Seventeen UNCW Students Selected for SECU Public Fellows Internship Program

Friday, May 03, 2019

Seventeen UNCW undergraduates have been selected to work with regional nonprofit or local government organizations this summer through the State Employees’ Credit Union Public Fellows Internship. The program is funded by a grant of nearly $100,000 from the SECU Foundation. 

The fellows program, now in its fourth year, pairs students with local governments or nonprofits in rural counties. The paid internships enable students to explore potential careers in their home communities or regions and to learn how nonprofits and local governments help address challenges in rural areas. 

“Through these internships, students have the opportunity to serve their community while gaining valuable work experience that will help them when they enter the workforce after graduation,” said Natasha Davis, director of QENO (Quality Enhancement for Nonprofit Organizations), which coordinates the internships. “In addition, the SECU Public Fellows program allows QENO to provide much-needed support to our rural nonprofit organizations while showing our students that every academic discipline plays a role in the nonprofit sector.” 

The program emphasizes applied learning and community outreach, both of which are key elements of the university’s Strategic Plan

Since 2016, the university has received $400,000 from the SECU Foundation and, including this year’s fellows, 76 UNCW students have participated in the program. The students selected represent a broad range of majors at UNCW.

This year’s SECU Public Fellows are: 

  • Carter Paylor, Cape Fear Habitat for Humanity, Pender County
  • Ty Talbott, Onslow Sports Commission
  • Kristin Laney, City of Jacksonville, Onslow County
  • Bethany Barbee, City of Jacksonville, Onslow
  • Mercedes Adams, Exceptional Children’s Assistance Center, Pender
  • Ashley Merklinger, New Hope Clinic, Brunswick County
  • Kristian Perez, Onslow Parks and Recreation
  • Ryan Davies, Onslow Parks and Recreation
  • Francheska Pugh-Cuadra, PEERS Family Development, Onslow
  • DeJa Mobley, PEERS Family Development, Onslow
  • Matthew Green, Philippians Place, Onslow
  • Lela Best, Salvation Army, Onslow
  • Natalie Best, Sturgeon City, Onslow
  • Autumn Skoog, Town of Leland, Brunswick
  • Miles Barefoot, Town of Leland, Brunswick
  • Lillie Camp, Brunswick Senior Resources
  • Kacie Bagley, Brunswick Senior Resources

The SECU Public Fellows Internship program is a joint effort of the UNCW Office of Community Engagement, QENO, the UNCW Career Center and the SECU Foundation. The total grant for summer 2019 is $99,210.24. 

-- Tricia Vance