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Alumni

Meet Rachel Harris — Entrepreneurship Ambassador, Engineer and Singer

Rachel Harris sat down to reflect on her time at NC State and the impact NC State Entrepreneurship had on her as graduation approaches.

To say that her college career has been a show-stopping performance is an understatement. Rachel Harris came to NC State University from Shelby, North Carolina, and will be graduating this May with a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering with a minor in Vocal Performance. She served as an Entrepreneurship Student Ambassador, an Entrepreneurship Scholar, and an Engineering Ambassador, not to mention she was heavily involved as a member of the NC State Choir and a founding member of Chordination A Cappella.

Being Involved with NC State Entrepreneurship

Rachel found NC State Entrepreneurship in her second year at NC State. When she first got involved with the community something clicked as she began developing her entrepreneurial mindset. This helped her to connect her passions and utilize more technical and creative skills in her life.

Since joining the ensemble of Entrepreneurship Ambassadors in the fall of 2020, she has reflected on a common theme in all of her passions. For her, it is about connecting with others and that is one of the biggest reasons she got involved with NC State Entrepreneurship. High notes of her time include working with a diverse set of students and with the NC State Entrepreneurship staff. She said, “it has been great to help plan events and encourage more students to get involved with the program.” 

In addition to being a part of the Entrepreneurship Ambassador program, Rachel also lived at the Albright Entrepreneurs Village in Wolfe Ridge. Here she got the opportunity to live with like-minded student entrepreneurs. She is thankful to have also been selected as an Entrepreneurship Scholar and noted “it has given me the flexibility to take advantage of more opportunities as an NC State student while also making it affordable.”

Additional Campus Involvement

Outside of the entrepreneurship community, Rachel was making a big impact on NC State. She served as an Engineering Ambassador which helped shape her college career as she was able to share the importance of STEM with others. This role gave her the opportunity to connect with K-12 students and guide them through engineering challenges on a weekly basis. She also worked with first-year engineering students to help bridge their passions with a particular engineering discipline. 

Another large part of her college performance revolved around the NC State Music Department where she took music minor classes and sang with the choir. But, what really captures the spotlight of her music career at NC State is her a cappella group, Chordination. 

Chordination A Cappella started out as an idea when the pandemic hit and Rachel felt lonely, stuck and looking for a way to express her creativity. Originally, she thought it was not something she could do. But with a lot of help and determination, the group was formed in July 2020. There were many obstacles they faced as the pandemic swept the nation – Zoom rehearsals, building relationships virtually, audio and video editing and more. 

None of this was going to stop Rachel and her friends. She was able to use her growth mindset to overcome these challenges and be successful. Because of their hard work and determination, the group won the 2021 International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella (ICCA) South Quarterfinals. “I really enjoy making music with this amazing group of people and I’ve also been able to learn a lot about leadership through this experience. It was so rewarding to see my team succeed in our first year as a group,” commented Rachel.

Recommendations on How to Get Involved

Nothing stopped Rachel from taking advantage of the resources available and being heavily involved with the entrepreneurship programs at NC State. She frequently attends Started at State events, Mentorship Meetups, and other large events like Entrepalooza and eGames.

Entrepreneurship is for anyone and you do not have to have a business to be an entrepreneur.

“If you’re on the fence about getting involved with Entrepreneurship, don’t be! What do you have to lose? Entrepreneurship is for anyone and you do not have to have a business to be an entrepreneur,” said Rachel. She brought light to the idea that she has been able to develop her entrepreneurial mindset through the program activities and that in turn has helped her be a more well-rounded student and person. 

Plans After Graduation

While Rachel is still in the process of deciding what her plans post-graduation will be, she does feel that NC State has prepared her well for what is to come in a variety of ways. She shared that the biggest lesson that has prepared her is “the importance of seeking out opportunities and using my resources. I feel like I’m a pro at that by this point and I’m so excited to take this lesson with me outside of college.” 

Another important lesson she will take into consideration as she starts the next chapter of her life is how important it is to be supportive and to find a good support system. Rachel mentioned that she would not have been able to accomplish half the things she did without the help of the community she found here. She said, “my goal as I graduate is to continue shaping the relationships I’ve built here while also seeking out new ones to help me navigate life as a young adult.”

Connect with Rachel on LinkedIn.

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