Nathan Campbell ‘24: Finding Family, Unity and Home

Family is what Multicultural Student Affairs (MSA) is to Nathan Campbell. Growing up, he spent weekends and summers in rural Robeson and Columbus counties, where his parents are from. His roots run deep in the Indigenous communities of North Carolina.

“I am an enrolled member of the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina. I am also involved with the Waccamaw Siouan Tribe of North Carolina,” Nathan said proudly. “My mother is Lumbee, and my father is Waccamaw Siouan.”

Nathan grew up in Clayton, North Carolina and came to NC State as a Computer Science major, not knowing many Indigenous peoples like himself. That all changed when a few older Indigenous students took Nathan under their wings during his first days on campus.

“They welcomed me and showed me around. Because of them, I had people to look up to and who I could relate to,” said Nathan. “I think it’s important to turn around and do the same thing in return for the future generation, which is why I decided to get involved with the Campus Community Centers.”

Why Nathan Chose Community Involvement

Nathan found his community at NC State through MSA. “MSA is family, unity and home,” he said. “It’s a place where you can come in and you know you’re not going to be judged or ridiculed. You’ll find people that look like you and grew up like you.”

The center provided Nathan with a welcoming space to decompress from the isolation he sometimes felt as a Computer Science major spending most of his time on Centennial Campus, away from the bustling main campus. Playing games, chatting with others and attending events through MSA gave him the sense of community he craved.

One of the ways Nathan got involved was through the Symposium for Multicultural Scholars program during his sophomore year. The four-day event is designed to help incoming freshmen, especially those from underrepresented communities, transition to college life. “I didn’t know about Symposium until my fraternity Brother from Phi Sigma Nu asked me to fill out a Symposium mentor form at the end of my freshman year,” said Nathan. “The biggest thing that mentors and mentees get out of Symposium is that relationship. These students are coming from sometimes underserved communities and groups. They need peers with shared, similar experiences to not only help them navigate campus, but thrive on campus, rather than just getting by.”

As a Symposium mentor, Nathan was matched with a group of around 20 new students to guide through that transition. In addition to mentoring them through the intimate personal challenges that many new students face, he taught them practical skills like navigating administrative systems and finding campus resources.

“We’d talk about how to navigate relationships, get involved and stay mentally healthy,” Nathan said. “It allowed me to be a listening ear and someone they could turn to, to give them a real, meaningful perspective that had their best interests in mind.”

How Community Shaped Nathan

Nathan’s experiences at MSA allowed him to expand his worldview and grow as a leader. “It’s nice because MSA is full of people of all backgrounds. So if you have a question about life, school, work or family, someone there will have an answer for you,” he said. “We come from these different backgrounds, but it’s interesting seeing how much we actually have in common.”

Working with MSA staff like Gavin Bell, assistant director of MSA, Nathan developed critical leadership abilities in a supportive environment. “I can’t say enough about Gavin’s genuine care,” said Nathan. “He maintains this open door policy, providing a space to talk about your feelings and guide you in the right direction when something’s bothering you.”

Nathan also highlighted Bell’s leadership role in NC State’s annual Powwow. The Powwow is a vibrant celebration featuring Native business vendors, traditional drum groups and diverse Indigenous dance styles. Originating as a way for tribal nations to unite and celebrate their identities, NC State’s Powwow showcases the beauty and resilience of Native peoples and offers a visual representation of their cultures and traditions.

Nathan’s Plans After Graduation

After graduation in May 2024, Nathan will be working for Bank of America as a Software Engineer in Charlotte, NC. “With my time in the center, I was able to see fellow students find success in their fields,” he said. “This gave me not only people to look up to but people who are willing to give resources to help others find that success.” Nathan hopes other Indigenous students will find the same empowerment by getting involved with MSA. “It’s a big step walking into a new space, but you’ll get a loud ‘Hello!’ and open arms here at MSA.”

– Interviewed and written by Annabella Battaglia-Moran (Communication ’24)