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Meet Outstanding Alumna Rachel Lloyd

From attending NC State as a last minute decision to graduating with a 4.0 GPA and being the keynote speaker at graduation last December, Rachel Lloyd, a recent NC State graduate with degrees in communication and political science and a minor in Spanish, moved from Chicago to Raleigh to find a forever home with the Wolfpack.

After losing a basketball scholarship with a small school in Virginia because of one too many concussions—six to be exact­—Lloyd quickly applied to three schools, one of which included NC State.

“I never thought I would attend NC State, but I could not have made a better decision,” said Lloyd. “College is what you make it.”

Rachel Lloyd shows her Wolfpack pride cheering on the team at Carter Finley before a big home game
Rachel Lloyd shows her Wolfpack pride cheering on the team at Carter Finley before a big home game

Lloyd, who excelled both in and out of the classroom, served as Director of Activities and Vice President of Communication in Delta Gamma, President of the Pre Law Students’ Association, member of the Entrepreneurship Initiative, an active participant in intramural sports and an NC State Diamond Girl.

“I am very ambitious, and I don’t give up,” said Lloyd. “I will find a way no matter what confronts me. I persevere.”

Originally a political science major, Lloyd found inspiration from an interpersonal communication class taught by the department’s undergraduate Head of Advising, Cynthia Zuckerman, and decided to add a communication major with a concentration in interpersonal, organizational and rhetorical communication to her already impressive resume.

“I just loved it,” said Lloyd. “I thought I was going to law school because my family is full of attorneys, but this class opened my eyes to the communication field.”

Lloyd then decided to pursue communication, took a master’s class as an undergraduate and worked as a research assistant in her senior year with Dr. Lynsey Romo. She helped Dr. Romo complete a qualitative research paper on dog ownership and the stigmas surrounding dogs bought at shelters versus dogs bought through breeders by interviewing 47 participants, transcribing and coding data and assisting with the literature review. She and Dr. Romo hope to have their study published in a scholarly journal soon.

Lloyd at the peak Huayna Picchu overlooking Machu Picchu
Lloyd at the peak Huayna Picchu overlooking Machu Picchu

Now about to travel to New Zealand through the NC State study abroad office to take a masters level communication class and complete an independent research project about how college students in New Zealand maintain autonomy and connections in romantic relationships, she hopes to eventually earn her Ph.D. and teach as a professor.

“It is rewarding to be able to encourage others and inspire people to see that anything is possible. I want students not to be afraid to explore their interests,” said Lloyd.

After taking various communication courses, Lloyd gave credit for her success and interest in graduate school to Dr. Lynsey Romo, Cynthia Zuckerman, Dr. Elizabeth Craig, Shannon Carey and Dr. Jessica Jameson. She said her research with Dr. Romo had a significant impact on her decision to apply to graduate school.

Even though Lloyd admits to over analyzing things instead of just letting them happen, she wants other students to know that worrying is the biggest waste of time possible.

“It’s ok to not know what you want to do. I thought I was going to go to law school up until July,” she said. “Surround yourself with other positive people, whether that’s friends, faculty or parents, and don’t be afraid to try new things and step out of your comfort zone. You’re in college for four years. It’s ok to change and try new things.”

Whether she’s cooking, blogging, exercising, watching a good movie or an exciting sports game, Lloyd knows that she made the most of her time at NC State and continues to look forward to what is to come.

“I plan on traveling to Australia to backpack along the east coast two-and-a-half weeks before I go to New Zealand,” said Lloyd. “But I know that no matter where I work, travel or study, I will always have a home at NC State.”