This spring, Park Scholarships Assistant Director of Communications Rachel Cox was nominated for a 2022 Award for Excellence. The award – the most prestigious honor bestowed upon nonfaculty employees at NC State — recognizes staff members for accomplishments and contributions that go above and beyond normal job responsibilities in seven categories.
Cox was nominated for the human relations category, which recognizes candidates who have made an outstanding contribution toward enhancing the quality or morale of the workplace or toward enhancing the public image of a department or division, NC State University, or state government.
Cox joined the Park Scholarships staff in 2019, where she leads the strategic development and execution of the program’s communications. This includes all of the program’s online content, website, and social media presence, the program’s print and digital annual report, print and online recruiting pieces, articles, a bimonthly newsletter, event promotion, email marketing and communications, and speeches and presentations for a wide variety of audiences.
Cox ensures that information about the opportunity of a Park Scholarship reaches a wide audience of high school students, counselors, and families. “This past fall, our applicants were the most diverse they have ever been in terms of race and ethnicity,” said Park Scholarships Director Eva Feucht. “There is no question that Rachel’s work made a major contribution to this growth.”
In fall 2020, Cox received the Accessibility Champion Award from the NC State IT Accessibility Office. The award recognizes individuals who are committed to making the NC State digital environment a more inclusive and accessible place. Cox was honored for resolving 236 accessibility errors on the Park Scholarships website and making the Park Scholarships annual report accessible.
Within the program, Cox has modernized departmental communications tools and enhanced the ability of students, faculty, and staff to communicate with each other. She has worked with numerous Park Scholars on writing articles, teaching them essential skills along the way.
The Park Scholarships program relies on philanthropic support and Cox has elevated the work of development staff within and beyond the department. Between creating stewardship materials, developing online content detailing diverse opportunities for supporting the program, enhancing solicitation messages, and developing Park community outreach about NC State Day of Giving, she has played a key role in growing the culture of giving back among the Park community.
She played an important role in a rigorous external review of the program this year, the culmination of 18-month’s work on a thorough 100+ page Self-Study. The recommendations detailed in the external review report have been used to guide improvements to the program this summer.
“Rachel continually strives to go above and beyond her job responsibilities,” said Senior Associate Director Joy Tongsri. “She is committed not to just communicating about the Park Scholarships program at an extraordinary level, but also cultivating an exemplary experience for our students.” This year, Cox led the development, execution, and analysis of a climate survey of current students. The responses to this survey are also being used to drive improvements to the program.
Strengthening and supporting the Park community is a clear priority for Cox. At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, she proposed and organized an “Undiscovered Luck” networking event open to the Park community. The virtual event helped students, alumni, and other community members build connections in a time of uncertainty and led to internship and employment offers.
“Beyond her professionalism, Rachel has made a concerted effort to strengthen a sense of community within the Park staff,” explained former Assistant Director of Development Dana Dubis. “She has dedicated time and energy into developing creative ways for the team to connect at a time when connections have proven both challenging and precious.”
Through her external and internal communications work, Cox has made a lasting impact. Her outstanding contributions have had a transformative influence and elevated the Park Scholarships program.