Student ambassadors pay it forward

By Beth Hatcher

You might see them leading tours through Carroll Hall, listing off facts and history tidbits of the school for groups of prospective students. Or you might spot them assisting at events like New Student Orientation. 

Who are they? They are the Hussman School Ambassadors, members of a student initiative created in 2012 to help future and current students best navigate and succeed in the school. 

The 15 students serving as ambassadors this year are pictured below.

Top row, left to right: John Ratkowiak ’23, program manager, Caroline Coelho ’23, vice president, Grace Wilson ’22, Sabrina Ortiz ’22, Emma Amaglo ’22; second row, left to right, Gabriella Torres ’23, Cullen Duval ’23, Noah Dolgoff ’22, Aubrey Austin ’23, Jehan Ramji ’22; third row, left to right, Rachel Ruth ’22, Chloe Yopp ’22, Charity Cohen ’22, Alasdair McNinch ’23, Alexis Harper ’22. Ratkowiak and Coelho are also pictured at top right.

"Hussman School Ambassadors are really important for a school that prides itself on storytelling. There are no better people to give the great details of our story than current students,” said Jay Eubank, director of career services at the school. “The ambassadors play so many important roles in the school, including being one of the first impressions for UNC students, prospective students, alumni and friends of the school. I personally love all the ambassadors do because it embodies one of the key traits of our students and alumni: a willingness to pay it forward.”

Robin Heavner Jackson, the school’s director of alumni and donor relations who helped implement the program, agreed. "The Hussman Ambassadors are exemplary representatives of the school and the UNC Hussman spirit,” Jackson said.

For many of the ambassadors, the role means giving back to the school by creating the same welcoming environment they felt as new and prospective students at Hussman.

“I still remember my tour of the journalism school that I took in 2017, and it played a big part in me deciding to come to Carolina,” student ambassador Grace Wilson said. “I knew I wanted to become a Hussman School Ambassador during my New Student Orientation when I was a freshman. I remember the ambassadors answering everyone's questions and sharing their experiences, and I knew I wanted to be able to represent the school like that one day.”

Other ambassadors echoed Wilson’s sentiment, with Caroline Coelho, ambassador vice president, noting that she wanted to add to the school’s environment of inclusivity.

“I wanted to be a voice for the international student community and give back to a school that has given me so much,” said Coelho, a native of Brazil.

Emma Amaglo, who was born in West Africa, also understands that need of creating a feeling of inclusivity at the school.

“I love interacting with the other ambassadors, prospective students and the faculty members,” Amaglo said. “This role gives me the opportunity to show people how the Hussman School has helped me get to where I am today, and how they can also take advantage of all the resources available so they can also succeed.”

Rachel Ruth said she wanted to create that same sense of home she found when she walked into Carroll Hall. “As a freshman, I struggled to find my place at UNC. When I discovered Hussman, I felt as though I found my home. From welcoming peers to enthusiastic faculty, Hussman provided me with a sense of belonging here at UNC,” Ruth said. “I love being able to connect with prospective students and share my own wonderful experiences at Hussman.”

Alexis Harper knew she wanted to be a Hussman School Ambassador after hearing other students speak highly of the program.

“After hearing the various discussions on how the ambassadors assist in various ways throughout UNC Hussman, I couldn't help but be interested in applying,” Harper said. “The ability to work alongside students and faculty who are passionate about media and journalism is easily one of my favorite aspects about this program. Everyone is eager to ensure we grant the best experience to students. We do everything we can to give a helping hand throughout the year.”

Learn more about the Hussman School Ambassador program, and how you can apply to be an ambassador, here.