Wesley Wade ‘23PHD was surprised when he received the Chancellor’s Creating Community Award for Outstanding Staff during the Recognizing Excellence in Diversity (RED) Event held virtually on April 22, 2020. But, his child was not impressed.
“I was genuinely surprised by this award and felt really appreciated. I’m extremely grateful for this recognition,” he said. “When I heard my name, I jumped up and yelled, ‘I won’ to which my 3-year-old replied, ‘Shhh, I’m trying to watch TV.’”
The annual RED Event recognizes outstanding faculty, staff, colleges, students and student organizations that have made exceptional efforts and contributions in the areas of equity, diversity and inclusion. The Outstanding Staff award recognizes individuals who demonstrate excellence in the incorporation of diversity and inclusion beyond their administrative roles.
Wade, a doctoral student in the NC State College of Education’s Counseling and Counselor Education program, received the honor for his work at NC State’s Career Development Center, where he “regularly goes far above and beyond his professional duties to create and implement targeted support, mentoring and career initiatives for NC State students from diverse populations,” according to the nomination letter submitted on his behalf.
He has served in advisory positions for the Black Male Initiative and provided career advising services for the Military and Veteran Student Resource Center, co-created and facilitated the Students Moving Forward career program and done extensive work relating to students with autism, including developing a career summit for postsecondary students with autism in North Carolina.
Providing support to students with diverse backgrounds is important to Wade because he said he remembers how he felt when people advocated for him as an undergraduate student at NC State, as well as how he felt during times in his life when it seemed like nobody was in his corner.
“I told myself I would never forget either of those feelings. Students learn better when they are supported, understood and confident. They need to know their voice is heard,” he said. “For me, this award means I am exactly where I’m supposed to be and that people are aware of the same needs I see within our student population.”
Wade will continue to provide support as a counselor when he earns his Ph.D. in May 2023. He said he pursued counseling as a second career after his own life circumstances and needs led him to understand the importance of balancing mental health and career development. His goal, he said, is to be able to help people move past tough spots in their lives, reflect on what they want from life and be encouraged.
This post was originally published in College of Education News.