NC State’s Alumni Association pays special attention to students who emerge as campus leaders, knowing the special traits these undergraduates hone here will serve them – and the wider world – once they graduate. Each year, the Alumni Association recognizes a few of the university’s seniors who are role models for leadership and service with the Mathews Medal. Two of the three 2018 recipients are Humanities and Social Sciences students:
Adora Grace Nsonwu has double majors in Anthropology and in English (Language, Writing and Rhetoric). She is both a Caldwell Fellows Scholar and a Shelton Scholars Fellow. She has served as the president and vice president of the W.E.B. DuBois Honor Society, an organization of 120 high-achieving multicultural college students who focus on scholarship, service and leadership. She and her fellow society members work with minority children at Vital Link private preschool to foster cultural understanding.
As an intern for NC State’s Project Youth Extension Service (Project Y.E.S!), Adora worked with children ages six to 18 all over the nation to help them manage the complicated journey of life as a child in a military family. She has also served as a service-learning teaching assistant for Habitat for Humanity and as a Habilitation Technician for Lindley Habilitation Services .
She has been a resident mentor for Wood Wellness Village; an intern for the Shelton Leadership Center; and a member of the Afrikan American Student Advisory Council. She also served as the Caldwell Fellows leader for Shack-A-Thon, a student-run fundraiser that helps bring awareness to the issue of affordable housing.
In 2016, Nsonwu also traveled with a delegation of students and service providers on a 21-day trip to Malaysia to learn about forced migration of Rohingya refugees. More recently, she recently conducted ethnographic research with Muslim American women in Raleigh and also helped present the results of a 2018 NC State diversity workshop, Art United.
Kamrie Risku is graduating with a major in political science and a minor in sociology. She honed her leadership skills through the Union Activities Board, which is charged with providing innovative programs that inspire and motivate NC State’s entire student body. First, as Diversity Activities Board chair, Kamrie expanded Diversity Education Week. As UAB vice president, she planned the 2016 Red and White Week Homecoming Concert while clarifying some internal governing processes of the board. This year, as president of the UAB, Risku managed the organization’s $600,000 budget, directed 18 board members and established the organization’s goals and vision. She also served on the Packapalooza planning committee, as a mentor for multicultural student affairs and as standards chair of the NC State chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha.
When student government sponsored a Racial Climate Town Hall in 2016, Risku served as a panelist. She conducted research into how peer institutions handled bias incidents and reported her findings, calling for social change. She worked alongside the leadership of the Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity and the Office of Student Conduct to develop a bias incident response team and to increase inclusiveness in three campus programs: student involvement, new student programs and multicultural student affairs.
“Kamrie excels as a student leader on campus,” says Jermisha Dodson, associate director of student involvement at NC State. “But what sets her apart from other student leaders is her passion for justice and community building, and her ability to effectively work with an incredibly diverse population, including students, faculty and staff, administrators and community partners.”
The Mathews Medal program is administered by the Alumni Association Student Ambassadors Program and is named after Walter J. Mathews, a dedicated, devoted and involved student and alumnus who embodied the ideals of the award. Congratulations to all the medalists.