Inside Town Hall
It’s Tuesday, and as to not disappoint, I am back again to share my adventures at the Town of Carrboro. To recap, last week I wrote a glowing review of my new internship site. But in my haste to write my first blog post I left out a lot of solid information. You probably were left with questions like: “What are you doing at Carrboro? “Who are you anyway?” and “Do you know the meaning of life?”
Well, I am glad you asked! I’ve got the answer to two out of three of those questions – and I’ll even take a stab at the third question.
To make this more fun for you to read and for me to write, I’d like you to pretend that James Lipton is asking me these questions in a new series called Inside Town Hall. If you need a refresher course on James Lipton, I’d highly recommend youtubing (yep, that’s a verb now) his interview with Kevin Spacey doing impersonations.
Cue dramatic and patriotic music. Photographs of past influential public administrators like Albert Coates pass on the screen. Pan to James.
James: Today, we’ll be taking a journey with an up-and-coming public administrator as she describes the pathway that has led her to becoming the summer management intern at the Town of Carrboro and we’ll delve into what this internship will accomplish during the 10-week trek. Ashley, thanks for being here. Tell us, how did you decide to pursue your MPA?
Ashley: Thanks for having me James. I’m glad to see you’ve moved on from Actors. That is a really great question. I studied journalism and history at my undergrad, Indiana University (Hoosiers!). After graduation, I moved to Nashville, Tennessee where I worked at Hands On Nashville and the Nashville Humane Association doing volunteer coordination and project management. I loved working in nonprofit because I got to meet so many smart and passionate people. However, after a couple of years, I decided to return to graduate school to study library science. Before my first year of library school, I learned about the dual degree program between the Library Science program and the School of Government’s MPA program. This joint degree program seemed like a wonderful intersection of my interests and skills. The library school helped me get back in touch with some of the aspects of the undergraduate history degree that I loved like the pursuit of scholarly research; while the MPA program helped me further develop some of the professional skills that were so integral during my time working in nonprofit. These skills include budgeting, human resources management, and leadership techniques. The combination of these degrees really allows me to create a unique career path that seems intrinsically me.
James: That is truly delightful. However, I noticed this internship does not deal much with library science, why did you decide to work at Carrboro?
Ashley: Good catch, James. UNC’s School of Government has a strong local government focus. I’ve never worked in local government, but the more I heard from my professors and peers, the more interested I was in finding out what it was all about. What better way to learn than to work in it? And what better way than to work in a government you care so much about because you are a resident? Honestly, this internship very much harkens back to my nonprofit days. Again, I work with such smart and passionate people whose work focuses on the betterment of their constituents. This summer, I’ll get to work on projects involving affordable housing, special events, and even records management (which, is very much aligned with my interests in the library science program). I am so fortunate to be able to work on a wide breadth of projects that will expose me to the different departments and various aspects of local government. I think this opportunity will only introduce new pathways for my future career and I am looking forward to seeing where it takes me.
James: Again, that is magnificent to hear. Unfortunately, we have had reached the end of our program and you’ve surpassed your word limit. Any final thoughts on your internship or the meaning life?
Ashley: Maybe the meaning of life is a lot like what has brought me to the MPA program and this internship. You’ve just got to try different things until something works for you. Too deep?
James: Trying to categorize the astuteness of that statement is like trying to catch lightning in a butterfly net. Thank you for that insight.
(In all seriousness, James Lipton used a version of the above statement in his introduction of Robin Williams.)