From the beginning, Reid Harris knew the fit wasn’t right between him and his previous university. “I just felt like I was lacking in a couple different areas there and I knew NC State was the place to be,” said Harris.
It was that disconnect which drove Harris to transfer to NC State University but, upon his arrival, he realized— like many transfer students— it can be difficult to seek out a community to call his own.
“I was excited to be here. This had been a dream for a long time, to come to NC State,” said Harris, “I struggled a little bit in the beginning with finding community, finding a friend group. I struggled with, of course, the academic challenge. And I also struggled with just finding ways to get involved on campus.”
That’s when Harris says he reached out to NC State’s New Student Programs (NSP) in the Division of Academic and Student Affairs. His email landed in Assistant Director Genna Martella’s inbox.
“When Reid first transferred to NC State, he was one of those rare students who had the courage and vulnerability to reach out and ask for help about making connections as a transfer student,” said Martella. With the primary mission of NSP being to meet the holistic needs of each new NC State student and create a foundation of success, Martella had no shortage of opportunities waiting for Harris.
“She actually sent me a ton of different resources, probably more than I needed,” said Harris, chuckling during our interview in the Talley Student Union. Harris begin attending a weekly social by NSP, aimed at helping transfer and first-year students find community. From the connections he made at the social, Harris went on to assist NSP as an Orientation Leader and now, as a senior, interns with University Admissions— in both leadership roles, helping incoming transfer students find their place.
“After getting involved with New Student Programs and Admissions, it’s completely worked itself out,” said Harris, “I felt like I should do all I can to help other transfer students in their transitions… so I wanted to make sure I was doing all I could to help.”
In His Words
As Harris’ college career approaches a new chapter with his graduation in the Spring of 2020, Harris hopes future transfer and first-year students follow his, and many other students’ lead: “I think the main takeaway from my story and the best advice I could give a transfer student is to take the first step. It can be both challenging and it can be kinda scary to take that first step but if you can send that email, like in my case, or apply to that job. If you can introduce yourself to people in your classes or your professors. It will all work itself out.”
For his leadership and dedication to improving the NC State University community, Reid Harris was recognized as a Howling Success by the Intern Vice-Chancellor and Dean of the Division of Academic and Student Affairs Lisa Zapata.
Howling Success nominations are open and can be submitted by any NC State University faculty or staff member.