is looking forward to "making lifelong friends," he said, as well as strategic career moves and having a job lined up by the time he graduates.

"I view college as a transition ground from being a child to having a career," the 18-year-old said. "I'm excited about college. That's really why I'm going and why I want to do well. There are four years or seven years of education, after that you have life."