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In trading blustery Connecticut winters for the balmy breezes that blow through NC State’s campus most of the year, NC State senior Jezzette Rivera also found educational and life-enrichment opportunities she said wouldn’t have been possible had she stayed in New England.

“NC State was simply the best fit for my personal needs out of the various colleges I was considering,” said Rivera, a criminology and political science major. “The possibilities are endless – there is truly an organization or program to suit the needs of each individual student, from social to athletic to academic program.”

Park Scholar, a member of the University Scholars Program, and winner of the 2009 Deborah S. Moore Service Award as one of NC State’s two student volunteers of the year, Rivera has poured countless hours into the local community as the president of Mi Familia, as a high-school service mentor and as the co-chair of Service Raleigh. Like many of her classmates, she took advantage of the opportunity to see the world, spending the summer of 2008 studying abroad in Guatemala.

“The academic, social, and extracurricular opportunities are vast and have given me the opportunity to become extremely active and acquire leadership roles on and off campus,” said Rivera.

Back in the classroom, Rivera said her experience with NC State faculty members has also exceeded every expectation.

“The administration offers ample support for projects conducted by student groups and other organizations,” she said. “With the guidance of student and faculty mentors, I have developed a plan of action for the next five years of my life.

“Before arriving at NC State, I never considered pursuing a degree beyond the undergraduate level, but with the support of the NC State community, my new goal is to pursue a J.D. at Yale Law School,” Rivera said. “Without the constant motivation of friends and faculty, I would not have achieved the same level of success.”