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Be Your Best Self: Sam Chan Named Leader of the Pack

Sam Chan holds Leader of the Pack award at Carter-Finley Stadium
Sam Chan was announced as Leader of the Pack during halftime of the Homecoming football game on Nov. 9.

Sam Chan, a senior double majoring in political science and communication, is the 2019 recipient of NC State’s Leader of the Pack scholarship.

The award program recognizes students who make outstanding contributions to the university in the areas of leadership, scholarship and community service. Chan was among six finalists, which included two other students from Humanities and Social Sciences. 

“I was shocked. There were so many other incredible finalists,” Chan says. “I’m excited to use this platform throughout the year to share my experience.” 

Chan, who is from Cary, serves as a mental health ambassador on campus and co-host of #PassTheMicYouth, an NC State Extension podcast and blog about youth activism. She says it’s important for her to share not only successes, but lessons learned over the past few years.

“I absolutely love NC State, but it took me a while to fall in love with it,” Chan says. ”During my first year, I was kind of lonely and hadn’t found my group of friends yet. I think that’s something we often don’t talk about.

“NC State really is a supportive family here to empower you and inspire you to be your best self. There are so many different groups and resources to utilize.”

Chan is the founder of the Exploring Mental Health in the Asian Pacific Islander Desi American (APIDA) Experience event, which is entering its third year. Panelists explore topics such as the model minority myth, talking about mental health with family and more.

“Mental health issues are stigmatized in the Asian American community,” Chan says. “They’re not talked about, and there’s a lot of shame. It’s a very powerful event to unpack those stigmas.”

Chan says there are endless ways to get involved at NC State. That’s why she encourages other students to find their passions — and become leaders in their own right.

“Awards don’t determine your self worth,” Chan says. “The work you do on campus is very important.”

Chan says her time in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences has allowed her to explore new opportunities, internships and experiences on campus. After graduation, she hopes to pursue a career that combines her two majors — doing communication work for a political campaign in North Carolina.

“I have incredible professors who have looked over my cover letters, given me advice when I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do next,” Chan says. “They’ve supported me and believed in me when I needed that.”

Chan was announced as Leader of the Pack during halftime of the Homecoming football game on Nov. 9. She will receive a $3,000 scholarship and a class ring. 

Chan joins a growing list of Humanities and Social Sciences students who have won the award since 2016. Past recipients include Malasia McClendon (Political Science, won in 2018), Victor Eduardo (Philosophy ‘19, won in 2017) and Kati Scruggs (Women’s and Gender Studies, Applied Nutrition Science ‘18, won in 2016).