MPA Student Blog

Welcome to the Carolina MPA student blog, created as a forum for students to communicate about their professional internships and related experiences.

The MPA program at UNC-Chapel Hill educates leaders for local, state, and federal governments and nonprofit organizations. Students in the program work closely with School of Government faculty members to develop critical thinking and team-building skills, while engaging in practical scholarship that has real-world results.

Read the latest posts:

Professional Work Experience in Review and a Look Forward

Posted 8 months ago

Hi Readers! My professional work experience project has ended, but my work in local government continues. Through the Clean Communities Campaign (C3) project, I learned about community engagement, marketing, fundraising, and rallying and coordinating internal staff and the community toward … Continued

Final Thoughts on a Nonprofit Summer

Posted 8 months ago

As the summer comes to a close, and now that final projects are turned in, I want to take some time to reflect back on what insights into nonprofit work and leadership I gained from my experience at the Public … Continued

Everything IS better in Person

Posted 9 months ago

Learn. Do interesting things. Help others.    This is the criteria for my career progress that I introduced you to 12 weeks ago. Since then time has really flown by!    I chose Person County because I wanted to learn … Continued

Never say goodbye because goodbye means going away and going away means forgetting. - Peter Pan

The Final Stop

Posted 9 months ago

It’s my last day with The City of Rocky Mount, and I have so much to reflect on. I got on this train expecting to learn, but I never could have imagined the wealth of experiences I’ve been privileged to have. … Continued

I’ll think of it tomorrow.

Posted 9 months ago

Lots has happened since my last blog post. So let me fill you in. I attended a NC League of Municipalities meeting, spent countless hours in the Finance department, and learned all about stormwater, sewer, buildings, and streets from the … Continued

The Innovation Factor

Posted 9 months ago

In a recent meeting, Rocky Mount’s City Manager, Mr. Charles Penny, stated that “the most innovative thing is not always the flashiest thing.” I find this to be very true. So often, I think that people equate innovation with cutting … Continued

Yes and….

Posted 9 months ago

The last two weeks have been a little chaotic in that things got pretty slow and then kicked into overdrive. Here’s a little of what I’ve been working on:   Budgeting and Finance Specific projects that I have been working on … Continued

Into the Wild

Posted 9 months ago

I spent most of my workdays this week in a Parks and Recreation department summer camp called “Into the Wild.” And if thirteen kids under the age of twelve high on summer vacation isn’t wild enough, imagine thirteen kids under the … Continued

The Things They Can’t Teach You

Posted 9 months ago

Hello everyone! So, I’m 9 weeks in at the City of Rocky Mount! Can you believe it?  I feel like I just got here and there are only a few weeks left in my internship. Guess time flies when you’re having … Continued



Posted 9 months ago

This post is short as I have been really working to move projects along, but I had a great conversation with Mike Ciriello, Person County’s Planning Director and I wanted to share some of my thoughts and take-aways. Adora has already given … Continued

Managerial Lessons

Posted 10 months ago

As I am approaching my last couple of weeks with the Town of Zebulon, I have been thinking back to what I have learned so far about management. How can one be an effective town, city, or county manager? What … Continued


Posted 10 months ago

Each week, the Forum publishes a newsletter called The Friday Report. The Friday Report provides a weekly update on education issues in the state by culling together news coverage on top education stories. Until this week, my role in The … Continued

Happy New Year!

Posted 10 months ago

Most of us are celebrating the close of one financial year and the start of a new one. Those of us in finance are trying to prepare both mentally and practically for audit season. It is an exciting time in … Continued

#beprepared #smartanimals

Posted 10 months ago

Remember this episode of Parks and Recreation? ⇐ You’re gonna wanna click that. Well this week, a hurricane hit the Town of Zebulon. This fictional emergency management drill came courtesy of Wake County – in efforts to help Zebulon establish an official … Continued

Solar Panels

Hello Sunshine

Posted 10 months ago

Hello again! I’ve spent a considerable time over the last few weeks researching solar energy and now I’m going to share some of what I’ve learned. This discussion will focus on the ownership options available and how they affect financing … Continued


Of Mountains and Managers

Posted 10 months ago

Last week, I had the privilege of attending the North Carolina City & County Management Association (NCCCMA) Summer Seminar in beautiful Asheville, NC. I know you all wish you were there, so allow me to share my experience! Thursday evening, … Continued

In Sickness and in Health

Posted 10 months ago

I missed most of the workweek last week for health care appointments and sickness. As much as I hate to break my commitment to show up to work each day, I was able to do so with no stress because … Continued

Bureaucracy may seem mindless

Posted 10 months ago

Let’s talk about public-private partnerships, grants, and budgets. And while we have this conversation, let’s think about the natural state of bureaucracy and what that means for the vision of local government. I’ll round this out by the end of the blog … Continued


The Importance of Community

Posted 10 months ago

Hello readers! This week we’re going to talk about one of my favorite topics: Community. On Tuesday, I attended a department head meeting and afterward I spoke with Sybil and another woman–I’m going to call her CJ because it’s easier … Continued

Research Update, pt. 1

Posted 10 months ago

This week, the legislature has given us education policy people a bit of a break. Not to say they weren’t passing education bills, but they were fewer in number and progressing in a generally predictable way. This freed up my … Continued


“Plan A”dora

Posted 10 months ago

This week was all about planning. And after spending just a few short hours with the Town of Zebulon’s planning department, I quickly learned that it is one of the toughest jobs in a municipality. My week included code enforcement, … Continued


Fun Friday, Pt. 2

Posted 10 months ago

Remember my last post where I told you to stay tuned? Well, here it is! The continuation of my awesome Friday. After the Just Health and Food Summit, I got to spend some time with the Rocky Mount Fire Department … Continued


Gettin’ Dirty

Posted 10 months ago

This week I had the opportunity to go out into the field with Kyle Gentry from the Person County Soil and Water office. We also worked with Bill Woods and Harrison Tillman from the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). Here’s … Continued

Fun Friday, Pt. 1

Posted 10 months ago

Ah, Friday! The one day that virtually everyone looks forward to. Most of the time, that’s due to it being the end of the work/school week and a few days of living wild and free, whatever that means for you. In … Continued