N.C. A&T Student Government Association (SGA) held their spring inauguration where the new electees for the next year’s positions were officially appointed. The 15th and 87th Mister and Miss N.C. A&T was finally initiated on April 20 and can begin their terms as royalty.
The 87th Miss A&T is Zaria Woodford, a junior liberal studies student from South Jersey. The newly elected Miss A&T detailed her experience in Aggieland and her journey as a student at a historically Black institution.
Woodford began her Aggie journey in the fall of 2018. At first, she didn’t consider any Historically Black Colleges or Universities (HBCU) however, after her first visit to N.C. A&T things changed quickly.
“Both of my parents graduated from Delaware State University so my viewpoint on HBCUs was that they were small and wouldn’t benefit me,” Woodford said. “Once I was invited to A&T for scholars day and was able to see the campus and students. I knew this is where I wanted to go to school.”
During her freshman year, she joined the judicial council and that was her first introduction to SGA. Working under the Attorney General and being around all the senators motivated Woodford to one day be a part of SGA.
So the following year she decided to run for Miss Sophomore and won.
“Being Miss Sophomore was an experience that was extremely eye-opening,” Woodford said. “Though that year did get cut short, I grew so much as a person and learned how to work in a professional setting.”
Near the end of her sophomore year, Woodford ran for Attorney General—a position she always wanted since she aspired to be a lawyer post-graduation.
“During my campaign for AG, we got sent home due to COVID-19 so it was a struggle networking with students,” Woodford said. “My opponent was a heavy hitter so I knew I could not let the pandemic affect this campaign.”
In the end, Woodford won the election and was appointed the position ahead of her junior year. As Attorney General, Woodford made it her mission to improve the communication between the students, faculty and local police to better the Greensboro community as a whole.
She started the Safety Advisory Board Council, a committee filled with faculty, students and law enforcement. This gave students outside of SGA a place to voice their opinions on issues going on around campus and the community.
“This was a long and drawn-out process that I was trying to get approved for a long time,” Woodford said. “I knew to give constructive criticism on something I had to put myself in the other’s shoes. So I was talking to law enforcement and understanding what they do daily so when we did have an issue we can go about it accordingly.”
Woodford also revised the student complaint form where students can now access the form easily on N.C. A&T’s main website.
“I wanted to make sure the students were aware that their voice does matter,” Woodford said. “This form wasn’t only for law enforcement issues. If you had a bad experience in the cafe or with a professor, I want you to let the school know so it can be documented.”
With everything she was doing for SGA and the Greensboro community, running for Miss A&T was always a thought for Woodford.
While attending the Kings and Queens conference in New Orleans last July, seeing the different royal courts from each university steered her to run for the prestigious title even more.
During her campaign for Miss A&T, Woodford brought Candy Land to life and took students through a “sweet adventure” with her colorful flyers. Not to mention, showcasing her rapping skills in a video featuring the 15th Mister A&T Josh Suiter.
“I knew during this campaign I wanted to make people smile,” Woodford said. “From my theme and talents, I wanted people to have a positive emotion when they see me or my campaign.”
As Miss A&T, Woodford plans on creating a “golden bridge program,” which essentially would be a program between SGA & hometown orgs where they will go to the cities’ high schools (virtually or in-person) to teach them about HBCUs and all of the different programs various HBCUs have to offer, how to apply, how to find scholarships and more.
She also wants to do things on campus to make N.C. A&T a more eco-friendly place, like working for the food advisory board to switch out our plastic straws and utensils with paper/wooden ones all over campus—creating another Day of Service event specifically for A&T.
Outside of SGA, Woodford is a spring 2020 initiate in the Alpha Phi Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated. Furthermore, she also works on campus as a healthy brothers and sisters peer advisor.
Lastly, Woodford is an upcoming entrepreneur with her hair braiding business. What started as a quick quarantine hobby for her quickly sped up once the school year began. Though she is actively involved in various campus duties, she balances it out pretty well and limits the number of clients she has per week.
As this school year comes to an end, Aggieland will be in good hands with Woodford as our 87th Miss A&T. Her continuous hard work and leadership around campus will be the perfect look for this illustrious university.
To keep up with Woodford and her efforts, you can visit her Instagram and Twitter pages.