The Student News Site of North Carolina A&T State University

The A&T Register

The Student News Site of North Carolina A&T State University

The A&T Register

The Student News Site of North Carolina A&T State University

The A&T Register

Fellow A&T Student Is Awarded Namaskar Award By The College of Engineering


The phrase “Aggies Do” is widely recognized as words of encouragement for students at N.C. A&T. Alexis Cathcart, a senior computer science student, has proved just that.

Cathcart was recently awarded the prestigious Namaskar Award for her outstanding achievements in the engineering program and her positive impact on her classmates.

She is described as hardworking and very dedicated to her work which is evident in her projects. One of her main motivations was formulating a nutritional database that highlighted health inconsistencies within minority communities. 

“Access to healthcare may be limited in these communities, so I was immediately interested in joining a research group that aims to identify a method that can help these individuals get the assistance they need to live a healthier life,” Cathcart said. 

Minority communities often face challenges such as food insecurity and lack of consistent access to ample food supply for every person in a household to live an active, healthy lifestyle. 

Cathcart witnessed first-hand how food insecurity affected individuals closest to her and how their own cultural meals were excluded from some nutritional databases. 

“I thought about my family members who face diet-related health issues; unfortunately, their cultural dishes may not be well-recognized by current nutritional apps,” Cathcart said. “I am sure that this is a plight that other marginalized communities face, so I felt driven to learn more about how the issue can be addressed.”

Propelled by the injustices minority communities face, Cathcart utilized that significant issue to find a research group that focuses on practices that ensure individuals within said communities are able to lead healthier lives.

Aside from personal influences, Cathcart attributes her success in her program to the professors and faculty in the computer science department. 

“I am deeply grateful to Dr. Kristen Rhinehardt, Dr. Yvonne Ford, and future Dr. Jordanne Davenport for providing me with support and reassurance as a Black woman in STEM research,” Cathcart said. “Mrs. Tamera Ziglar and A&T alum Niara Patterson have motivated me to face my fears such as public speaking, directing, and facilitating events and projects while serving in leadership roles.”

Cathcart’s achievements were supported by the guidance of her advisors and teachers. Her road to success faced many obstacles, but she did not let that deter her from the goals she had set for herself.  

“I consider myself to be a perfectionist, so there were times where I would beat myself up for getting a bad grade, struggling to understand a concept, or not being “productive” enough. I also had to learn that failure is not the end-all, be-all,” said Cathcart.

Three keys of advice kept Cathcart focused while on the course to the Namaskar Award.

“Having grace with yourself, making time for yourself, and crafting your own narrative,” Cathcart shared. 

With such accomplishments under her belt as a senior, Cathcart is grateful for her time at A&T. 

“Seeing the success of my peers has been incredibly inspiring and has showcased to me that I have the power to turn my dreams into reality,” Cathcart said.

As she finishes her last semester at the university, Cathcart plans to pursue a master’s degree in computer science at A&T. To keep up with her journey, follow her Linkedin page.

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