andie alford

Some engineering students may be admonished for their lack of good writing skills, but not Andie Alford. Alford, a fourth-year studying industrial systems engineering and science, technology and society, integrates their role as Nubian Message Editor-in-Chief with their studies at NC State.

Starting out as a copy editor, Alford joined the staff thanks to a gentle push from current Managing Editor Elikem Dodor, a fourth-year studying science, technology and society. Although Alford takes part in plenty of other extracurriculars, from the National Society of Black Engineers to the Benjamin Franklin Scholars program, they carve out time for Nubian Message as a creative outlet.

“There’s no stimulation for literature and writing in engineering,” Alford said. “A lot of people look down on it and think it’s not important. So because it’s something that I like, I wanted to make time to do something like it.”

Having come from a very small high school with no prior newspaper experience, all Alford knew going into their college years was they liked to write and edit. With Dodor’s help and expertise, that led them to Nubian Message.

Although the publication takes up a sizable portion of Alford’s free time, they enjoy forming personal connections with each writer and editor in order to foster a sense of community on staff.

“Sometimes I might send them memes and stuff,” Alford said. “I include this as part of being editor because one of the things I said I wanted to do when I interviewed for the position was to create a sense of belonging and a sense of camaraderie on staff. I want everyone to feel like they’re more than whatever their role is.”

In the midst of the “organized chaos” that occurs biweekly on the third floor of Witherspoon Student Center, one of Alford’s favorite aspects of Nubian Message is the publication’s playlist, refreshed in every new issue according to that week’s content.

“The staff works together throughout the two days [of publication] to work on a playlist,” Alford said. “It really depends on what kind of articles we have. Like, one of our favorite playlists was when everyone in the office was a little depressed that week. So we made a ‘sad boy’ playlist, and all of the articles were about sad things so it all fit.”

With all the uncertainty surrounding the media and censorship in the age of COVID-19 and divisive politics, Alford said one of Nubian Message’s goals is to voice Black students’ opinions and concerns at a predominantly white institution.

“I noticed that people weren’t really comfortable talking to a newspaper in general,” Alford said. “So I had to kind of explain, we’re not going to censor your voice, we want you to feel like you can tell us what’s going on and how you feel about being on campus, because a lot of times, Black students feel more comfortable talking to someone who looks like them.”

Beyond giving Black students a voice, Alford and their team strive to foster a sense of community among Black and minority students at NC State.

“I try to make sure that all of my friends get a copy,” Alford said. “And sometimes it’s nice to have a paper that highlights things that Technician doesn’t always highlight all the time. We cover Black art, Black entrepreneurship, we also try to get into different cultures, but in a respectful way.”

At the end of the day, Alford works extremely hard to balance their studies and Nubian Message, even if that means skipping parties on the weekends to catch up on homework.

“I fight so hard for us to have the best things and for us to make sure that we put out the best product because, at the end of the day, it’s like a piece of me is in the paper every time,” Alford said. 

Culture Editor

I am a first-year student studying biology with a minor in technical and scientific communication. I joined Technician as a correspondent in August 2020, and I am currently the Culture Editor.