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Hello everyone! I hope you’re ready to follow me on my extensive, yet brief journey this summer at the Town of Chapel Hill Manager’s Office. This opportunity is still pretty hard for me to describe, but I think I have decided to call this on the job experiential learning with heavy hints of project development and management. As I write this post, I have only been on the job for 3 full days, but it has felt more like 2 weeks.

My first few days at the Town of Chapel Hill consisted of a 2 hour HR training, a walking introductory tour through almost every department in Town Hall, lunch at Buns, realizing the danger of being so close to Buns for lunch on the daily, having at least 3 meetings a day put on my calendar for the next 3 months, and lastly a 3.5 hour Council Meeting from 7PM to 10:30PM. Needless to say, I quickly got a sense of how this internship was going to go.

Even though it has been only 3 days I have realized so much. It’s hard to describe, but it’s almost like a live action simulation of all of the classes that I have taken in my first year in the MPA program. Everything that we have been learning theoretically about public administration, I’m experiencing almost every minute of the day. For example, the 2 hour HR training was like going through a crash course of Professor DeHart-Davis’ class as they talked to me about organizational culture, and their philosophy about how they keep a happy productive workforce from employee pay and benefits, to HR policies, practices, and expectations. And watching the Town Council debate for almost 2 hours consequences of economic development on West Rosemary Street to the historic Northside Neighborhood took me back to Professor Stenberg’s class discussion of public problems and public values and how there is a tension between prosperity and community.

Also, I will have to say that I am truly grateful that the staff I am working with have been overly invested in making this a good experience for me. Everyone from the Town Manager to the office assistant has made me feel at home and encouraged me to explore every opportunity here. Already, I have been included in 12 meetings this week as they are trying to “ease me into it.” However, I think the thing I am most interested in is the opportunity to do “ride alongs” with certain departments and to interview each department head about how they got here and their opinions of what’s going on in the Town of Chapel Hill.

I’m excited for this new adventure and I hope at the end of it all I haven’t bored you nor myself to death. Nevertheless, I’ll do my best to make government blogging sexy again.

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