Category: News

Year 4 September Conference Video


Several graduates of the 2018-2019 program year convened at this past September conference. Though they were not required to attend, they made an effort to come back and act as mentors for the previous cohorts. One of these attempts to connect with their fellow scholars and encourage them to stay in the program was to film this short video. The GLSLP staff is incredibly proud of our graduates, past and present, and appreciate their efforts to improve rural NC!

Internship Site Spotlight 2019: Erykah Cooke

Year 2 scholar Erykah Cooke completed her summer 2019 internship at Fordham Brokers in Lenoir County, NC. Erykah’s supervisor, Michelle Fordham, said, “Throughout her internship, Erykah participated in a professional community outreach with other businesses on behalf of Fordham Brokers. I am sure she will be a Golden LEAF and eastern NC success story!”

What do you enjoy most about your internship? What I enjoy the most about my internship is that it is a self-owned business and my supervisor is her own boss. I learned from last year’s internship experience that working for someone who is their own boss can be cumbersome when I have complaints of the work I am doing, but I gave it another try, and I love it here. I also get insight on what it is like being my own boss and the pros/cons of being able to make my own schedule and being self-employed.

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 so far in my internship is that it is just me and Ms. Michelle, which means that all the work needed to keep the business afloat falls solely on us. There isn’t much room for error either when it comes to our work. How I overcome these obstacles is pacing myself through my work and making a daily schedule of what needs to be completed.

What aspect or element of the Golden LEAF Scholars Leadership Program has been particularly helpful during your internship? The self-awareness aspect of the leadership program has been particularly helpful during my internship.

How has your internship enhanced your ability to move forward in your field of study? My ability to move forward in my field of study has been enhanced by my internship because I get to see what Family and Community Services means. I see what it means to be active in the community, how important it is to meet others and to lend a helping hand.

Which professional-level skill(s) listed by your supervisor has/have proved to be the most challenging to develop? Negotiations have been the most challenging skill for me to develop, primarily because I want people to only be able to do what they can afford; however, if I don’t negotiate a high enough price that will generate revenue for the business, I won’t make any money. Selling properties is bittersweet for me. 

Coaches’ Corner: Monette Ayers

How long have you been a GLSLP coach? 2 years.

What inspired you to become a GLSLP coach? I wanted to give back to my community and I love working with young adults!

What learning objective or activity utilized at conferences (i.e. DAC, Values Explorer, etc.) do you think is most beneficial to the scholars? The Values Explorer because if they don’t identify their values, they will struggle with identifying their career paths and life purpose.

What is something you may have learned at conferences that has been particularly useful in your day-to-day life? How to mentor others, networking skills, and building relationships in all walk’s of life.

Where do you hope to see the scholars in your coaching group five years from now? 5 years – working in their chosen fields; 10 years – coaching with the GLSLP!

Internship Site Spotlight 2019: Rachel Perry

Year 3 scholar Rachel Perry is completing her summer 2019 internship at the Cradle of Forestry in America in Transylvania County, NC. Rachel’s supervisor, Stephanie Bradley, says “We are interested in Rachel helping us to connect to the local rural community and use our garden as an outreach tool.”

What do you enjoy most about your internship? I really enjoy the freedom they’ve given me. I have my own projects and spend a fair portion of my time planning and executing steps to keep those projects moving forward.

What is the biggest obstacle you have had to overcome so far in your internship? What tools did you use to overcome it? I suppose the largest obstacle was finding where I fit with the staff. I’m a bit of an outlier in terms of my job description but I’d say the confidence and the support I’ve received from previous GLSLP experiences have allowed me to keep moving forward in both my internship and my projects.

What aspect or element of the Golden LEAF Scholars Leadership Program has been particularly helpful during your internship? The experiences from my past internships helped prepare me for this position. Last summer I had my own duties and I was expected to help with other obligations of the farm. That taught me about taking the internship on as a personal interest. In other ways, just being a part of the program helped prepare me for keeping things moving and taking things one step at a time.

How has your internship enhanced your ability to move forward in your field of study? I wanted experience working with the public this summer; however, this internship came with much more excitement, more opportunities, and more experiences than I ever anticipated. Working here has helped me pinpoint the kind of work I’d like to move into after graduation.

Coaches’ Corner: Shoneca Kent

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

What inspired you to become a GLSLP coach? I knew several other coaches who had been part of the program for several years. They mentioned so many wonderful aspects of the program, including it being an opportunity for students in rural areas to engage in leadership development. I previously had the opportunity to serve as a mentor and supervisor to college students and found the experience to be very rewarding. I wanted to continue to be a part of helping students develop into great leaders.

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 Values Explorer activity during conferences is most beneficial to the scholars because their values are their motivations that will guide them through their lives and careers. Being able to name your values is crucial in developing what you seek in a career, in the people you surround yourself with, in deciding what boards to serve, and other important moments of your lives.

What is something you may have learned at conferences that has been particularly useful in your day-to-day life? Something I have learned at the conferences that has been particularly useful in my day-to-day life is the importance of communication. When initially meeting first-year scholars at the January conference, it is important to communicate my expectations of them as scholars and their expectations of me as a coach. This is important in day-to-day life as well because I always have opportunities to meet new people who I may integrate into my work. It is important that we communicate our expectations of one another sooner rather than later.

Where do you hope to see the scholars in your coaching group five years from now? Years from now, I hope to see my scholars thriving in their chosen professions or attending their preferred graduate or professional school. I hope to see them living their dreams and all of their hard work in school, internships, and development programs paying off in the most positive returns. I hope we are still in touch with each other, providing updates on life and assisting with developing our goals into reality.

Internship Site Spotlight 2019: Sarah Yang

Year 3 scholar Sarah Yang is completed her summer 2019 internship at the Catawba County Science Center in Catawba County, NC. Sarah’s supervisor, Erin Graves, says “Sarah was an awesome intern for us, particularly in staffing our seasonal Flutterby butterfly habitat. She taught visitors about the life cycles of the insect, their habitat needs, and their characteristics. She also helped facilitate magical moments for our visitors by helping them entice a butterfly to land on their fingers (with the help of a sugar solution). Sarah stayed joyful and helpful, even when hot and sticky!”

What do you enjoy most about your internship? I enjoy incorporating science with fun, engaged people who are interested in learning more about how science is used in our daily lives.

What is the biggest obstacle you have had to overcome so far in your internship? What tools did you use to overcome it? Working with butterflies was really difficult because I have a fear of butterflies, but what helped was establishing a professional relationship with them and by seeing the smiles of everyone visiting the butterfly house.

What aspect or element of the Golden LEAF Scholars Leadership Program has been particularly helpful during your internship? The GLSLP has helped me be open-minded with the challenges that come my way and be flexible with those challenges. I have learned to be accepting of change and how this can shape me to be a better person and leader.

How has your internship enhanced your ability to move forward in your field of study? This internship has helped me appreciate the sciences and how there are innovative ways to get people, especially children, to learn the sciences. It has also helped me to understand the different aspects of the science field and that there are so many paths that I can take in biology.

Which professional-level skill(s) listed by your supervisor has/have proved to be the most challenging to develop? It was difficult to create new ways for people to be interested in the exhibits that we have at the science center. I have a new appreciation for teachers because they are able to teach and come up with new things to keep the subject interesting for their students. 

Coaches’ Corner: Stephanie Loflin

How long have you been a GLSLP coach? 4 years.

What inspired you to become a GLSLP coach? I became a coach because I did not have the support I needed when I was headed off to college. I waited until I was in my late 20’s to start college just because I was not sure what I wanted to study. Once I was around people who supported and encouraged me everything seemed to fall into place. I became a coach because I wanted to make sure that I could help others in the way that helped me most! Support and encouragement can go a long ways and I want to offer my scholars all that they deserve.

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 taking the personality test is most beneficial to the scholars. It can often be an eye opener to what works best for them. It is also helpful to share with others the outcome. Often talking about yourself can be hard to do but in the conference setting it makes scholars more eager to open up to discussions.

What is something you may have learned at conferences that has been particularly useful in your day-to-day life? I love learning about how to give and receive feedback. It has made me more aware in all avenues of my life how to address giving feedback. I feel more confident in giving feedback that is useful and not overbearing. It also helped me to take feedback and use it to progress rather than focusing on the negative.

Where do you hope to see the scholars in your coaching group five years from now? I hope to see all my scholars working somewhere that they are passionate about. It is easy to take a job just to get a paycheck but I feel that the leadership program is helping to avoid that. Going out into the workforce while still studying in college helps to gain access into what they really want out of their degree. I want them to be successful and prepared to tackle anything that comes their way.

Coaches’ Corner: Briana Graham

How long have you been a GLSLP coach? 2 years.

What inspired you to become a GLSLP coach? I became a GLSLP coach to help college students from rural counties understand the value of their education and the opportunity to help improve rural North Carolina. I want to make sure they thrive in college and become leaders in their communities.

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 Values Explorer activity is the most beneficial at conferences. It requires the scholars to think about what they value in a leader and to make sure they also exhibit those qualities as they progress.

What is something you may have learned at conferences that has been particularly useful in your day-to-day life?Conferences are beneficial to coaches because they also experience the leadership activities. We learn how to communicate effectively with our scholars and ensure they are progressing through the program.

Where do you hope to see the scholars in your coaching group five years from now? Years from now I hope to see my scholars happy. I hope to see them in the jobs they love and fostering healthy relationships in their career and personal lives.

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.

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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