Category: News

Coaches’ Corner: Samantha Zelin

How long have you been a GLSLP coach? This is my first year.

What inspired you to become a GLSLP coach?
I wanted to give back to the community. I have heard great things about GLSLP scholars and coaches and wanted to be a part of this wonderful program. These students inspire me.

What learning objective or activity utilized at conferences (i.e. DAC, Values Explorer, etc.) do you think is most beneficial to the scholars?
I actually asked my scholars what they thought about the conference and what learnings they had. All four of them said that they really benefited from the MBTI test and subsequent real-life examples of how people think and react. They said it’s been helpful in navigating their own lives as well as being able to relate to their peers.

What is something you may have learned at conferences that has been particularly useful in your day-to-day life? The MBTI results! It was so helpful to turn the different letters into real actions and behaviors. I learn best with real-life examples, and this is something that stuck with me.

Where do you hope to see the scholars in your coaching group five years from now? I hope to see my scholars happy and engaged with their communities. I hope they all achieve their current goals and continue striving for what they want out of their lives

Internship Site Spotlight 2019: Madison Bradburn

Year 2 scholar Madison Bradburn is completing her summer 2019 internship at Cooper Creek Trout Farm in Swain County, NC. Madison’s supervisor, Gerry Laschober, is very grateful to have her as an intern for the second summer in a row: “Trout fingerlings are very sensitive to ultraviolet light and Madison has developed a curtain that we can use to reduce their exposure to it.”

What do you enjoy most about your internship? I most enjoy how satisfying it is to watch my fish grow up. I raise 250,000 trout by hand from their eggs and getting to watch their development is amazing. My favorite parts are the hatching and the swimming up process (which is when the newborn fish fully absorb their egg sacs and learn how to swim). The better of a job I do, the more fish live and the better they grow. It’s a wonderful feeling knowing that I’m doing a good job when I see all of my trout happy and healthy.

What is the biggest obstacle you have had to overcome so far in your internship? What tools did you use to overcome it? Anxiety. Raising so many fish at once means anything can go wrong at any time. It is nerve-wracking. One wrong slip and I could damage equipment or kill some of the fish. I don’t want to hurt my fish, seeing them happy is, as I answered above, my favorite part of the internship so seeing them get hurt is my least. I’m working at the same internship site as last year and during that experience my supervisor and I made a huge mistake while working on hatching new eggs. The mistake ended up killing around 80,000 fish in one day and coming back to the site I have struggled with anxiety over causing that sort of catastrophe again. This time when we hatched eggs I was nervous and tense; redoing something that I had failed immensely at before was much harder than I’d anticipated even though Gerry assured me last year that it wasn’t my fault. What most helped me overcome my nerves was my coworkers encouraging me and Gerry being so understanding that I was nervous. When I utilized and listened to my team, I felt better and more assured with myself. This year has really taught me to not be scared and to rely on others, and hatching went perfectly this time around!

What aspect or element of the Golden LEAF Scholars Leadership Program has been particularly helpful during your internship? Communication. This last conference specifically we did a lot of exercises involving communication and I’ve found that a lot of the skills we practiced there have helped me this summer. We did one exercise involving describing shapes and colors while we were blindfolded and while I kind of felt silly at the time, a lot of the problem solving I’ve had to do this summer has reminded me of that exercise. Cooper Creek is split into five main parts: the hatchery where I work, the outside tanks, the lake, the catch-out, and the gift shop. Communicating problems across these spaces can be difficult especially considering that, due to hygiene protocols, I can’t enter certain spaces or I risk carrying in contaminates on my shoes the next time I go to the hatchery. Certain people can’t enter the hatchery for the same reason. Verbal communication is difficult when separated and surrounded by constant running water, so I’ve learned how to use hand signals to tell Gerry if the hatchery is in good condition or if it isn’t, what is wrong. It’s a very odd sort of language, but it works for us.

How has your internship enhanced your ability to move forward in your field of study? I’ve been studying the texts we have on site and comparing them to my own notes. What I want as a writer and as someone who loves science and farming is for information to be more accessible. A lot of the information we have is complicated and drawn out and, to a degree, it serves its purpose, but farming in the real world is so different from testing variables in a lab and writing at a desk. I want to be able to make a more practical guide to fish farming and being on-site has definitely helped me grasp what’s most important to communicate. I’m even learning stuff that I haven’t found in the in site text! I’m excited to add what I’m learning to the farm!

Which professional-level skill(s) listed by your supervisor has/have proved to be the most challenging to develop? Honesty. Like I said, anxiety is a big hurdle on the farm and as a result it can be hard to go to my supervisor as say “I made this mistake.” or “There’s a problem.” I don’t want things to go wrong, so sometimes when they do I can be tempted to just ignore the problems, but that’s not professional and it’s not good for my fish. Communicating failures is an essential part of not only this internship, but of any job, and it’s very stressful, but necessary. I think a good professional skill to have is being able to take feedback, even negative. It’s hard to admit you messed up, or that you were wrong, but sometimes you have to and I think that’s the professional level skill I’m really learning in this internship. Taking responsibility for mistakes may not be fun, but it’s better than letting problems fester.



Internship Site Spotlight 2019: Trente Dickens

Year 2 scholar Trente Dickens completed his summer 2019 internship at Riverside Veterinary Hospital in Nash County, NC. Trente quickly became the favorite around the office and his supervisor, Melonie Hammack, has agreed to let him stay on for the rest of the summer though his internship has ended.

What do you enjoy most about your internship? I enjoy being able to interact with many different kinds of animals as well as learning to understand the bond they have with their owners and the vet staff.

What is the biggest obstacle you have had to overcome so far in your internship? What tools did you use to overcome it? One of my biggest obstacles was learning to trim black nails. I had an incident where I cut the nail too close, causing it to bleed excessively; however I didn’t let this hinder my confidence and continued to trim nails of sedated pets for practice.

What aspect or element of the Golden LEAF Scholars Leadership Program has been particularly helpful during your internship? I think conflict resolution has been very helpful. There are times when disagreements can come up or someone may have misheard me and I just have to remain calm and kindly come to an agreement.

How has your internship enhanced your ability to move forward in your field of study? My internship has given me a lot of insight into the veterinary field. It has both furthered my knowledge of animal science as well as given me firsthand experience.

Which professional-level skill(s) listed by your supervisor has/have proved to be the most challenging to develop? I think organizational skills was one of the most difficult. Working at a vet clinic, it’s hard to manage time and it seems as if you are all over the place. Though we try to adhere to the schedule, there are times where you may have a walk-in client or an emergency come in, which can throw things out of wack. But, over time, you start to get the hang of things and realize you have to work quickly so that you can make time in the future for the unexpected.

Coaches’ Corner: Tracy Pittman

Tracy works as the Director of Operations and Procedures at Wilson Youth United in her hometown of Wilson, NC.

How long have you been a GLSLP coach? 5 years.

What inspired you to become a GLSLP coach?
What inspired me to become a GLSLP coach was to be able to make a positive impact on the young adults in the community. Becoming a GLSLP coach has created a platform to support scholars as they navigate through their academic studies and create an awesome portfolio that they will need throughout their career.

What learning objective or activity utilized at conferences (i.e. DAC, Values Explorer, etc.) do you think is most beneficial to the scholars?
I think the most beneficial learning objective at the conference is the team building activities. The activities help them to identify their strengths and weaknesses so that they may work on those characteristics to become better. It also teaches them how to be team players and reminds them that sometimes it takes a team to accomplish a common goal.

What is something you may have learned at conferences that has been particularly useful in your day-to-day life? One thing that I have learned at the conference is not to take things at face value. There is a whole world out there experiencing the same issues as my community. Learning about other counties and the passion that the scholars have for their counties is heartfelt. It’s good when you can look for something positive in any situation and it gives you hope.

Where do you hope to see the scholars in your coaching group five years from now? I hope to see my scholars graduating with their Masters or Doctorate and living their best life in their career field.

Internship Site Spotlight 2019: Victoria Elledge

Year 2 scholar Victoria Elledge is completing her summer 2019 internship at “I CAN” Pediatric Speech Therapy in Wilkes County, NC. Her supervisor, Haylee Church, says “Victoria has done awesome this whole summer. She has  really stepped up and been really independent. I’m super excited and proud of her! I hope to see her as a speech therapist one day.

What do you enjoy most about your internship? My favorite part of my internship is being able to gain experience working in my dream job and with my ideal demographic. I want to be a Speech Language Pathologist, working with children facing social determinants of health, and that is exactly the demographic I work with and job position I shadow at my internship site.

What is the biggest obstacle you have had to overcome so far in your internship? What tools did you use to overcome it? I had to become accustomed to the work environment at my internship site. I have never worked or shadowed at a therapy clinic, so this was a completely new experience for me. To adjust to my new environment, I relied on my leadership training from the GLSLP and my drive for success.

What aspect or element of the Golden LEAF Scholars Leadership Program has been particularly helpful during your internship? I really rely on my Myers-Brigg Type Indicator (MBTI) and FIRO-B test. My results help me remember my strengths in the workplace and the areas for improvement. It also reminds me that other people are different from me and having varying needs. I think it helps me be the best intern I can be.

How has your internship enhanced your ability to move forward in your field of study? In my internship, I get countless hours of hands-on experience like assisting in speech therapy sessions, writing visit notes, assisting with speech and language with evaluations, developing care plans, and so much more. This is experience has proved to me that I love my intended career and want to keep pursuing this dream.

Which professional-level skill(s) listed by your supervisor has/have proved to be the most challenging to develop? The most difficult professional-level skill to develop is problem-solving for children with special needs or adaptations. It can be difficult to design therapy goals and session topics when children have multiple sensory, communication, occupational, and physical needs.

Internship Site Spotlight 2019: Donielle Totten

Year 2 scholar Donielle Totten is completing his summer 2019 internship at Finch Blueberry Nursery in Nash County, NC. His supervisor, Dan Finch, says “Donielle is an exemplary model of a fine young person to represent the GLSLP. He has the ability to go far.”

What is the biggest obstacle you have had to overcome so far in your internship? What tools did you use to overcome it? The biggest obstacle I have had to overcome is adjusting to the type of work done here and the time it takes to complete each task with a purpose of accomplishment. I have learned to do multiple tasks, such as how to cut and stick crops, and I even managed to build a greenhouse. I really had to adjust and take in as much information as possible.

What aspect or element of the Golden LEAF Scholars Leadership Program has been particularly helpful during your internship? The biggest aspect I have had to use from the leadership program is communication. I have had to communicate effectively in order to get work done and stay on track with everyone else.

Which professional-level skill(s) listed by your supervisor has/have proved to be the most challenging to develop? The collaboration standpoint and responsibility has been the main skill here that I’ve performed most and that is something I expected. It’s important work for a variety of people and you are handed necessary tasks that must be executed properly. That is often done by working alongside coworkers who are useful when you come across an obstacle you may not be able to tackle on your own.

How has your internship enhanced your ability to move forward in your field of study? Working at a blueberry nursery has motivated me to continue on my path of working for the environment and continuing to appreciate what nature and hard work can produce.

Coaches’ Corner: Jamie Warner

A native of Raeford, NC, Jamie works as an agricultural agent at NC Cooperative Extension in Troy, NC.

How long have you been a GLSLP coach? 5 years.

What inspired you to become a GLSLP coach?
I became a Golden LEAF coach because a friend of mine told me how great this program was. I could not wait to be part of a program that supported young people and urged them to work in their “home counties.”

What learning objective or activity utilized at conferences (i.e. DAC, Values Explorer, etc.) do you think is most beneficial to the scholars?
I think the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) tool is probably the most beneficial to the scholars. When you learn your own personality type and learn how to interact with others, you can navigate just about any situation. Scholars continuously tell me how this helped them with their school, work, and home life.

What is something you may have learned at conferences that has been particularly useful in your day-to-day life? I learn more than the scholars do every time I come to a conference. I have really enjoyed learning about the MBTI types, the growth mindset, and more. Being a coach for the GLSLP has made me better at my job. It has made me a better speaker and a better presenter to my community.

Where do you hope to see the scholars in your coaching group five years from now? In five years, I hope that they have graduated from their university/college. I hope they start seeking a job and become employed right away. For those that want to go to grad school, I hope that they get accepted and become the leader that I always knew that they would be.

Coaches’ Corner: Brittany Harris

Originally from Hoke County, NC, Brittany works as an admissions counselor at Bennett College in Greensboro, NC.

How long have you been a GLSLP coach? This is my first year as a coach.

What inspired you to become a GLSLP coach? I was a Golden LEAF scholar and my coach Maril Elliott actually inspired me. She really made a difference in all of our lives.

What learning objective or activity utilized at conferences (i.e. DAC, Values Explorer, etc.) do you think is most beneficial to the scholars? Values Explorer is definitely the most meaningful. It allows them to physically see the things they hold near and dear. It allows them to make decisions about who they are and who they want to be.

What is something you may have learned at conferences that has been particularly useful in your day-to-day life? As I scholar I viewed the DAC model in terms of school only. As an adult in the workforce and dealing with everyday tasks I find that it has helped me shape what it is I want and effectively go get it.

Where do you hope to see the scholars in your coaching group five years from now? I hope to see Gabriel being the best city planner possible while maintaining a good work life balance. Thankfully, he learned at an early age there is more to life than money. I hope to see Emily and Alexia changing the face of healthcare in rural areas and following through with turning their passions into careers. I hope to see Sekret continuing her education because rural NC needs someone who is genuinely passionate about our children and understanding of their upbringing. Ten years from now hopefully they’ll be like my cohort, sharing wedding invitations, job promotions, coaching, family, etc.

Coaches’ Corner: Scott Elliott

Scott works as a supervisory air operations specialist at the Pope Army Airfield in Cumberland County, NC.

How long have you been a GLSLP coach? 6 years.

What inspired you to become a GLSLP coach? I have a diverse background in education, as well as 26 years active duty military and now work in aircrew operations as a civilian employee. I have always made goal setting a priority for myself and others. I enjoy working with young adults and have four grown children of my own. I believe in early leadership training and the impact it has on individuals, organizations, and community.

What learning objective or activity utilized at conferences (i.e. DAC, Values Explorer, etc.) do you think is most beneficial to the scholars?
The DAC model that is presented to year one scholars gives the foundation for leadership in ways that are undeniable. Direction establishes the vision, goal-setting and mission to be accomplished. Alignment provides the clear understanding of responsibilities in an organized manner. Commitment gives the sense of mutual trust and collective work. The three elements are interdependent for effective leadership

What is something you may have learned at conferences that has been particularly useful in your day-to-day life? The Situation, Behavior, Impact (SBI) model is very useful in giving feedback in the workplace. I use it frequently.

Where do you hope to see the scholars in your coaching group five years from now? I fully expect to see them reaching their career goals and making a difference in their communities.

Coaches’ Corner: Gina Hayes

Gina works as a guidance counselor at Davidson County Schools.

How long have you been a GLSLP coach? 3 years.

What inspired you to become a GLSLP coach? My life’s purpose is inspiring positive change in youth. When I found out about GLSLP and their impact on youth, it was a no brainer that I wanted to be a part of this program. Being a coach gives me an opportunity to influence lives across rural North Carolina. I also get to see the results of my impact which does not happen often in my current profession.

What learning objective or activity utilized at conferences (i.e. DAC, Values Explorer, etc.) do you think is most beneficial to the scholars?
I believe scholars figuring out their top five values [Values Explorer] is most beneficial. They inherently think of themselves first, so figuring out their values helps them begin a conversation of how to align everything they do based on these values.

What is something you may have learned at conferences that has been particularly useful in your day-to-day life? Working with the scholars and learning their behaviors and weaknesses has been particularly useful for me. I work with high school students on a daily basis. Understanding what some of these college students lack (which mostly pertains to social and emotional learning) helps me know what I need to focus on with my high school students to better prepare them for their post-secondary plans.

Where do you hope to see the scholars in your coaching group five years from now? I hope to see all of my scholars graduate from college and pursue the next steps they have created throughout the program. I also hope after four years of interning in their rural communities that they find a way to continue to invest in them after graduating college. I know that some scholars may want to explore areas outside of their current community, but I hope they will always view their current county as “home” and find a way to invest their time, talents, and/or money

Golden LEAF Scholars Leadership Program
Center for Creative Leadership
1 Leadership Pl.
Greensboro, NC 27410

Julie Griffin | Program Director
griffinj@ccl.org
(336) 286-4412 | Fax: (336) 286- 4434

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