Viking Spotlight: Amanda Raynor Brings Big Ideas to Life

For the past several years, Amanda Raynor has been committed to helping create lasting memories and rich experiences for students at Sampson Community College. As the Student Engagement Coordinator, Raynor interacts with students regularly and creates meaningful relationships. Now, as the College settles into a new normal, Raynor’s passion for student engagement persists.

Raynor first began her time at Sampson Community College as a student, when she returned to complete her associate degree. As a student, she began a work-study position in the Workforce Development and Continuing Education division, where she was hired full-time after graduation.

In 2016, Raynor made the move to Student Services and took on her current role as Student Engagement Coordinator. In that, she wears several hats—from Student Government Advisor to Career and College Promise advisor— but she remains fully committed to each role. Raynor sees each as an opportunity to create an inviting atmosphere on campus where students feel excited to be Vikings.

“I want the students to feel welcome and accepted and like their needs and interests are being met while they are with us,” Raynor shared. “I love to plan the seminars, festivals, and events and see the excitement and enjoyment on the students’ faces and even the staff and faculty.”

As Student Engagement Coordinator, Raynor also serves as an advisor for the Student Government Association, where she’s able to build relationships and find support for several different ideas that she cooks up. Ideas including the Viking Fuel Food Pantry, which Raynor started in November of 2018, after learning of the food insecurity needs of college students in North Carolina.  

Amanda Raynor compiles bags for the Viking Fuel Food Pantry at SCC for students affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. (Cheyenne McNeill)

“It is my job to support our students in every way possible and a food pantry on our campus was definitely needed,” Raynor noted.

Raynor’s drive and passion in each of her roles do not go unnoticed by coworkers and leaders at SCC. Last fall, the College named Amanda Raynor as a finalist for its Excel Award. Carlie McPhail, Career and College Promise Assistant & Advisor, says that Raynor’s personality makes her a joy to work around.

“Amanda has an amazingly fun and bright personality. She always makes a room light up and brings a smile to everyone’s face around her. Not only is Amanda fun to be around, but she is such a kind, humble person as well. The students love her just as much as she loves them,” McPhail remarked.

“Amanda is a wonderful advocate for our students and is always willing to go the extra mile on their behalf. She brings great energy to campus events and puts her heart and soul into making student life engaging,” said Lisa Turlington, Director of Advancement.

For Raynor, the most rewarding part of her job is the relationships she gets to create with students. Their questions and want to do and know more pushes her to expand her knowledge, allowing her to grow and improve in her role every day. Students see Raynor as a sounding board for their biggest ideas, and she tries her hardest to accomplish all that she can for students at the College.

Last fall a group of students came to Raynor asking to begin an intramural soccer league. Raynor says beginning the league was a challenge—especially considering her lack of soccer knowledge—but the intramural league continues to be one of her favorite career moments.

Amanda Raynor (bottom row, center) pictured with one of the intramural soccer teams. (Michael Blankenship)

“I have met so many wonderful students and watching them play and getting to know them has been one of the highlights of my career. The sportsmanship and overall excitement and appreciation from them is humbling and I couldn’t be prouder of them,” she commented.

Still, with courses moved completely online and students off-campus, Raynor’s drive continues. Recently, she organized the #SCCTikTokChallenge, a chance for students to create videos on the popular social media app and compete for a gift card. Just last week, Raynor announced the start of a recreational e-sports league, beginning April 19.

“These past few weeks have been very challenging, but this is the perfect avenue to continue to engage students. There are a few more ideas up my sleeve for the remainder of the spring semester,” she expressed.

In many ways, Raynor grows as her students grow. As she takes on new challenges and new roles, every new idea allows her to flourish. At graduation each year, Raynor watches tearfully as special students walk across the stage into the next chapter of their lives, happy to have played a small part in their journey.

“These students have no idea how much they mean to me and have brought so much joy to my life. I love seeing them evolve and succeed while they’re with us,” Raynor exclaimed.

Over the years, Sampson Community College became a foundational place for Amanda Raynor, both as a student and an employee. She encourages anyone—fresh out of high school or looking to come back to school—to consider enrolling at SCC. She welcomes everyone interested to join the “small tight-knit family” at Sampson Community College.