Poole Class of 2021 Spotlight: Amanda Wagoner
This spotlight series explores the relationships our graduating students have built during their time at Poole with their fellow classmates, faculty, advisors, career coaches, companies, partners or other people.
Amanda Wagoner, Jenkins MAC Program
During a year when people needed connection perhaps more than ever, Amanda Wagoner was thankful to have the opportunity to help build community among her classmates in the Jenkins Master of Accounting Program. However with in-person gathering limitations in place due to COVID, Wagoner, who received her undergraduate degree in accounting from the Poole College of Management, had to get creative.
As vice president of the MAC Organization, Wagoner and her fellow officers were up for the challenge.
“I was interested in joining the MAC Organization because I was extremely involved in organizations as an undergrad. I was the vice president of logistics of the peer career coaches for the Poole College of Management, a member of the NC State Accounting Society and held a director position in my sorority Zeta Tau Alpha,” Wagoner says. “I knew I wanted to join some type of organization during grad school because I wanted to continue to stay involved in my school and community. When I learned about the MAC Organization, I was extremely interested because it would be a great way to give back to my community and program, while also getting to know my fellow classmates.”
While COVID presented its share of challenges, Wagoner is thankful that the MAC program was able to deliver some in-person learning through a hybrid class schedule and small, social-distanced classrooms.
“While we were thankful for what we were able to do, it was not what we were used to,” Wagoner says. “Students were not able to bond as easily in this environment as we would in a normal scenario since we did not see each other as much in person.”
To try to create opportunities for MAC students to get to know each other in a more casual environment, the MAC Organization held Zoom socials that included team games and trivia.
“During Halloween, we even had a Halloween Costume Contest,” Wagoner says. “Students were very creative with the Zoom virtual backgrounds.”
And while the social aspect was important, Wagoner and other members of the MAC Organization also felt compelled to give back to the local community.
“In the fall, our program encouraged students to fundraise and donate to Feed the Pack. We also created a banner for the children in WakeMed’s Pediatrics department that said, “You Got This,” Wagoner explains. “To complete the banner, we had the banner set up in our study room in the Poole College of Management and had students individually stop by to attach photos to the banner in order to spell out the message. Some students wrote sayings or quotes with their encouraging photos.”
As some restrictions lifted during the spring semester, the organization looked for more opportunities to get together and give back.
“We volunteered with the NC State Waste Reduction and Recycling Department where we had a session to learn more about how to reduce waste and properly recycle, and participated in related community service activities,” she says. “We also went to the Raleigh Food Bank where we were able to package potatoes and carrots for distribution. Our students were excited to be able to finally volunteer in person.”
Wagoner hopes these activities to give back as a group hopefully aided students in developing meaningful connections with one another.
“I think most of my peers in the program craved more opportunities to connect with one another this year. We were lucky that during our program, we had a lot of group projects and group work,” Wagoner says. “The events the MAC Organization hosted allowed students to connect with the students they don’t see on a regular basis and allowed them to further expand their network.”