Eukela Little ‘18: NCSSM “changed my life”

Eukela Little ‘18 is a North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics Admissions Ambassador, a cheerleader, a dancer — and an introvert.

“I am introverted and NCSSM has made me realize that it is okay,” says Little, who graduated from the Durham residential program in May. “I’ve learned not to compare myself to others and be confident in my own talents and abilities.”

Little danced with both the KWave Korean and Bailamos Spanish dance clubs on campus, and she was involved with NIA, a club focused on African-American culture and history. She also cofounded NCSSM’s Girls Who Code chapter, an organization that supports women in the computer science field.

However, coming from a small, rural town midway between Charlotte and Fayetteville, Little was most passionate about being an Admissions Ambassador.

“In my hometown of Wadesboro, I did not feel like a minority. African Americans make up a majority of the population,” she says. Coming to NCSSM, where African Americans make up just about 10 percent of students, it was different. “[NCSSM] seek[s] students from all types of backgrounds. You do not have to be from a top-ranked high school. I came from a small school. NCSSM takes you as you are. If they see that you have potential, you will be given the opportunity to enrich yourself.”

She could relate to prospective students coming from similar backgrounds. She felt that she could serve as a positive and guiding influence for such students.

“Through courses such as American Studies and Research in the Humanities and organizations such as NIA, I have been able to better understand myself as a black woman,” she says. “This has helped me understand the potential I have to help black women and the challenges that we face in society.”

Little’s NCSSM experience began when an admissions representative from NCSSM came to visit her academically and intellectually gifted eighth-grade class.

“The admissions representative did an excellent job explaining all of the opportunities that NCSSM had to offer, and this further drove my interest in the school,” she remembers. “I was concerned that attending NCSSM would just consist of various science and math courses; however, I learned that NCSSM offered much more, as the humanities department is the biggest department.”

Through class discussions in her humanities courses and courses such as Finite Mathematics, Little feels that she has come to understand the true meaning of learning.

“I realized that learning is not only knowing how to answer a question but also knowing how to explain the understanding behind an answer,” Little says. “I am very grateful for this. I also thank NCSSM for being inclusive in the admissions process. I am so thankful for the opportunity that NCSSM presented me to better myself, and it has definitely changed my life.”

While at NCSSM, Little worked in a research lab at UNC-Chapel Hill analyzing thinking styles of ADHD patients and the effects of dopamine. Next year, at Elon University, she will major in psychology and neuroscience while minoring in French. She hopes to enter the field of clinical psychology to help those with mental illnesses.

Before heading off to Elon, Little will embark on a humanities research project digging into the history of her hometown, Wadesboro, and its racial intricacies.

by Neil Mehta