Leading the Pack

For Malasia McClendon ’20, one of her first memories at NC State was playing tennis with friends at Carmichael during her first few weeks of the Summer Start program during her freshman year. A political science major with a concentration in law and justice, she was active in cheerleading during high school but was looking forward to the less structured schedule that came with being involved as a college student. From there, she took group fitness classes and built a community around being well.

“Wellness and Recreation was one of the things I was most excited about when I first came to NC State,” said McClendon.

When stressed, McClendon finds herself visiting Carmichael as a release, or trying new activities, such as paddle boarding to refresh. This holistic view of well-being has influenced her perspective on life and how she views her personal wellness journey.

“Using Carmichael and focusing on wellness is a great outlet for stress relief and building relationships,” said McClendon. “It’s great to have a community and space for students to find the resources they need to live healthy and well.”

When she learned about an open position as a member services specialist in the fall of 2016, she applied and started in Spring 2017 semester.

“I love working for Wellness and Recreation. Its flexible and you get to interact with so many people, from users to prospective students, which I really love and connect them with the campus.”

Her experience has led her to not only focus on her well-being but also enhance her leadership skills.

For Malasia, leadership means putting forth maximum effort for the greater good, as well as being a mentor and modeling the way for others to develop their leadership style. “Everyone has leadership qualities. It is just who they meet and interact with,” she said.

She applies this in her role at Wellness and Recreation by individually connecting new hires, training and sharing information and encouraging additional involvement on-campus beyond their day-to-day responsibilities.

On Nov. 3, Malasia was the recipient of the Leader of the Pack Scholarship. The award, offered through Leadership and Civic Engagement, recognizes students who make outstanding contributions to NC State in the areas of leadership, scholarship and community service.

“It means a lot to be acknowledged for this award and chosen to represent the university on such a long scale. I hope it inspires others by challenging themselves by being a leader at NC State,” said McClendon.

“Malasia goes above and beyond what is expected at work. She consistently provides feedback on how processes can be improved so that Carmichael Complex users are ensured the best experience possible,” said Heather Gately, coordinator, member services, who is Malasia’s supervisor.  “She takes pride in her role, realizing the importance of providing equitable access to opportunities for health and wellness,”

“Working for Wellness and Recreation is one of the most unique opportunities I am involved with. The impact of serving others is a very rewarding feeling.”

Malasia McClendon receiving the Leader of the Pack award

Her involvement on-campus beyond Wellness and Recreation includes being a Chancellor’s Aide, president of the NC State Chapter of the NAACP, an undergraduate research assistant in the Department of Political Science and has worked as Summer Start mentor.

Her advice to students who are looking to develop leadership skills is to “take risks and be open to opportunities that you may be interested in pursuing. Part of leadership is being involved in many diverse things to find your passions.”

When Malasia graduates, she plans on working toward a dual degree in public policy and law. She hopes to practice law with a focus on education policy and family law. Her other aspirations include starting a non-profit and becoming an author.