Messiah Williams is one of the youngest Black men in North Carolina State University’s history to graduate. He graduated at the age of 18. He also received a Certificate in Operating Systems and Network Foundation. At just 12, he graduated from a traditional public school and entered Johnston Community College, where he studied computer science and engineering.

“It’s been one heck of a journey,” Williams told WTVD.

After graduating from community college at 14, Williams received full academic scholarship offers from over 60 colleges and universities. Although he had an impressive selection of scholarships to choose from, his ultimate decision was determined by the personal relationships and support he received during his NC State campus tour. Additionally, NC’s TRIO program piqued his interest. 

“NC State, it made you feel like you were family. You had people that you could trust, like you could call on someone if you ever felt like you were down and maybe you were unsure about something,” Williams said.

Programs like TRIO assist students like Williams in overcoming class, social and cultural barriers to higher education. 

“I am very grateful to the TRIO team and want to give back in helping other students like myself to be successful in achieving their academic endeavors, especially after I finish getting my master’s,” Williams told CALS News. “It’s really been a great opportunity that they’ve provided me with over these last three years.”

He hopes to serve as a role model for other young Black male students.

“I hope to share this journey to inspire others who might find themselves in similar situations,” Williams said. “Whether through speaking engagements, mentoring or writing, my story could offer valuable insights into the importance of support systems for young college students, especially those who start at an unusually young age.”