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National Fellowships and Scholar Programs

Carolina Scholars

Cary Johnstone

Eleanor V. and Nicholas K. Moore Carolina Scholar
W. Daniel High School

Clemson, SC 

My Honors College courses allowed me to explore passions across various disciplines which taught me that a multidisciplinary approach to problems can facilitate open dialogue and meaningful change.  

Impactful experience: 
During my junior and senior year, I had the opportunity to serve as my sorority’s vice president. In this role, I encouraged academic success in the chapter, and supported members on academic probation individually. I loved how close I grew to the girls I worked with, but I was most impacted by their stories. Over the year, I noticed that many members who struggled academically were also dealing with mental health issues but receiving little support. I incorporated tools discussed in previous psychology courses in the position to offer support for girls struggling with mental health and their academics. Throughout the year, members would share their “little” wins with me by updating me on their goals, whether it was making an appointment with a therapist or getting an A on an exam they were worried about. Seeing this change was humbling, but what will remain with me long after I graduate is the excitement I felt when my sisters on academic probation met their goals for the semester, big or small. Playing a supporting role in their journey profoundly impacted me and confirmed my passion for the mental health field.  

Enjoy most as a TS: 
The support I’ve received as a Top Scholar, both from fellow scholars and the NFSP staff, has been one of the most influential aspects of my undergraduate experience at UofSC. I’ve met some of my closest friends through the Scholar community and truly look up to the members of this incredible group of people. Being surrounded by such passionate and dedicated students is so inspirational, and I know I am a better scholar and person because of them. The shining jewel of the Top Scholars program, however, is the one and only Jan Smoak. Her unending support, guidance, and encouragement helped me become confident in myself and seek opportunities both in and beyond the classroom that shaped me as a student and person. Jan, if you’re reading this, I owe you a hug and a small SUGAR pastry.  

One of my favorite Honors courses I took was The ABC’s of Writing, Editing, and Publishing with Aïda Rogers. Prior to taking this class, I had never considered myself much of a creative writer and saw myself as an editor. Throughout the class, Aïda pushed me to find my voice as a writer, which was so fulfilling. When a piece I wrote for a class was published in a local magazine, Aïda was the first to congratulate me and offer banana pudding as a celebratory snack (after my submission of a banana pudding-focused food piece). Our class became incredibly close, and her continual support has been an unexpected highlight of college. Because of her, I hope to incorporate more creative writing into my future career.   

Career goals/professional aspirations: 
After getting my master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling, I plan to work in private practice and specialize in eating disorder treatment. I also hope to partner with a professional ballet company to serve as their in-house mental health clinician to support professional ballet dancers and/or students and advocate for increased mental health support in the dance world.  

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.