Golden LEAF Alumni Spotlight: James Carter

Name: James Carter
High School Attended: John Motley Morehead High School
Home County: Rockingham County
College(s) Attended/ Years Attended: Elon University 2010 – 2014; UNC Chapel Hill 2017-2019
Major(s): Elon – Political Science and Public Administration; UNC Chapel Hill – City & Regional Planning: Economic Development
County Now Living In: Rockingham County
Employer: Alamance Community College
Title: Work-based Learning Coordinator
Years Working for Current Employer: 2 months

What are some of your major accomplishments during college?

At Elon, I was selected as an Executive Intern, a cohort of students interested in higher education who were paired with senior leadership to learn more about the field. I was also selected as an Elon College Fellow for my academic performance and campus contributions. During my final semester, I served as a Public Policy Intern for the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) in Washington, DC, to learn more about economic development and contribute to the growth of my hometown. I graduated cum laude.

At UNC-Chapel Hill, I served as co-president of Planners Forum the City & Regional Planning Department’s student government. I also received the Excellence in Diversity Fellowship in honor of my contributions and leadership in the Planning Department.

What would you tell someone interested in applying for the Golden LEAF Scholarship about being a recipient?

I would tell someone interest in applying for the scholarship that the Golden LEAF Foundation is making an investment in his or her life. It provides one the opportunity to pursue one’s educational passion, which you pay forward through your career. The Golden LEAF scholarship provides opportunity to build your network and connect with other civic-minded students.

What helped you decide to live/ work in a rural area?

I decided to live in rural North Carolina because I understand my education and experiences — supported by the Golden LEAF Foundation — provides me with unique talents to help my community grow. I believe in today’s knowledge driven economy, as young leaders, we must actively make a pledge to combat “brain drain” and population loss.

What kind of leadership roles are you serving in currently?

I currently serve on the Campus Compact committee at Alamance Community College. The mission of Campus Compact—a nationwide collegiate partnership—is to incorporate service learning across campus and connect students with civic opportunities in the community.

What did you learn during your Golden LEAF Scholars Leadership Program experience?

I was honored to participate in the inaugural Golden LEAF Scholars Leadership Program cohort. I learned about the challenges not only facing my home county but rural counties across rural North Carolina. Participating also highlighted the important role I have as a leader to contribute to the transformation of rural North Carolina. That lesson still lives with me today and has shaped my career path.

What internship experiences did you have?

I completed three internship experiences: a departmental rotation with the City of Eden, NC and two internships at Rockingham County Head Start. Each internship gave me a different insight into how to grow as a leader.

Did your experiences help shape your decision to live/ work in rural areas? If so, how?

Yes, my experiences shaped my decision to live/work in rural areas. Through my internship at Rockingham County Head Start I learned the true value of education in transforming the community. As such, I have been very strategic in seeking career experiences which strengthen the connection between economic and workforce development and education.

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