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NgambikaBy John Baker Brown Jr., Campus Life

Ngambika, an all-female step team from Emory, placed number four in the UpStaged Step Competition at Lincoln Center in New York City earlier this semester. Competing with 12 highly rated teams from around the country, the Emory steppers also placed in the All-American category and won a sportsmanship award.

During their visit to the Big Apple, Ngambika’s members met their counterparts on other teams, including steppers from Tufts University, Lincoln University, and Yale University.

The sisterhood’s 2019 captains, Krysten Nedd 22C and Rosseirys De La Rosa 22C, participated in a televised interview, and all of the Ngambika steppers were highlighted in a promotional video for the event. Team members say they had an amazing time bonding with other teams, showcasing their skills, and just having fun.

“Being in a New York and competing at the Lincoln Center was an amazing experience,” said Nedd. “Being surrounded by such a beautiful city and being immersed in the hustle and bustle was really cool and it honestly felt like a dream or as if I was in a movie.”

Ngambika is a Greek-neutral organization founded in 1992 on four principles: service, sisterhood, academics, and step. The sisterhood caters specifically to freshmen women of color who seek a bond and mentorship in their first year of college.

The mission of the step portion of Ngambika, which also embraces a strong community service ethos, is to facilitate team-building and strengthen a sense of community via a sports/dance experience. The sisterhood seeks to promote unity, progressive dialogue, overall self-empowerment, and student leadership among women pursuing higher education.

“Ngambika is a safe space for women of color whether you’re on the step team or not,” said De La Rosa. “We have sisters who don’t even step [but] focus on ensuring that each member completes their [community] service hours, which is a great time for bonding with each other and going out into the Atlanta community.” 

Like many elements of the Emory experience, the sisterhood has a lifelong impact on participants, according to its members.

“It is a privilege to be a part of the Ngambika family,” said Nedd. “Once you are a member you are a member forever, continuously providing advice and support for future generations, just like those who were a part of it before you.”

Campus Life provided support for Emory students’ travel and participation in the event in NYC. See Ngambika in action: