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Department Newsletter

Celebrating Our Student Ambassadors

graduate poses for photos on Court of NC

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 (newsletters), 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. After graduating, student ambassador alumni return to share virtual presentations on topics such as student success, careers, graduate school and networking.

Student ambassadors receive special recognition during graduation — an honor cord to thank them for their hard work and dedication to the department. 

We especially want to thank our three graduating student ambassadors! All three ambassadors have gone above and beyond for the department, NC State and our students. At the spring 2023 Departmental Commencement Ceremony on May 5, all three will be recognized for their dedication and efforts.

Samantha Aiken

Meet Samantha

Five years ago, I started my freshman year at NC State. From the beginning, I had doubts about where my future would take me. I had no idea how to navigate the world of college, especially on a campus that has more students than my hometown has people. Imposter syndrome was a daily struggle, and I felt like I would never find my place or make a mark on campus during my undergraduate years.

I forced myself to get involved and branch out, in the hopes that I would carve out a place for myself. Eventually, I gained the confidence to explore my true academic passions, and take the road (somewhat) less traveled on the way to finding myself. I changed my major to microbiology, and eventually added a second major in anthropology. This decision was probably the best decision I made during my undergraduate years, because it led me to become a student ambassador!

I was part of the original student ambassador team, which started in February 2020, and it was in the ambassador team that I found some of my biggest supporters. The friends and connections that I’ve made as a student ambassador have been life changing, and I know that I would not have been able to get through the past few years without them.

My undergraduate years have been the hardest years of my life. I’ve battled obstacles more difficult than I thought a person could handle; obstacles that made me feel like graduation would never happen. However, it was the support that I found in the student ambassador program that kept me going through my darkest hours.

Even though I had serious doubts that this day would come, I am proud to say that I’m happy that I kept going so that I could live in this moment. The past five years may have been hard, but I can stand proudly in the knowledge that I am graduating with majors in anthropology and microbiology, and minors in forensic science and global health, and that I will be attending graduate school in the fall. 

Kilye Hucks

My name is Kilye Hucks and I will be graduating this May with a degree in criminology. My time at NC State has been short but overwhelmingly impactful. I started at NC State in the fall of 2021 and instantly fell in love with the campus community and student culture. I quickly found two extracurriculars that truly helped elevate my undergraduate experience, student government and mock trial. Serving as a senator for the last two years at NC State has allowed me to learn about student life all over campus. The perspective started a fire of advocacy in me and I was determined to establish a better campus for students to come.

After gaining a love for advocacy, representation and mentoring, I applied to become a student ambassador for the Department of Sociology and Anthropology in the spring of 2022. I spent the summer helping out with admitted students’ zoom sessions and kickstarting some of our events for the fall. Being an ambassador has taught me the value lessons of listening, communication, and leadership but has also provided me with a strong standing support system. These are friends that I will have for life.

Some of my favorite NC State memories include staying the night in D.H. Hill, long and late-night committee meetings, mock trial competitions, howling cow ice cream, and the cherished first-year experience of discovering that Case is the best dining hall. I have learned so much more than a degree can communicate at NC State, and these lessons will follow me far into the near future.

I am planning on attending graduate school in the fall at the University of Cincinnati to pursue an M.S. in criminal justice. I have long-term dreams of working as a rehabilitative specialist in corrections or even exploring career opportunities with the FBI. The future is bright and I cannot wait to see where it takes me.

Soliyana Zemenfes

Soliyana Zemenfes

My name is Soliyana Zemenfes, and I’m graduating with a double major in Spanish and criminology and a minor in political science. 

I can’t believe graduation is only a few weeks away. The past four years have flown by and I don’t think I’ve fully processed how soon it’s ending. NC State has given me so much and I’m so grateful to have attended this school. I’m so lucky to have found a community within our department and become an ambassador. I have truly enjoyed my time representing our department alongside our wonderful ambassadors that I’ll miss dearly. 

NC State has also provided me with endless opportunities to expand my understanding of my degrees. In my last semester, I was able to secure an internship at the U.S. Attorney’s Office and learn more about the criminal justice system. I have met such incredible people there who are so willing to network and to help students figure out what it is they want to do. Additionally, in my second semester of my junior year I participated in a study abroad program in Viña del Mar, Chile that completely changed my life. I had the opportunity to travel to neighboring countries and learn about the diverse cultures that exist in South America. I was lucky enough to get placed with the most amazing, loving host family that will always have a special place in my heart. 

I plan on becoming a court interpreter in North Carolina and hope to move up to becoming a federal court interpreter in a few years. I have always wanted to use my Spanish in my future career and becoming a court interpreter is the perfect blend of both of my majors. I also want to go back down to South America at some point and teach English in schools there. Wherever I may end up, I’m excited for the journey and will forever be grateful for everything NC State has given me. Go Pack!