2014 African American Symposium Counselors

Gift Coker

Hometown: Charlotte, NC
Year: Junior
Major/College: Bioprocessing Science

Interesting Fact:
Although I grew up in Greensboro, NC my family is originally from Nigeria. West African pride! Oh and I’ve been there to visit!

Why I Am Excited About Being A Symposium Counselor:
The most exciting thing about being a counselor for the 2014-2015 Symposium, is getting to meet and interact with students that remind me of myself during my early days as an NC State student. More importantly, I am looking forward to helping students interact with one another and begin to build relationships that will last their entire college career. Lastly, I can’t wait to share with students all of the tips, strategies, resources, and secrets to success that will help them meet the challenges they will face as a minority student here at NC State.

Zakiya Toney

Hometown: Cary, North Carolina
Year: Junior
Major/College: Architecture, College of Design

Interesting Fact:
Zakiya means “intelligent” in Swahili and “pure” in Arabic.

What I am Looking Forward to at Symposium:
I am looking forward to meeting the future of the Wolfpack and learning about their current interests, things they would like to get involved in and the impact that they wish to have on their communities!

Desmond Sellman

Hometown: Charlotte, NC
Year: Senior
Major/College: Communication with a Media concentration, CHASS

Interesting Fact:
I am President of the Eta Omicron chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. Why I am Excited About Being A Symposium Counselor: As a Symposium Counselor: I have a genuine passion for mentoring younger people and I zealously look forward to making a positive impact on the incoming freshmen at NC State.


Alex Starnes

Hometown: Durham, North Carolina (BullCity!)
Year: Junior
Major/College: Double Major in Computer and Electrical Engineering – College of Engineering

Interesting Fact:
I love inspirational quotes! i.e. “Put your heart, mind, and soul into even the smallest acts. This is the secret to success.”

What I am Looking Forward to at Symposium:
I look forward to meeting new students who are not only excited be at NC State, but also are looking to get involved in the African American community.

Maurita Harris

Hometown: Fairfield, NC
Year: Senior
Major/College: Psychology/CHASS
Interesting Fact:
I went to early college!

What I am Looking Forward to at Symposium:
I am looking forward to meeting all of the incoming freshman and helping them start their year off strong.

Tolu Oyelowo

Hometown: Wake Forest, NC
Year: Junior
Major/College: Biomedical Engineering, College of Engineering

Interesting Fact:
I lived in Nigeria for 5 years of my childhood, but surprisingly, I have no memories from that time!

Why I am Excited About Being A Symposium Counselor:
I am excited to interact with the incoming African American students, and engage them in campus activities early! Also, I met my best friends at Symposium, so my goal is to help foster an environment where students can build long lasting relationships that propel them toward success throughout their undergraduate experience and beyond!