Every year at the Homecoming football game, two students are presented as the upcoming year’s Kansas State Student Ambassadors. One female and one male are chosen, and this year, Paige Engle, sophomore in public relations, was selected to serve as the female student ambassador for the 2017-18 year, according to the K-State Alumni Association’s website.
For Engle, the process to get here all started with a story about a young girl “growing up purple.”
“For the presentation round, we were given two to four minutes to present on the Homecoming theme, ‘Growing Up Purple,’” Engle said. “The advisers suggested to not use PowerPoint in order to show our creativity. I ended up making a children’s story about a little wildcat named Paige and her experiences growing up as a K-Stater.”
Engle said she decided to run for student ambassador after becoming a campus tour guide her freshman year and realizing the impact that connecting with prospective students had on her.
“I began working as a tour guide for New Student Services my freshman year and quickly found that interacting with prospective students was when I was happiest,” Engle said. “I decided to run for ambassador in order to show as many students as possible why K-State is the greatest college experience in the nation.”
The application process for running for student ambassador includes an application, an interview with a student panel and a faculty and staff panel, where the applicant gives a presentation, and finally the student body votes on the candidates during Homecoming week, according to the K-State Alumni Association’s website.
Engle said her favorite part about the whole process was Homecoming week, because she was able to get to know the other students running for ambassador.
“(Homecoming week) was low pressure and I got to hang out with a group of student leaders I have looked up to for a long time,” Engle said. “Getting to know Mario, Matt, Trent, Gaby and Ashley was a blast. On Wednesday night the six of us got cookie bakes at Mr. K’s and ended up talking for over two hours.”
The close-knit group and encouragement from all the students running is something Engle said she will always remember.
The male selection for student ambassador was Mario Garcia, junior in family studies and human services, according to the K-State Alumni Association’s website.
Engle said she and Garcia have a relationship that extends beyond college.
“The two of us actually met at Young Life camp when we were 15 and 16 and reconnected once we were both at K-State,” Engle said. “I have always thought very highly of him and cannot wait to start working with him. I feel extremely blessed to have him as my partner.”
Engle said she looks forward to meeting prospective students and alumni as student ambassador, as well as traveling to various parts of Kansas to represent K-State.
“Paige has the biggest heart, always puts others first and does everything thing she can to make K-State a better place,” Kaylee Engle, senior in public relations and Paige’s cousin, said. “Her values match K-State’s values, which makes her the perfect representative for our university.”
“I think ‘I talked to Paige Engle’ will be the start of a lot of people’s love stories about why they fell for this school,” Baylee Heitschmidt, sophomore in secondary education and English, said. “Her mindset will never waver from wanting what is best for students, but she will represent this school with so much grace.”
Kaylee said that Paige’s personality will make it easier for her to have success in her new role as student ambassador.
“Paige has a charismatic personality that will make it easy for her to connect with current K-Staters, prospective students and alumni extremely well,” Kaylee said.
Heitschmidt said Paige’s passion for K-State will help her succeed.
“She cares so much about this university and you can physically see her face light up when she talks about being a Wildcat,” Heitschmidt said. “I get goose bumps thinking about how she will make future students love this place as much as she does. She has been a huge K-State fan her entire life and talking about K-State is second nature to her.”
Through the long and emotional process, Paige said nothing would have been possible without her friends and family.
“Never in a million years would I have thought about running if it weren’t for the encouragement of my friends and family,” Paige said.
Paige also said this opportunity as a whole is a blessing that still hasn’t quite sunk in yet and her reaction after hearing her name as the next female student ambassador shows just that.
“I immediately started crying,” Paige said. “It all felt surreal. It still has not hit me yet. I am extremely honored and humbled to have been chosen.”