‘Design Family’ Helps Student in Need
One of the advantages of the College of Design is its size. With around 850 students, the college is the smallest at NC State. This creates a close-knit design community that feels like family. Students and faculty not only get to know each other well, but they also come together to help each other when needed. Rachael Haas, an architecture graduate student, recently learned firsthand how it feels to be part of the College “design family.”
Haas came to NC State with an undergraduate degree in graphic design from the Kansas City Art Institute in Missouri. She had heard great things about the College from alumni and her undergraduate professors, so when her application was accepted, Haas moved sight unseen across the country. “It’s been really exciting, but it’s also been very stressful. Because I am an out-of-state student, I have out-of-state tuition… finding funds has been difficult,” Haas said.
As an undergraduate, Haas worked full time to cover school expenses, but as a graduate student, she was hoping to spend her time learning and working creatively. To make that happen, Haas has been very open about her situation. “When I first moved here, I started a dialogue with David [Hill], the head of our department, to keep lines of communication open about anything. That’s when he first suggested that he could pay me for designing lectures series posters.”
In addition to using her graphic design background to design posters and other projects for the School of Architecture, Haas also works as a teaching assistant for the College. But she’s still living on a very tight budget. Haas said that her situation was very stressful over the summer when she couldn’t get together enough funds to cover her expenses for the next semester. “I was one day away from moving back home… but David was like ‘don’t leave. I’m going to find out what I can do.’ It was so nice to know that link is there. When I have an issue, I can just go to him honestly and openly.”
“I was one day away from moving back home… but David was like ‘don’t leave. I’m going to find out what I can do.’ It was so nice to know that link [help] is there.”
With help from her grandma and money from a special College of Design Student Giving Day fund and the College of Design General Scholarship, Haas was able to stay on campus and continue working on her master’s degree. The Student Giving Day fund was created with money collected from a College carnival where students donated a few dollars here and there and the dean and associate dean of the College matched the donations. The funds were earmarked for a student in need with few strings attached—only that they be used for educational expenses in some regard.
Haas was thrilled to receive the aid. “It’s amazing, but it’s not surprising,” Haas says, that students and faculty would give like they did. “People are so willing to be helpful and there are many of my classmates that go above and beyond. They have been so helpful and gracious to me,” Haas says. “When you get funds that are needed like this, it’s an embrace and encouragement to really push hard and keep going to that final finish line of graduation.”
“When you get funds that are needed like this, it’s an embrace and encouragement to really push hard and keep going to that final finish line of graduation.”
The Student Giving Day may have been a one-time event, but the spirit of generosity that created it is ingrained in the College and alumni. Haas thinks that gracious spirit of students, faculty, and alumni is one of the major strengths of the College. She says that the giving spirit and the family feel of the College “enforces my choice to come here.”
Staci Kleinmaier is a professional writer and photographer in Apex, North Carolina. She uses words and images to tell stories. To see her work, visit www.stacikleinmaier.com.