Welcome the New Student Ambassador Leadership Team
In February 2020, Stephanie Jares, director of academic advising for the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, started the student ambassador team for the department. She had worked in the Poole College of Management for many years, which had its own ambassador team. This inspired her to create an ambassador program for the Department of Sociology and Anthropology. Although the original team only met in person one time before the COVID-19 pandemic moved everything online, they maintained a strong bond and were able to provide support for every student in the department.
Three years after its inception, the student ambassador team has grown to 17 members– the largest it has ever been! The Department of Sociology and Anthropology has been growing, too, with criminology making the top ten most popular majors at NC State. Our expanded ambassador team has allowed us to accommodate these new students and continue building connections throughout the department. We have also been able to plan larger, more elaborate events for the students, like our welcome back party, Howlin’ Holiday Hangout, and Howlentines event, which were a lot of fun for everyone involved. The ambassadors are excited for the future of the department and of our team.
Stephanie Jares was beyond happy to see how much the ambassador team has grown since she started it three years ago. With 17 students and only one of her, though, she recognized that it was time for a new and exciting change to be made: the establishment of a leadership team. With roles such as assistant director, student connections coordinator, newsletter coordinator and more, the leadership team has been able to work with each other and Stephanie to do a wide range of things for the department. Here’s more information about each member of the leadership team, their position, and how they feel this change will impact the Department:
Sarah Isenhour, assistant director
Hi everyone! My name is Sarah Isenhour, and I’m a junior double majoring in criminology and psychology with a minor in cognitive science. I’m one of two assistant directors on our leadership team, and I have a wide variety of responsibilities. I serve as treasurer, help with event planning and alumni events, perform administrative duties and help our other assistant director with her responsibilities! Being in this new role has been so fulfilling because I got to go through the process of getting us registered with Student Leadership and Engagement, write a constitution, make a budget and secure funds for our organization. As a student ambassador, I absolutely love being able to interact with students and form connections within our department, so I knew that joining our leadership team would be a way for me to continue doing that while also laying a solid foundation for our program to continue in the future. I have loved making such a positive impact on the department and can’t wait to keep going! Our leadership team is a strong, hardworking group of students that are committed to bettering our organization, and I think that will make all the difference. Even when we graduate, the work that we did will remain, and I see such a bright future for our department and the ambassador program!
Madison Thomas, assistant director
Hi, my name is Madison Thomas, and I am one of the assistant directors for the Department of Sociology and Anthropology! I am a junior majoring in criminology and minoring in business administration. Being a student ambassador has allowed me to connect with my fellow students over our shared experiences here at NC State. My passion for helping students in their transition to college and our department was a driving force in my choice to become part of the leadership team. Since joining, I have enjoyed the growing relationship I have with our ambassador team! Being a part of the leadership team has allowed each leader, including myself, to tap into our skill set and positively contribute to the program as a whole. I look forward to seeing how our program continues to develop in the coming semesters.
Lindsay Hazelwood, event planner and coordinator
Hello! I’m Lindsay Hazelwood– a second-year student majoring in criminology and psychology, and minoring in forensic science. This is my first year serving as a student ambassador! In addition to being a student ambassador for the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, I am also serving as the event planner & coordinator! As a student ambassador, we are responsible for being the hands and feet of our department. This simply means that we represent the department, help connect with and reach out to students, provide information about departmental events, and plan/organize events to engage students. After experiencing several welcome week events during my first year at NC State, I began to understand the importance of forming connections, getting involved and feeling like a true part of the pack. With these ideas in mind, I applied and was selected for the role of event planner & coordinator, starting spring 2023! I am incredibly grateful for this position and have great plans in the works for the department! By serving on the leadership team, I am able to gain experience serving others, preparing and organizing events and building connections with students and faculty members within the department. This position helps create events and opportunities for students to learn more about the department, the importance of a CHASS major and how glad we are that they chose NC State! Even on our large campus, we hope to create a welcoming atmosphere where students can feel connected, well-informed and encouraged!
Olivia Fiser, newsletter coordinator
Hey! My name is Olivia Fiser and I am a rising senior here at NC State. I am a double major in history and anthropology with hopes to become a professional archaeologist. My role on the team is as the newsletter coordinator. This means I provide assistance in coming up with ideas and facilitate connections between our ambassadors and possible stories that boost our department’s newsletter. My experience as a student ambassador has been amazing. I can’t find any other words other than how rewarding and grateful I am to be a part of a team where our main goal is to help our peers. My experience has opened the floodgates to new opportunities and possibilities with connections and community here at NC State. This influenced me into joining the leadership team because I wanted to use my experience and understanding of what being an ambassador is and help guide new ambassadors into being confident and secure in their new role. I wanted to be a helping hand to a team that has given me so much. Being a part of the leadership team will help further the ambassador program by engaging with each other in productive ways that foster creativity and individuality. By having senior members be mentors to newer members there is room for growth and development on all levels of the team.
Connor Nelson, student connections coordinator
My name is Connor Nelson, and I am currently a junior majoring in criminology and minoring in forensic science. I hope to attend law school in the future after my undergraduate tenure here at NC State. I am the student connections coordinator for our leadership team which entails informing students of events on campus both department and non-department related as well as answering any questions about these events students might have and getting them in touch with the individuals who run these events. This is currently my second semester on the student ambassador team and my experience was so positive I wanted to be involved more. My decision to apply for a role on the leadership team stemmed from the fact that during my freshman year here on campus I didn’t have a student ambassador to inform me of opportunities on campus or plan events for me. I wanted to be that person for someone else.
With the expanding number of people on the student ambassador team I think it is a great idea to have more specialized positions within the group. This way there are ways in which members can have more responsibility and be involved in either the event planning or social media side depending on their interests. I’m excited to see where the program goes these next two years and beyond.
Maddie Bain, student communications and student coordinator
My name is Maddie and I am majoring in criminology and minoring in forensic science and psychology. I am on the Department of Sociology and Anthropology student ambassador team as student communications and student coordinator, as well as president of the outdoor climbing club at NC State. Since joining the student ambassador team, I have been able to speak to so many students, staff, alumni and families about our department and build connections in the field of criminology. I loved talking to other people and sharing my experience at NC State and watching how the department has grown in the last couple of years. This made me want to join the leadership team to be more involved in student connections and admission recruitment. As student communication and student coordinator, I have been able to connect incoming students with members of our department and ambassador team, as well as connect current students with alumni. So far, I am so excited to see what else I will be able to do in this position and with the ambassador team.
We were also fortunate enough to welcome five new student ambassadors this semester. Seeing our conference room so full when we had our first meeting of the semester in January was emotional for all present. Here is a little bit about our new ambassadors and why they felt inspired to join our team.
Syd Cassels, B.S. in Sociology
I became an ambassador because I wanted others to feel welcomed into the department the way I did. I was a CODA student, and I remember getting an email from Maddie welcoming me to the department and that meant a lot to me. I wanted others to have that same feeling. Being an ambassador has shown me how much goes on behind the scenes to make sure everyone in the department has a good experience. It’s been amazing to see how much everyone in the department truly cares about everyone.
Rena Lustig, B.S. in Sociology
I wanted to become a student ambassador to get more involved in my major and join another community at NC State. I wanted to be able to share my experiences as a sociology major and provide support and resources to students. I believe I will be able to gain experiential skills that I can apply to other situations as well as forming connections to students, staff and fellow ambassadors in the department.
Coming from Exploratory Studies, I feel that I had a slow start in connecting to the department. Joining the ambassador team has allowed me to meet others in my major and other majors in the department. I have been able to have more of an understanding of all the work that goes into the newsletters, event planning and work of the student ambassadors and department overall.
Alan Ramirez, B.A. in Sociology
I wanted to become an ambassador because I wanted to be involved in more extracurricular activities that would both fit in for me and that I would fit in for the activity. As a sociology major, I figured that this position would be perfect for me, given how I could both explore my academic/career interests further while also contributing in a setting that warrants and celebrates my aspirations. Elaborating further on the academic/career impact of the position, I believed that this position would be extremely helpful with scholarship applications, resume building and generally more networking opportunities. I’d say that being an ambassador makes me realize more just how committed both the faculty and the veteran ambassadors are in enhancing the students’ college experience, both from an academic and extracurricular outlook. Beyond that though, I view the department now more as a family than people simply doing their job.
Anna Maria Hester, B.A. in Criminology
I wanted to become a student ambassador because I wanted to feel more connected throughout the department and give back to what has made me feel so proud to be apart of the department. I love engaging with students, meeting new people, and being a helping hand when in need. Being a student ambassador is a way I can give back to the NC State community that I love so much. Being an ambassador puts in perspective how much our department has to offer. Before being an ambassador I did not realize how involved our department really is and it was very eye opening to see that when I became an ambassador. I wasn’t sure how long I would want to be an ambassador but seeing how involved ambassadors are with the department and with the community at NC State makes me wish I joined sooner.
Madison Hofner, B.A. in Criminology and Psychology
I wanted to become an ambassador because I was inspired by my own student ambassador’s help and friendship. When I received the first email from Lindsay, it was very welcoming and encouraging for the upcoming school year. I reached back out to her after one of her first emails and she responded right away, we connected about similar interests and career paths. This made me want to connect with other students and help others with their paths while in college so that they are able to feel like they have a friend.
Since becoming an ambassador for the Department of Anthropology and Sociology, I have connected with many people that have changed my view of the department. At first, I thought the department was strictly for classes and the organization of research within the respective fields. Now, I know that the department is much more than that and places a lot of focus on the students within it. While being a part of the student ambassadors, I have been able to connect with others within the department, as well as learn more about the department and resources that are provided for students to grow and learn. I hope to learn even more about the department in the future!
This article is by Sarah Isenhour, a Department of Sociology and Anthropology student ambassador majoring in criminology and psychology.