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Fellows’ Blog

Life Beyond Lead for NC

by Allison Marshall
04/01/21

By Allison Marshall (LFNC Fellow – Shallotte)  April 1, 2021 It’s hard to believe two years ago I was waiting to find out if I was selected as an inaugural Lead for North Carolina Fellow. I was a senior in college, unsure of where my future would take me. I’ve …

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Where Do We Fit in This Long Fight?

by Nina Worth
03/15/21

By Shelby Holmes (LFNC Fellow – Shelby) and Nina Worth (LFNC Fellow – Rockingham County) Lead for North Carolina’s model matches each fellow with a community “facing considerable challenges, [with] significant need for young talent and innovative thinking.” It’s based around the idea that, as young post-grads, we often think …

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A “Nervous” Area for Local Government

by Nina Worth
02/05/21

In “Race and Social Equity” Susan T. Gooden discusses why race and social equity prove to be a “nervous” area of government By Nina Worth (LFNC Fellow – Rockingham County) Days after America inaugurated its first woman of color as Vice President, I finished “Race and Social Equity: A Nervous …

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The Burden of Efficiency in Rural Small Towns

by Magnolia Long
02/04/21

By Magnolia Long (LFNC Fellow – Rutherfordton) During the first week of my fellowship, I had the opportunity to spend one day with each town department just to learn about the basic operations and their goals for service. I did ride-alongs with police officers, explored the brand-new public works building, …

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This Isn’t the Office I Imagined…

by Taylor Norton
09/01/20

By Taylor Norton (LFNC Fellow – Mid East Commission)  September 1, 2020 It is safe to say that when I entered my senior year at NC State, I had no idea the world would be completely different by March of 2020. The strange feeling of the year you have been …

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Reversing the Narrative

by Elizabeth Mitchell
08/31/20

By Elizabeth Mitchell (LFNC Fellow – Martin County) August 31, 2020 In my undergraduate classes at UNC Chapel Hill, I learned about the mass migration of people from rural communities to urban hubs. Our fellowship is meant to bring young people back to local governments in areas experiencing population decline. …

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Confronting Systemic Racism in Our Communities: An Essential Task for All Public Servants

by Drew Finley
08/31/20

By Drew Finely (LFNC Fellow – Hendersonville) August 31, 2020 Those who have read the New York Times bestselling book Just Mercy are familiar with civil rights lawyer Bryan Stevenson’s harrowing account of being racially profiled when he was practicing law in his twenties in Atlanta. One night, Stevenson was …

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Finding My Brave in the #BraveNation

by Valerie Keys
07/23/20

By Valerie Keys (LFNC Fellow – Pembroke) July 23, 2020 As a recent college graduate and a young woman at the ripe age of 22, the world is constantly reminding me that I am not a “real adult.” Not to age my beloved grandmother, but she always makes a point …

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One Life Has Breathed Easier

by Drew Finley
02/18/20

By Drew Finley (LFNC Fellow – Hendersonville) February 18, 2020 While working on a project one afternoon in my office, I came across the following phrase: “Water and sewer lines are the arteries that nourish growth in a community.” This sentence serves as the preface to the City of Greensboro’s …

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The Tables Turn

by Allison Marshall
02/13/20

By Allison Marshall (LFNC Fellow – Shallotte) February 13, 2020 Last week, I attended the N.C. State College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHASS) career fair with our Executive Director, Dylan Russell. However, this time I was attending my alma mater’s event as a recruiter rather than as a student, …

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To a Future LFNC Applicant…

by Walker Harrison
02/12/20

By Walker Harrison (LFNC Fellow – Spindale) February 12, 2020 To a future LFNC applicant, Let me take you back to New Year’s Eve 2018.  It’s 10:30 pm and my LFNC application is due at midnight.  My apartment is pulsing with music and laughter as I, in the midst of …

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“War and Peace” and Anson County

by Liam Brailey
02/12/20

  By Liam Brailey (LFNC Fellow, Anson County) February 12, 2020 I will be the first to admit that I joined the inaugural class of LFNC for mostly selfish reasons. As a recent college graduate hoping to pursue a career in local government this program seemed like the most efficient …

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Inspired to Serve

by Sylveonna Holmes
01/27/20

Inspired to Serve With college in the rear view and the rest of life ahead, this in-between spot can be a bit overwhelming. It’s the perfect breeding ground for post grad depression. I know, it isn’t the most beautiful introduction you’ve ever read. But the truth is, so many recent …

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Rediscovering an Old Home

by Allison Marshall
11/18/19

By Allison Marshall (LFNC Fellow, Shallotte) November 18, 2019 I have tried to sit down and write this blog post several times over the past few months. I am not sure if it is just writer’s block, but I cannot seem to find the exact words to express how much …

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One Step Forward

by Saoirse Scott
11/05/19

By Saoirse Scott (LFNC Fellow, Edenton) November 5, 2019 The last four months have felt pretty surreal. It’s wild that at the end of May I had no idea what my future held and now here I am, a month and a half into my fellowship. It’s been a little …

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I’m Walking Here

by Walker Harrison
11/04/19

By Walker Harrison (LFNC Fellow, Spindale) November 4, 2019 In a UNC Planning class during my senior year, our professor tasked each student with the same mission: redesign an existing intersection and street in Chapel Hill to prioritize all users, not just cars.  To brainstorm ideas, my group went and …

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Conservation and Community

by India Mackinson
10/31/19

  By India Mackinson (LFNC Fellow, North Topsail) October 31, 2019 The flood of beach goers on Topsail Island slows after Labor Day weekend. As the sun steadily sets earlier and earlier and the nights grow cooler, a new type of visitor takes their place ⁠— saltwater anglers. It’s officially …

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The Power of “Kitchen Table and Street Corner Democracy”

by Drew Finley
10/18/19

The Power of “Kitchen Table and Street Corner Democracy” Local Governments, Citizens, and Communities of Possibility By Drew Finley (LFNC Fellow, Hendersonville) October 18, 2019 When I sit down in the Police Department Roll Call Room at City Hall for the first meeting of the City of Hendersonville Book Club, …

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Becoming a Public Servant

by Berekia Divanga
10/15/19

By Berekia Divanga October 15, 2019 Imagine being in an action movie. There is a mission that needs to be accomplished, and you volunteer to do the job because you are passionate about the purpose of this mission. As part of your training, you get to meet with people who …

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Choosing to Stay

by Camryn Locklear
10/08/19

  By Camryn Locklear October 8, 2019 Picture this: a burnt-out and overwhelmed soon-to-be college graduate in desperate need of a post-graduate job. I was struggling to decide if I wanted to be an accountant or a lawyer – two career paths that couldn’t be further on both ends of …

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Settling into North Topsail Beach

by India Mackinson
09/30/19

North Topsail Beach is a far cry from the college town of Chapel Hill that I made home the past four years. While in Chapel Hill you mainly come across college students from North Carolina, in NTB there’s people from all walks of life: marines, tourists, retirees, a surprising amount …

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How to Take on the Day

by Walker Harrison
09/30/19

The door catches and doesn’t fully close behind you as you enter the world for the day. Again. When will you learn? The sunny, blue sky day waits temptingly as you sigh, turn around, grab the door handle, and put your whole body into pulling it all the way closed. …

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Reflections on Training

by India Mackinson
09/22/19

Dante Pittman, the only LFNC fellow unable to attend the D.C. summit, didn’t know what he was walking into. Before going to the School of Government kick-off picnic, he met us for the first time, stumbling into an organized chaos of line dancing, talking, and laughing. It was clear to …

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General Perceptions of My Community

by Sylveonna Holmes
09/21/19

Clinton, North Carolina is both familiar and uncharted territory. I was born at Sampson Regional Medical Center — minutes away from my current office, but I grew up 45 minutes east in Beulaville. I thought that I knew Clinton, but coming into work 4 weeks ago proved that I did …

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