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Department Newsletter

Welcoming and Celebrating: The Department of Sociology and Anthropology Student Ambassadors

yellow leaves behind a copper wolf statue

The Department of Sociology and Anthropology’s Student Ambassador program is a team of undergraduate student volunteers who help with student activities, new student recruitment, department communications (newsletter), student involvement and student mentorship through the Student Connections program. Each student in the department is paired with a student ambassador from the time they enroll at NC State until graduation. Starting this semester, in Fall 2021, a Student Ambassador Alumni program will be conducted once a semester. Student ambassador alumni will share virtual presentations on topics such as student success, careers, graduate school and networking.

Student ambassadors receive a special recognition during graduation — an honor cord to thank them for their hard work and dedication to the Department of Sociology and Anthropology. 

Students may apply to be a student ambassador if they have completed at least one semester at NC State and at least one semester in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology and have an overall and major GPA of 2.0.

In this article I would like to reintroduce you to the seven returning Fall 2021-Spring 2022 student ambassadors and also introduce you to the six new student ambassadors for Spring 2022!  We also would like to especially thank our three graduating student ambassadors who will graduate in December 2021! Our graduating student ambassadors will be missed but will be returning as student ambassador alumni!

Welcome to the new six student ambassadors who applied in the Fall 2021 semester and were chosen for the position of student ambassador!  

A special thank you to all of the seven student ambassadors who are returning for the Spring 2022 semester for all of your support of our department, NC State and of our students!  4 of the 7 student ambassadors who are returning for the Spring 2022 semester have been with the student ambassador team since the team began in February 2020!  

Also, we especially want to thank our three graduating student ambassadors! All three ambassadors are members of the first team of student ambassadors since the team began in February 2020 and have gone above and beyond for the department, NC State and our students. At the Fall 2021 Departmental Commencement Ceremony on Dec. 13, all three will be recognized for their dedication and effort.

Click on the + signs to read more about each of your student ambassadors.

New Spring 2022 Student Ambassadors

headshot of Maddie Bain

Hi everyone! My name is Maddie Bain and I’m a current sophomore majoring in Criminology and minoring in Psychology. I’m from Matthews, North Carolina, just right outside of Charlotte, and I’m happy to call home Raleigh. In my free time, I like exploring parts of Raleigh and going back to the movie theater. 

I chose NC State because of the beautiful campus, accessibility to the city, and most importantly (also very clique) I fell in love with everything this University has to offer me. Even though I had a rough start because I came in during the pandemic, being back on campus has been so fulfilling and exciting. All my professors have been so supportive during the pandemic which has made the transition back to in-person a lot easier. It has also inspired me to add on other areas of learning, and I plan on adding a Spanish minor my junior year. I’ve been able to try new things and find new hobbies, including rock climbing, skiing, and joining the Minorities in Outdoor Leadership team. Now, I’m excited to be joining the Department of Sociology and Anthropology Student Ambassadors for the Spring 2021 semester.

headshot of Brianna Brooks

Hey everyone! I am Brianna Brooks and I am a Senior majoring in Criminology and Political Science with a concentration in Law and Justice with minors in Africana Studies and Spanish. I am from a super small town called Deep Run in North Carolina but I attended school in Kinston, North Carolina. This is my third and final year here at NCSU and I couldn’t be more excited to graduate this spring and move on to the next chapter. I originally applied to State as a Political Science major and then CODAed into Criminology at the end of my sophomore year. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time in both departments but Criminology has a special place in my heart because of the great faculty and staff.

NC State was definitely not my first choice but has been one of the best decisions I made in my entire life. State has opened up so many doors for me and allowed me the flexibility to be able to achieve and accomplish my goals with no hesitation. Because of this help and motivation I received I would like to pay it forward and help as many people as I can. Outside of academics I am involved all around campus and currently I am serving as the President of NAACP here at NC State. I also enjoy volunteering in my free time, as well as attending NC State sporting events. GO PACK !! I am beyond excited to begin this role as a student Ambassador so I can continue to pay forward the knowledge and help I received while being a student here at State.

headshot of Dimitri Campbell

Hello! My name is Dmitri Campbell (he/it/they/she), I’m an Anthropology major and Sophomore here at NC State. I was born and raised in Raleigh, NC and I transferred to State in the Fall of 2021. I am genderqueer, gay, and Jewish — all of these are proud aspects of my identity that I love to share. Outside of academics I enjoy writing, cosplay and makeup, nature walks, and collecting any oddities I come across. I own two cats (Stanley and Alice), and live with my mom and her dog (Tinkerbell) as well as my boyfriend and his snakes (Caliborn and English). For me arriving at NC State marked a new beginning in my life — and I haven’t regretted my decision since I applied. I had initially felt nervous about being at such a large university, but the community that NCSU fosters has never left me feeling alone. I’ve always been enamored by anthropology as a discipline (enough so that I had actually declared my major my freshman year at my prior school) and as I’ve continued on my journey I’ve not once looked back! I have a deep love for humanity and how we shape our world and each other, and I believe that through the humanities and social sciences we can work together to improve our relations, our compassion, and our world. 

The community that I’ve integrated myself into both within the College of Humanities and Social Sciences as well as NCSU as a whole has helped me develop into a brighter, more confident individual even throughout the struggles of COVID— and I look forward to meeting others both different and alike to me!

headshot of Sarah Isenhour

Hello everyone! My name is Sarah Isenhour, and I am a sophomore hoping to double major in Criminology and Psychology (CODA decision pending) with a minor in Cognitive Science. Although I was born in Dover, New Hampshire, I’ve lived in the small town of New London, North Carolina for most of my life. Growing up in such a small town is one of the reasons why NC State was my dream school. I wanted to go to a big school that was in/near a city, had superb academics, and had countless opportunities for involvement, and NC State checked all those boxes for me. I was a Psychology major my first semester, but I was advised to CODA into Criminology because of my career goals. The Student Ambassadors gave me advice about the Criminology major and the CODA process, which gave me the confidence to go through with the change. Given that I’m reapplying to the major that I transferred out of, my journey has not exactly been “typical,” and I’m thrilled by the idea of being able to reassure and help people that are also struggling with decisions regarding their major.

In my free time, I absolutely love reading young adult/adult fantasy novels, watching hockey (let’s go Rangers!), spending time outside, making friendship bracelets, and watching reality TV like The Bachelorette and Love Island with my wonderful roommates! In addition to being a new Student Ambassador for the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, I am also a member of the Anthropology Club and the Criminology Club. These clubs have introduced me to new people, topics, and perspectives on the world, and I couldn’t be happier with how my time at NC State is going. I absolutely cannot wait to continue to grow my involvement in this amazing department!

headshot of Jala Royster

Hey Everyone! My name is Jala Royster. I am a junior majoring in Anthropology. I am from a small town in eastern NC called Pinetops. (It is near Rocky Mount NC and Greenville NC. I am a transfer student from Edgecombe Community College. I am currently a member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority INC, member of the NCSU Anthropology Club and work a full time job as a Radiologic Technologist. When I am not working or at school, I enjoy watching TV, cooking and watching TikToks. 

I love performing x-ray exams on children but I want to help them a step further. My end goal in life is to have my own clinic where I can see/treat patients with my best friend. The path I take to become a PA will be different. I plan to travel and experience many different things before starting my clinic. 

When transferring to NCSU I was confused at which program was right for me. I took two Anthropology classes my 2nd year and become very interested. I found a new love for the program. I am honored to be a part of this year’s Student Ambassador Team. My hope is to connect more students with faculty and gain connections that last a lifetime.

headshot of Geena Thomas

Hi everyone! My name is Geena Thomas, and I am a sophomore majoring in Criminology and minoring in Forensic Science. I come from a small town in upstate New York. I love to write, play with dogs and bake. Besides being a Student Ambassador, I am also the director of diversity and inclusion for my sorority (Pi Beta Phi), and I babysit.

When I was deciding my major, it was no question that I wanted to go into Criminology. Ever since I was younger, I have always been interested in mysteries. For as long as I could remember, I used to do riddles and word searches with my grandfather, and when I was old enough, this evolved into watching forensic files and many other crime shows. When I was deciding which college to go to, I was hoping someone could tell me the right decision. I applied to a variety of colleges, and most were out of state. I knew that to grow as a person I needed to get away from my hometown. Once I visited NC state, I immediately felt at home. I also was followed by a yellow butterfly throughout campus, and this was a direct sign from my grandpa that I belonged here, and I could not be happier with my choice! I cannot wait to share my experiences through the student ambassador team and am so grateful for the opportunity to do so!

Returning Student Ambassadors

headshot of Samantha Aiken

Hey y’all! My name is Samantha Aiken and I am a Senior majoring in Anthropology and Microbiology with minors in Forensic Science and Global Health. I’m from the small town of Stedman, North Carolina. My hobbies are playing Animal Crossing and origami, and I am the Vice President of the Rural Health Outreach Club here on campus.I knew that NC State was the place for me from a young age, probably because my dad taught me how to throw a wolfie before I could tie my shoes. I came to NC State as a freshman with the intent to study Human Biology, but I found my place in this department through my interests in archaeology and cultural anthropology. 

So far in my time as an Anthropology student I’ve taken everything from cultural anthropology to human osteology. I’ve loved taking the wide array of classes that the department offers. My favorite class so far has been cultural anthropology, which was the class that convinced me to major in Anthropology!

Submitting my CODA application and joining this department was one of the best decisions I’ve made during my time in college. The support from both students and faculty here has been overwhelming and has made my college experience incredibly enjoyable. I’m really excited to be a returning student ambassador!

headshot of Deirdre Byrnes

Hello everyone! My name is Deirdre Byrnes and I am a senior here at NC State. I am pursuing a double-major in both Criminology and Psychology with minors in Forensics and Middle East Studies! I am originally from Long Island, New York, but have lived in Wilmington, NC for a while now! I originally applied to NC State as a Criminology major, however, before my freshman orientation actually switched into the Exploratory Studies Program. Through the Exploratory Studies Program I was able to find my other love for Psychology, as well as take other courses that pushed me to add on my minors. I am especially interested in the huge overlap the psychology field has within criminal justice altogether, specifically in regards to psychopathology and crime prevention. In my free time I love to hike or do anything outdoors. 

As a senior, I have been given the amazing opportunity to work with this Ambassador Program, the Criminology and Criminal Justice Club, as well as am currently a member of a Co-Ed Service Fraternity (Alpha Phi Omega). Additionally, I am also a College of Humanities and Social Sciences Ambassador, and have had some amazing research opportunities as an Undergraduate Research Assistant for two separate projects here at NC State as well. I have especially enjoyed getting to be a Student Ambassador for this Department because I have been able to share my own personal journey of finding what it is I truly wanted to help other students who may be struggling with the same things. I love how there really is something for everyone here at NC State, and on a more personal-level, I am so thankful to have found a smaller “home” within this Department. Although I am still figuring it all out, I hope to one day obtain a job within the counterterrorism field and work for a government agency. I am so thankful for the opportunities I have been given throughout my experience here at NC State, and cannot wait to return as a Student Ambassador and see what else I can do with the time I have left here!

headshot of Justice Cass

Hi everyone! My name is Justice Cass and I am a senior majoring in Sociology with a minor in English. I live in a small town in Union Grove, North Carolina. In my free time I write poetry and am an avid consumer of classic literature. I also enjoying watching films of all genres in my free time. 

I transferred to NC State from a university in Massachusetts and was initially a Psychology major. I have always had a passion for restorative justice and the transformation of the current justice system into one that genuinely works fairly and equally for all citizens at all levels. Due to this passion, I submitted a CODA application to change my major so it would align more with the social aspects of society. I was ecstatic when it was approved! Once I began taking courses within the Sociology program my excitement only flourished and my decision was given further validation. The Department of Sociology and Anthropology has been nothing short of welcoming and helpful in my journey here at NC State. Becoming a part of the Ambassador program has allowed me the opportunity to extend the same helping hand to others that I have been given by sharing my knowledge and experiences. I have enjoyed sharing my passion for this department and NC State University as a whole this past semester and I can’t wait to continue doing so!

headshot of Taylor Hook

Hey y’all! My name is Taylor Hook. I am a senior this year pursuing a degree in Anthropology. I have also obtained minors in Forensic Science and Biology and will be completing my Criminology minor this spring. My hometown is Burlington, just an hour away, but I have been permanently living in Raleigh for two years now! Outside of my role as a Student Ambassador for this department, I spend my time working as a bartender at a local sports bar in Cary.

I originally chose NC State University because of the great Biology department as I was intending to major in Human Biology. I transferred into the Anthropology program my second semester of sophomore year after taking a Physical Anthropology course. After just one introduction course I was able to realize my interests in Biology could still be pursued through the Anthropology department while also getting the important Humanities background. I fell in love with the Anthropology program at NC State University very quickly with the help of the amazing professors that are a part of the program. I am so excited to have the opportunity to share my experiences and passion for Anthropology and Sociology through the Student Ambassador team!

headshot of Yuanyuan Li

Hi everyone! My name is Yuanyuan Li and I’m a junior majoring in Sociology with a minor in Political Science. I’m also an international student originally from China. Though I’m in a definitely different environment for my college life and to be honest, it was hard to try to get involved in a new culture and use a second language at the beginning, NC State provides me a lot of help and really makes me feel like home. People at NC State are friendly and willing to be there for me when they are needed. I’m grateful for all this help, especially when I first came here. I traveled a lot during the past few years in the U.S. and it’s a fascinating experience to see different cultures especially as a Sociology major student.

I wasn’t so sure about whether Sociology was a good choice for me before I started college, but after taking various classes I can say that I’ve never regretted this choice. It helps me to see the world from a different perspective and take a look at things we take for granted. Being a student ambassador at the Department of Sociology and Anthropology provides me with many opportunities to share my experiences and tell them we are here. Things can be really hard during the pandemic but I like all the ideas that we are working on to make students in our department feel close to each other. There is a word in Chinese called “yuan fen” which can refer to something combined with fate and coincidence, and I would like to use this word to explain why I’m here now. Thanks for all the people I met and everything I experienced here in NC State that makes it the second home for me and GO PACK!

headshot of Josie McGlynn

Hello everyone! My name is Josie McGlynn and I am a junior studying Criminology and Psychology. I’m from a small town in Massachusetts but I have enjoyed living in Raleigh for the past few years. I came across NC State during my college search while still in high school. I knew I wanted to study criminology and attend a large university, but I certainly did not expect to end up in North Carolina, over 700 miles away from home! However, even after spending my first semester at NC State, it already felt like a second home to me. Although NC State has over 30,000 students, the Department of Sociology and Anthropology acts as a close-knit community which allows students and faculty to work with familiar faces and form stronger relationships throughout the years. 

I love NC State because it has so many opportunities and resources available for students that I would not have access to otherwise. For example, I enjoy spending time at both libraries on campus. These libraries are great and relaxing work environments for homework and group projects but they also offer many workshops and even lend out certain technological equipment. For example, cameras and tripods are available for lending which are useful for those interested in photography or those who just need a nice camera to take some professional photos for resumes and more! I also play on the women’s club rugby team and have had the opportunity to travel to many states and beautiful cities that I have never been to, such as Savannah, GA! I am grateful to be a student ambassador and work with others in my Department that share similar interests and passions as me. I’m so excited to continue sharing my experiences and getting more involved at NC State!

headshot of Carly Richardson

Hey everyone! My name is Carly Richardson and I am a senior double majoring in Sociology and Political Science with a minor in English. I’m originally from Greensboro, North Carolina but have happily called Raleigh home for the last four years. I chose NC State largely because I felt that, due to being located in the state’s capitol, I’d have a lot of opportunities as a political science major. Not only was I right about that, but I have since found innumerable other reasons why NC State was the best choice for me. One such being this department. In my first semester here I took Current Social Problems (SOC 203) to fulfill a general social science requirement for political science. What was intended to be just a filler class ended up being, to this day, one of my favorite classes and the one that motivated me to add on sociology as a second major. My interest has only grown since then- and I have found it to be the perfect compliment to political science. That is ultimately why I decided to apply to be an ambassador to the department in early 2020: to share my passion for the discipline and give back to the department that has given me so much. 

Outside of being a student ambassador, I’m also the president of the women’s club rugby team and enjoy working out my stress at practice each week. I am also employed on campus through the Shelton Leadership Center, love working out in Carmichael, and studying in my favorite spot in Poe hall. NC State, and specifically this department, has been instrumental in me discovering who I am and what I am truly passionate about. While I am sad to be graduating this spring, I am endlessly grateful for the experiences that I have had here and feel ready to take on life after college- but until then, I’m looking forward to one more great semester as a returning ambassador! 

Celebrating Our Graduating Student Ambassadors

We asked our three graduating student ambassadors to them about themselves, reflect on their time at NC State and what is next for them.  We are very excited for their futures and grateful for all of the time that they have volunteered since February of 2020 with the Department of Sociology and Anthropology. Thank you Lindsay, Shelby and Maura!

headshot of Lindsey Fath

Lindsey Fath is graduating with a Criminology major and Forensic Science minor. Upon graduation, she will be joining the Wake County Sheriff’s Office as a Sheriff Deputy and starts in January. While at NC State, Lindsey participated in a number of activities that she attributes to making her the person she is today. 

As a freshman, Lindsey created an intramural ultimate frisbee team with her twin sister Dani. This past fall was her last season and the team has been passed down to underclassmen to keep the name alive. As a sophomore, Lindsey started working for the Academic Support Program for Student Athletes (ASPSA). She tutored many athletes and enjoyed everything she learned there. She recommends this job for anyone interested in helping others academically. At this time, Lindsey also became a Student Ambassador for the Department of Sociology and Anthropology where she helped students with their transition to college. As a junior, Lindsey participated in the Citizens Police Academy hosted by the NC State Police Department. She learned a lot and will use what she learned for her new job in January. At this time, Lindsey also became a Student Ambassador for the College of Humanities and Social Sciences where she got to talk to students about her experience at NC State.  Lindsey is graduating a semester early, and has been focusing on her schoolwork this past fall.

Six months ago during summer 2021, Lindsey was able to obtain an internship with the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation. She got to observe a variety of investigations that will aid her in her new job. If she had to give one piece of advice to her fellow students, it would be to take advantage of all the opportunities college has to offer. She says that it has shaped her into the person she is today and she’s proud of the person she has become through NC State. Lindsey is proud to have attended school at NC State, and she knows she will always be part of the Pack!

headshot of Shelby Feirstein

Shelby Feirstein is an Anthropology major with minors in Forensics, Genetics, and French. Her three and a half years at NC State have been formative and unique. In her time here, Shelby has pursued opportunities that allowed her to advocate for systemic equity and social change. Most notably, she served as the Fall ‘20 Service Vice President for Alpha Phi Omega, a co-ed service organization on campus, where she developed and executed a grant-funded plan for a Food Insecurity themed service retreat. Additionally, Shelby had the opportunity to intern with the Raleigh Police Department Research and Planning Unit. There she looked at trend analysis, worked on policy change, and conducted research related to the implementation of an initiative supplying housing, mental health, and substance use treatment resources to individuals in crisis.

At the campus-level, Shelby has valued her time as a Student Ambassador where she was given the opportunity to share her experiences in a variety of ways. Whether it was connecting with fellow and prospective students or reaching a wider audience with the Departmental newsletter, Shelby feels as though she has been able to leave a piece of herself to NC State. 

Currently she is applying for Master’s programs for the Fall of 2022. She is pursuing a career in forensic Anthropology, focusing on disaster management and human rights. In the meantime she will continue in her current internship within the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Preparedness and Response within the HHS, working to integrate climate resiliency into health and human services. 

Shelby recalls feeling nostalgic the first day back on campus this semester, already sentimental about everything she will miss. However, she is grateful for her time at NC State and knows she will find her way back to Howling Cow ice cream in the future. She wants to thank everyone who has supported her along the way, and knows that she will always have the support system she needs to pursue what she desires.

headshot of Maura Wyatt

Maura Wyatt is an Anthropology major with intent for law school. While at NC State, Maura has taken advantage of a number of resources that have contributed to her ideal college experience. Her first year at State, Maura was a member of one of the Villages on campus, the Arts Village. While in the Arts Village, Maura was able to find a community and still participate in doing the artistic things she loves, while still having her primary focus on her major studies. Also during this time, Maura worked at the NC State Crafts Center, specifically in the woodshop. The Crafts Center is open to all students and Maura recommends everyone take advantage of this unique resource, as it’s a place where you can find a new passion, learn new skills, and meet individuals with similar interests! 

Starting in February of 2020, Maura has been a Student Ambassador for the Anthropology, Criminology, and Sociology Department, which she has loved every minute of. Through the departmental student ambassador program, Maura has been able to help fellow students on their journey at NC State, and assist potential students in making their college decisions. Furthermore, she has found a group of fellow Student Ambassadors who she has been grateful and privileged to both support and lean on during the tough times we have seen throughout college and the pandemic. This group has been a wonderful experience and one she will cherish far beyond just her college career. 

Maura was able to take part in a legal internship during her sophomore year at NC State, which sparked her further interest in going to law school. Currently, Maura is applying for jobs in law firms to gain experience and later apply to law school as her career goal is to become a lawyer. With great excitement for the future, Maura is grateful for all NC State has offered and continues to offer her as a member of the Wolfpack!

This post was written by Stephanie Jares, director of the Student Ambassador program and coordinator of advising in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology.