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Leader of the Pack FINALISTS • 2017

Atif Mahmood

Atif Mahmood

Junior – College of Sciences (Biological Sciences)

Charlotte, NC

I am a third-year student majoring in Human Biology, with minors in Business Administration and Spanish. I have established myself as a student leader at NC State through various university-affiliated programs and student-led organizations: I am a grateful member of the University Honors Program and the Goodnight Scholars Program, through which I serve as a Mentor of first-year students and have participated in an ASB trip. I am the Associate Captain of Wolf de Nakhre, NC State’s competitive Bhangra dance team, and also serve as Finance Chair of Navarasa, a classical Indian dance competition which donates its thousands of dollars in proceeds to a charity organization in India. For the past two years, I have served as a Co-Chair of Service Raleigh, an annual day of service that attracts around 2,000 volunteers from the NC State and surrounding communities. Aside from student organizations, I am a Teaching Assistant for Organic Chemistry and conducted undergraduate research in organic chemistry for about two years.

Brayndon Stafford

Brayndon Stafford

Senior – College of Natural Resources (Environmental Sciences)

Bailey, NC

On the surface, people see a fun, enjoyable, intelligent, charismatic, and loving Black male leader when they look at me, but what they do not see are all the obstacles I had to overcome, and are still overcoming, that brought me to where I am today. As the oldest of 7, I have grown to become a leader; not necessarily because I wanted to, but out of a need to survive. My parents split when I was 8, and though I was eventually blessed to reconnect with my dad many years later and build up our relationship again, at a young age I had to step up and be a strong big brother for my then 2 siblings and a strong son for my mom. We were also poor, many times with little food, sometimes no water, no lights, no heat, even being evicted on multiple occasions and living without a solidified home, so my childhood wasn’t easy. With life forcing me to become a leader at a young age, I knew I wanted to use those life lessons to be a positive example for others when I got to college, and to encourage others who were going through tough situations to find healthy and productive avenues to deal with them through leadership and service. I did this through completion of numerous community services opportunities and serving in multiple leadership roles in various organizations of my college career such as: serving as a YMCA mentor for 4 years, a group leader for a service ASB trip to D.C. to combat hunger and homelessness, as president of my fraternity, and as Student Body Vice President in the 2016-2017 academic school, just to name a few. I plan to not only motivate my family, but also my fellow Wolfpack students, to show them that they can be just as successful, if not more, regardless of what situation or background they come from.

Derya Pekari

Derya Pekari

Senior – College of Humanities and Social Sciences (Communication)

Rota, Spain

I moved to Raleigh, NC for my undergraduate career from Rota, Spain. A dependent of active duty military, I have lived all over the United States and overseas. I am the Co-Captain of the NC State Rifle Team and have found a home in NC State Athletics. I have served on the Student Athletic Advisory Committee for three years, and have been on the executive board for two. I have the privilege of helping organize volunteer opportunities and community outreach for NC State Athletics. Despite falling in love with Raleigh, I cannot shake the desire to travel and serve my country. After I graduate in May 2018 with a major in Communication Media and minors in Spanish, English, and Journalism, I plan on becoming an officer in the U.S. Navy. I have my eyes set on the skies and am in the process of applying to become a naval aviator.

Isabelle Babson

Isabelle Babson

Junior – College of Humanities and Social Sciences (Psychology & Sociology)

Raleigh, NC

I am a third-year student studying Psychology and Sociology with minors in both Spanish and Biology and after completing my undergrad I plan to pursue a masters in either Physical or Occupational Therapy. My wide array of scholastic interests all come back to my passion and desire to facilitate a diverse, inclusive community which fosters an environment of acceptance and support for one another. I am involved in many aspects of student life on campus including: intramurals, Greek life, various ambassador programs, and clubs. I am most proud of my involvement in the Mental Health and CHASS ambassadors programs because I feel like they allow me to represent my school to new and prospective students and show them my passion for NC State as well as allowing me to continue showing my dedication to the campus community by advocating for the students who often are unable to find their voice and reach out for help on their own. In addition to working I have also been interning this semester with an Occupational Therapist at the Frankie Lemmon School and Developmental Center to learn more about the nearly 11 million American children with developmental delays and disabilities and how policy and healthcare affect their well-being. Because of my involvement in the campus community I came to the realization that I have learned so much more than what I could’ve ever imagined I would when walking onto the campus nearly two and a half years ago but that I am still in constant pursuit of knowledge to help me become a better, more intentionally impactful, member of the NC State community.

Noah Riley

Noah Riley

Junior - College of Sciences (Genetics)

Virginia Beach, VA

I am a Junior majoring in Genetics with minors in Biotechnology and Japanese. I engage in an array of activities across campus, including participating in undergraduate research in biotechnology and working as TA for a Genetics course, College of Sciences Student Ambassador, GLBT Center Volunteer, and Journal of Reflective Inquiry Editor-in-Chief. I am passionate about intersectional queer liberation, new student success, and science.

Victor Eduardo

Victor Eduardo

Junior – College of Humanities and Social Sciences (Philosophy)

Morrisville, NC

I am a junior majoring in philosophy. Carving a unique path through NC State, I have worked relentlessly on my passion for fostering diverse and inclusive environments and making sure first-year students have successful and smooth "beginnings" as they join the Wolfpack. I have worked as a Resident Mentor in the Exploratory Studies Village and as an Orientation Leader for New Student Programs to mentor and support first-year student transitions, and also worked heavily on two major GLBT Center projects: a gender-inclusive restroom database and map, and an outreach project for high school GSA student clubs. Recently, I joined the leadership team for DEPTH, a grassroots peer-to-peer initiative working to facilitate difficult dialogues about diversity and inclusion on campus. My main goal: to leave the Wolfpack community better off with the pawprints I leave behind.

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