Celebrating our Global Graduates

While we are not able to celebrate with all of our graduates the way we normally would, the Office of Global Engagement wishes to congratulate the Class of 2020! These are unusual circumstances surrounding their last semester, but they don’t diminish the hard work our students have put in and all they’ve accomplished over the years.

Global Citizens and Graduates

Our graduates also took this opportunity to reflect on the journey they underwent during their time at NC State and how their experiences shaped them to become global citizens, ready to think and do on a global scale.

Halle Michalak, Business Administration

During my time at NC State, I was fortunate enough to spend a semester abroad, work at the Intensive English Program, and serve as a global ambassador. My involvement with the Office of Global Engagement produced many highlights of my undergrad experience.

I spent a semester studying business and German language in Germany as part of an international exchange program alongside students and faculty representing more than 90 different countries. My positive experience empowered me to get involved and promote global diversity and engagement when I returned to my home campus. I started working with international students with the Intensive English Program and joined the global ambassadors. Through these positions, I interacted with students from many different countries and cultures.

I became passionate about making our campus more welcoming to international students while also creating opportunities for NC State students to have international or intercultural experiences without leaving campus. As a global citizen, I will continue to let these passions motivate me to consider the greater community and apply global perspectives to all my future experiences.



Ramkumaar (“Ram”) Kovil Kanthadai, M.S. Computer Science

This past February, I noticed an email from OIS and registered for the Alternative Intercultural Service Break trip to Black Mountain, NC on the last day. It was one of the best decisions I made in the past 2 years I spent here. I enjoyed making new friends, trying to be helpful in a small way to the local community, and also meeting new different people throughout the whole week. It is only when we see the harsh realities in life that we remember how privileged we are. That trip provided me some perspective and helped set a few tiny goals on that path. And best of all, it was FUN.

To my fellow students: I would say to try new things, things that you wouldn’t normally do or haven’t done yet. The experiences I had were new, unexpected, and helped me walk a slightly different path than my normal one. I believe it was for the better. So, my suggestion would be to try a new club/activity or even a different road home and find some unexpected things about this vast world and our own self. 

There’s a saying in my mother tongue Tamil: “Yaadhum oore yaavarum kaelir” which loosely translates to “every place is home and every one our friends” and I’m looking forward to discovering new homes and a bigger set of friends and family.


Morgan Hunter, B.S. Textile Engineering – Product Engineering

Before studying abroad in Australia, I had never even left the East Coast. Every aspect of traveling was entirely new to me. However, I soon grew more comfortable in navigating my way through new cities, feeling confident in exploring different places, and meeting new people. This spring break, I was also able to visit London, England with a fellow student in my major. We explored textiles and fashion in the city, as well as everything else it had to offer. Having been two years since I studied abroad, this trip rejuvenated my passion for traveling. During both of my trips, I felt like I was living NC State’s slogan, “Think and Do.” Observing and understanding the new cultures around me, and doing my best to fully immerse myself in them.

During the rest of my time at NC State, I was a part of Pack Abroad Ambassadors, an organization dedicated to encouraging other students to study abroad and connect with international students on campus. The club has allowed me to share my love for international exploration, discussing my past experiences and how they changed the person I am today.

All the traveling I’ve done plus the connections I’ve made with students on campus have molded me into a global citizen. I believe this term means gathering your own personal experiences, understanding and appreciating the various cultures you encounter, and using that knowledge to better understand how your own culture is intertwined with them. I look forward to the day when I can continue traveling, but for now, I appreciate the experiences NC State gave me and will move forward with the knowledge I gathered from them.


Oscar Mejia Barahona, B.S. Nutrition Science

I will forever be grateful for NC State for the opportunities I have received and the friends I made. Coming into a university as a first-generation American and college student is a scary endeavor at first, but as time went on it became my home away from home. Growing up I had to learn the norms of the United States and because of Multicultural Student Affairs and other wonderful resources, it helped me connect with other minorities of different backgrounds. Although our cultures are different, we are like puzzle pieces as there’s always something that connects us. 

NC State helped me realize that my college experience is not limited only to the NC State campus, so it gave me that extra courage to study abroad for a whole semester in Florence. 

Through that, I was able to immerse myself in a culture that I never expected to visit during my college years. I then helped the Study Abroad office as a Global Diversity Advocate. With the experience I gained throughout my four years at NC State will better prepare me for the healthcare field to better understand those of different backgrounds than me.


Rosemary Pruneau, B.S. Microbiology

My active involvement as a Small Pack International Graduate Student Orientation Leader with the Office of International Services (OIS) brought me connections with people from around the world right on campus, and lead me to further seek out opportunities to travel and meet people with various cultural backgrounds. I was able to have dinners with the students where they told me stories about their lives back home. I was also able to bring these students to events on campus where we enjoyed new activities related to sports, music, and other interests. My work with this program continued every semester since my sophomore year.

As a student pursuing a career in healthcare, I was able to find a dental brigade trip through NC State that enabled me to volunteer in Honduras during the summer before my junior year. This program allowed me to network with other NC State students in my field, and it was an unparalleled learning experience that ignited my goal of doing dental work in underserved developing countries. This led to my participation in a study abroad program at the University of Oxford in England. I found that my education in England to be a time of cultural immersion and novel interactions, and it even incorporated a global perspective of my study of microbiology when we visited a village known as Eyam that was once a site of a plague epidemic.

During my senior year, I joined an Alternative Service Break to Philadelphia, where I learned about various world religions and grew my ability to have appropriate interfaith discussions. Overall, these college programs have led me to valuable mentors, life lessons, and a foundation of reverence for values around the world. The formation of this understanding is what I believe is my development as a global citizen. I’ve been able to “Think” these past years, and I am beyond ready to “Do” on a global scale.

I plan on attending dental school at UNC-Chapel Hill this fall, where I will go on to continue dental service work in other countries. I plan to receive an education that has an international perspective, with consideration for world health events so that I may be an effective health practitioner in my local area who also contributes to the progress of healthcare on a global scale.


Peet Chege, B.A. International Studies and B.S. Accounting

Coming into college with an intent to major in International Studies, building global acumen was at the top of my mind. I was excited about the interdisciplinary approach that the College of Humanities and Social Studies took as it gave me the flexibility to explore globalization. While my academic major gave me the theoretical knowledge, it is the on-campus activities and communities that have made me into a global citizen. 

Through the Office of Global Engagement, I have had the privilege to work with international students, serve as a global ambassador, attend cultural events (my favorite was the global film series), and one of the best experiences of my undergraduate career, studying abroad. The out-of-class global experiences I have garnered while at NC State have left me more prepared to go into this world. It was through the support of the Office of Global Engagement that I can recognize my impact on the world.


This post was originally published in Office of Global Engagement.