Nadine Jansen


While girls her age cluttered high school hallways, 16-year-old Nadine Jansen was logged into her aggie access portal, reviewing her collegiate schedule for the first day of classes at North Carolina A&T State University.

The first N.C. A&T student to ever win the Barry Goldwater Scholarship, Jansen, a junior mathematics student, proved that success is not measured in the number of years a person has been alive; success happens when “you have the drive, will and need for it.”

“You have to want it, you have to want to push yourself, want to do better, want to be the best you know you can be,” she explains.

Anna Whiteside, scholarship coordinator in the University Honors Program said that the Barry Goldwater Scholarship application “is an intensive application.” Jansen was required to answer a loaded questionnaire and submit a two-page research essay.

Jansen wrote her application essay on the mathematical research she conducted during a summer program at the University of Maryland–College Park in combinatorics.  Combinatorics is a field of math that investigates “different ways to count items,” the student explained.

Dr. Gregory Gibson, associate professor in the mathematics department, assisted the scholar in developing her essay from the research she completed. Jansen is the first student Gibson has assisted in pursuing this prestigious scholarship.  

“She’s certainly very bright, very quick and very hardworking,” Gibson said, reflecting on the rounds of essay revisions that the two worked on for her application.

Jansen almost gave up the night before the application deadline, thanks to her boyfriend supplying the extra push she needed to finish. The high achiever gives the most praise and credit to her father.

“He tells me I remind him of himself when he was younger, he’s always pushing me and expecting more great things to happen,” she said.

The Stoneville, N.C., native boasts a cumulative grade point average of 3.96. Jansen has always excelled in academics; she even skipped the seventh grade.

“I don’t know what it is,” she exclaimed “I think I just have a good memory!” She thoughtfully credits great time-management skills for her success.

In the near future, Jansen plans to apply for the Fulbright Student Award to continue her love of research abroad. After that, she intends on getting a master’s degree and then going after the prestigious American Rhodes Scholarship.

Whether her career goals take her down the road of a college professor or a “hot shot criminal justice lawyer,” Jansen has already set her eyes on higher heights and has every intention of accomplishing her goals.

A&T has given Jansen passionate role-models to look up to and turn to for advice.

“It is just so inspiring to watch someone who feels the same way I do about math,” she says about mathematics professor Janis Oldham, “she won’t let me just get by.”

The scholar, who originally wanted to attend a different university, has successfully made a home here at A&T.

“Honestly, I don’t know if I would’ve won the Goldwater if I was anywhere else,” she says.