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Back to the Future at UNC

August 9, 2022

Above from left to right: Shae Lefcourt, Megan Small 01, 05, and Striesand Sampaga '02, ’04 at Shae's graduation. 

When Striesand Sampaga ’02, ’04 arrived at UNC as a freshman in 1998, she had graduated the spring before from her high school in Hawaii, and, while a long way from home, she had family and friends nearby. 

I came to UNC because my best friend, Megan (Inouye) Small ’01, ’05, was already attending UNC and playing soccer for the team,” she recalls. “I came in as a freshman and walked onto the team that year. Megan and I were able to play under current Coach Tim Barrera while we were at UNC. I also decided on UNC because my family lives in Westminster and although I would miss my home in Hawaii, I knew that having family near would help me on my journey away from home.” 

Next week, it may feel a little like déjà vu as she returns to campus to help move her daughter, Shae Lefcourt, into her residence hall at UNC. Students will be moving in on Aug. 17, with classes beginning on Aug. 22. 

In keeping with a welcoming tradition, faculty, staff and student volunteers will be on hand on move-in day to help offer guidance, unload cars and shuttle boxes into residence halls.    

Shae is the oldest of five, so this will be Striesand’s first experience helping settle one of her children in for the beginning of a college journey.  

“Our biggest challenge is hoping that everything she's bringing up from Hawaii will fit into her dorm, and that we'll be able get everything she needs to make her dorm feel like home,” she says. 

Shae’s choice of UNC didn’t surprise Striesand. 

“It's funny, but as a mom, I always knew Shae would end up at UNC. We have traveled to Colorado many times to see our family, and Colorado is a second home to us. Shae chose UNC because of the Nursing program and the size of the school.” 

This is Striesand’s first trip back to UNC since she graduated. She earned her bachelor’s in Kinesiology in 2002, and her master’s in Sport & Exercise Science in 2004. A 7th grade science teacher at Hawai‘i Baptist Academy, she won't be able to stay long in Greeley because she needs to return for classes, but she’s looking forward to seeing campus and showing Shae around. 

I'm looking forward to seeing all the changes that have been made on campus and around Greeley, and hopefully have some time to take Shae to where I used to live off campus,” she says. 

UNC will forever be in my heart,” she adds. “I'm very excited Shae will be attending UNC in the Fall. I have many fond memories of UNC, from playing soccer for the school, the great professors that helped shape and mold me – the late Dr. Carole Schneider, Dr. Gary Heise and Dr. Reid Hayward – and the friendships that were built and remain till this day. My hope is that Shae will find those same friendships that I was blessed with and will enjoy Colorado and all that UNC has to offer.” 


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