Thursday, September 20, 2012

Reflecting on Life as a Levine Scholar

               My journey began with a love for reading and discovery. As a student having spent most of my life within rural bounds, moving to Charlotte was quite an awakening. It has provided me with innumerable eye-opening experiences to learn about the world in new ways. While I no longer have much time for recreational reading, college has allowed me to learn through reality, offering endless motivation and inspiration. The past few months have been most effective in teaching me what it means to be a Levine Scholar and to learn through experience. The chance to grow through experience is why I chose this scholarship, but I could never have predicted the depth and breadth of the chances I would be given.

Early this summer, I embarked on my first professional experience at Carolinas HealthCare Foundation, sponsored by the Levine Scholars Program. Surrounded by an innovative management staff and daily opportunities to increase my involvement, I was continually blown away by the quality of the internship. The foundation gave me confidence to succeed professionally at a time when it was much needed. I was able to save the foundation money by teaching staff to utilize project management software, weigh in on strategic decisions, design marketing material, and assess multiple initiatives. I was humbled by the talent of my coworkers, but fueled by their support of my ideas and outputs. For anyone living in the Charlotte area, I suggest you look up some of the initiatives that Carolinas HealthCare Foundation champions and get involved. The impact of the organization is far-reaching and very beneficial to the health and wellness of our citizens.
3 days after my time with Carolinas HealthCare was complete, I began working as an intern with Rotary District 7680. My main task was to propose social media strategies to help diversify membership for over 60 clubs in western-central NC. While writing a social media manual for 3,000 Rotarians, I was also able to plan a leadership seminar for high school students. To me, this was invigorating. The beauty of being in college is that no matter what your talents are, there will be countless opportunities to enhance and refine them, usually while forming valuable community relationships simultaneously.
 My most recent adventure was a two week program at the Democratic National Convention. Through a seminar with The Washington Center, I was able to serve as a volunteer with The National Journal and StartUp RockOn. The highlight of my week was helping to coordinate a concert featuring The Roots. My main responsibility was to help ensure that the companies’ parties and events ran smoothly, which was certainly an easy task to enjoy. Perhaps the best thing that came out of being at the convention, though, was seeing my city in its prime. Charlotte came out of its shell and impressed the nation, and it was exhilarating to be right there in the middle of it. While speaking to people from across the country throughout this experience, the pride that I felt when calling myself a Charlottean is indescribable. The seminar that I took part in was another one of the many opportunities that I was referred to by the Levine Scholars Program.

None of these experiences cost me a dime. Through the benevolence of Leon and Sandra Levine and through the open arms of my community, I have been able to see, do, and experience a world of innovation and energy. There is no place that I would rather be, and I am reassured daily about my decision to come here. As a Levine Scholar in Charlotte, you have the opportunity to create whatever future you want, and the resources to make it happen.