Perspectives Online

CALS Ambassadors give service to College and community as they hone leadership skills

CALS Ambassador Tabitha Ikpechukwu speaks on behalf of the College at a campus event.
Photo by Daniel Kim

The CALS Ambassadors program uses outstanding current students to keep prospective students and parents, alumni, business people, teachers and politicians in the know about what's going on at the College. Further, the ambassadors promote knowledge of agriculture and life sciences beyond the boundaries of N.C. State. Some of the ambassadors also are trained to help fellow students with peer support, career counseling, mock job interviews, resume critiques, course selection and more.

Ambassadors are selected on the basis of outstanding academic achievement, student leadership, enthusiasm for the College, and nomination by a current ambassador or faculty or staff member. Thirty-two have been chosen for this year.

Ambassadors are required to perform 20 hours of service per semester, but most give far more. Last year's group performed almost 1,600 service hours. They took part in 96 events and hosted 133 individual prospective students and their families at Spend a Day at State lunches, among other recruiting events.

The program is mutually beneficial for students and the College. The College gets the benefit of the ambassadors' enthusiastic efforts, and the ambassadors get invaluable training in leadership, public speaking and teamwork.

Senior Sara Hammel of Clayton, a biological sciences major and third-year ambassador, says the program has provided her an opportunity to develop her interpersonal and public speaking skills. "As CALS Ambassadors, we work with such a diverse group of people, from kids in elementary school to alumni to community members. It has been very valuable in helping me to grow personally as well as in my professional skills."

About two-thirds of the ambassadors are outreach advisers, like Sara, and one-third are peer counselors, like John Summers, a senior biological sciences major from Cary.

Peer Counselor Ambassadors help current N.C. State students explore career-related issues such as self-assessment interpretations, choosing a major, resume critiques, Web navigation, and company research.

"I have enjoyed the experience I get working with students in our Kick-Start Your Career workshops," Summers says. "All of our work as peer counselors is worthwhile. We help new students who are getting used to college, and we help students who are farther along with career preparation."

Summers is in his second year as a CALS Ambassador. He plans to apply to medical school this fall.

To learn more about CALS Ambassadors, visit the Web site at or call 919.515.3249.

- Alexandra Mordecai