NC State’s newest graduating class boasts students from all 100 North Carolina counties, 36 states and 46 countries around the world. Each student comes in with an already impressive resume, and they’ll leave with a new title: Wolfpack alum.
Countless seniors hail from North Carolina’s more rural areas, and many are the first in their families to obtain a college degree. Regardless of their journey, they will come together on December 19 to celebrate their achievements at the university’s fall commencement.
Meet three fall 2019 graduates who are ready to Think and Do beyond the brick pathways at NC State.
Bachelor of Science in Accounting, Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, Poole College of Management
Sarah Daw followed in her older sister’s footsteps in coming to NC State, but she forged her own path along the way.
The senior from Middlesex, North Carolina, did not intend to become part of the Wolfpack family, but following her acceptance, something changed.
“I was visiting my sister, and feeling the buzz and energy walking through Talley, having the opportunity to meet so many people, was a big draw,” said Daw. “When I looked at everything the school had to offer, I realized I could make my own way on campus.”
Daw started out taking marketing courses, and completed a marketing internship with University Recreation and Wellness. After taking an introduction to accounting course, she decided to take on a double major in accounting and business administration.
Her academic experience contributes to an impressive resume, but in true Think and Do spirit, she took her knowledge outside of the classroom and into the community. Daw has been involved in the NC State chapter of Consult Your Community (CYC) since 2017.
The completely student-run organization provides low-income and minority-owned small businesses with pro bono consulting to help them thrive. Daw gained hands-on experience in her chosen field, but also helped foster the empowerment and success of others. She served in roles ranging from business analyst to vice president of internal affairs.
“I’m from a small town, and I’ve seen the struggle of small business owners to survive and thrive,” she said. “Working with CYC really promoted using my accounting and business skills to help others and improve my community. I would encourage all NC State students to seek out this kind of experience to not only figure out their passion, but to take classroom knowledge to the next level and apply it somewhere.”
Working with her CYC team will be one of the best memories Daw takes with her as she prepares to leave campus, but her time as a student won’t end with graduation. Daw will get married the day after she graduates, and in fall 2020 she’ll start the online Jenkins Master of Accounting program. One day, she hopes to return to NC State as a professor of accounting.
Daw’s journey provides some insight into how other NC State students can achieve success in their undergraduate pursuits. She advises getting to know professors well, going to office hours and seeking them out as mentors. She also urges students to not overwork, but to find a few outlets that fit their passions and give those things their best efforts.
“NC State is full of achievers who push you to become a better student and person, but don’t constantly compare yourself to others,” said Daw. “Own your journey. Focus on your gifts and abilities, cheer on your peers, but remember your own goals. When you compare yourself to others, it prohibits you from embracing the path only you can take.”
That’s wise advice, indeed.
Bachelor of Science in Fashion and Textile Management, Wilson College of Textiles
Camden, North Carolina — a small town 45 minutes from the Outer Banks — is where small business entrepreneur Moriah Mattix started out with some big ideas.
While in high school, Mattix formed Seababy, a handmade children’s clothing company, where she combined her love for babies with her gift for design. She graduated from her early college high school with an associate of arts and a growing business.
After taking a year off to travel, Mattix entered NC State’s Wilson College of Textiles. Her program — fashion and textile management — helped her further her skillset while teaching her the finer points of marketing.
“When I went on at tour of the Wilson College of Textiles, I was blown away by all of the innovative machinery and real-life experience the college offered, and NC State was the only place I applied,” said Mattix. “I love my college because it is a close-knit community with professors who have lots of industry experience, and there are lots of resources you can’t find anywhere else.”
Mattix’s love for Wilson College is reflected in her involvement as both an administrative assistant and a Student Ambassador. In these roles, she connects the college to the community, giving tours to prospective students and their parents, as well as interacting with industry leaders.
This engagement will serve Mattix well in whatever she pursues in the future.
“Here, you learn to work with others who think differently than you; who have a different skill set and knowledge base,” said Mattix. “No matter what industry you’re in, you’re going to have this sort of experience, and the college has prepared me well to collaborate with others to create a great end product.”
After graduation, Mattix plans on staying in Raleigh, where she currently helps develop creativity in young minds as a preschool teacher. She’s also researching various design opportunities in the city, and hopes to partner with sustainable apparel companies and nonprofits.
“I’ll miss being at NC State, but my time here has prepared me for the future,” said Mattix. “Your time here is a season of life, a short season even though it may feel long at times, so slow down and enjoy the experience.”
Bachelor of Arts in International Studies, College of Humanities and Social Sciences
Like so many NC State students, Logan Skeehan knew he wanted to join the Wolfpack from an early age. Upon graduation from high school, however, the Greensboro native elected to stay local and start college in the city to help out his family’s business.
After his first semester, he didn’t feel a connection to his university and decided to transfer. Skeehan spent months preparing his application, writing essays, getting good grades and working two jobs. Eventually all that hard work paid off.
“I was ecstatic when I was admitted to NC State,” he said. “I accepted right away with no thought to how I’d do away from family or how I’d afford everything I’d need to be successful away from home; that was an issue to be sorted out later. I was attracted to the beauty of campus and the great sense of community here.”
The work ethic instilled in him by his family helped him make a smooth transition to campus life and laid the groundwork for his success. He joined several clubs and found a job in the Office of Information Technology (OIT), working as a student technician with ClassTech.
For the past three-and-a-half years, he’s traveled home almost every weekend to continue to help out with the family business and earn money for school. Combined with his OIT job, Skeehan has worked more than 40-50 hours per week while continuing his courses in international studies.
He’s learned valuable skills through his degree program, including the ability to read complex, dense materials quickly and efficiently to become a better researcher. More importantly, he’s been inspired to take his knowledge and use it to pursue change on a global level.
“I want to help people who otherwise have no way of speaking up for themselves,” said Skeehan. “I want to use what I’ve learned here to shine a light on persecutions and genocides around the world that few people are aware of, and through the exposure of my work, I hope to challenge world leaders to adopt a zero tolerance policy toward these actions.”
After graduation, Skeehan plans on working in Research Triangle Park in an IT role to pay off undergraduate loans and prepare himself for graduate school. Ideally, he’d like to pursue a Ph.D. in Middle Eastern studies and engage in policy consulting.
For now, he’s enjoying reflecting on his time at NC State, the relationships formed and lessons learned.
“The path to graduation hasn’t always been easy,” said Skeehan, “but I’m certainly proud to be completing my degree and I couldn’t be prouder to be a member of this Pack of ours.”
This post was originally published in Provost's Office News.