ECU students selected to SECU Public Fellows internship program

A group of East Carolina University students are spending the summer working with organizations that make a difference for the residents of eastern North Carolina. The State Employees’ Credit Union (SECU) Public Fellows internship program partners students with local government, economic development, educational and other nonprofit agencies to work on projects that help address community-identified priorities.

In its 10th year at ECU, the rewarding internship program offers students a chance to use their talents in a professional setting, gain hands-on experience and help with projects that have real-world impact.

The 2024 SECU Public Fellows are:

  • Veronica Almanza of Carthage, A Time for Science
  • Jaliyah Armstrong of Goldsboro, city of Goldsboro
  • Elayna Arthur of New Bern, Hope Restorations
  • Heather Baker of Winterville, AMEXCAN
  • Emily Bronson of South Mills, Ronald McDonald House Charities
  • Brooklyn Buchanan of Dallas , Heart for ENC
  • Emma Corbett of Holly Springs, Washington County government
  • Whitley Dockery of Whiteville, Martin-Pitt Partnership for Children
  • Sierra Durand of Chocowinity, N.C. Aquarium on Roanoke Island
  • Joe Harris Jr. of Jackson, Murfreesboro Chamber of Commerce
  • Angela Lamb of Goldsboro, Wayne County Public Library
  • Mason Lane of Creedmoor, Imagine Pamlico
  • Dayton Lynch of Cameron, Martin County Economic Development
  • Wesley Manning of Sims, East Carolina Vocational Center
  • Ilaria Noonan of Wake Forest , N.C. Stop Human Trafficking
  • Leslie Perez of Clinton, N.C. Aquarium at Fort Fisher
  • Tierney Reardon of Greenville, Sound Rivers
  • Yanelis Romero of Fayetteville, Building Hope
  • Michayla Ross of Charlotte, Restoration Weldon
  • Kayla Wenzel of Greenville, Beaufort County Arts Council

The SECU Foundation funds the internship program, which fosters workplace experiences for undergraduates while helping rural communities build professional capacity to address public issues. ECU is a founding member of the program that began in 2014 as the SECU Public Service internship program.

“Creating mutually beneficial relationships with community partners across the region is an important mission for ECU,” said program manager Cassie Keel. “The SECU Public Fellows internship program allows us to work together to provide services to the region, while also preparing our students for their future.”

To date, the program at ECU has provided 176 internships with over 75 eastern North Carolina organizations. This year, 20 ECU undergraduates were selected to work with sites across 12 counties. Students will complete 330 internship hours as part of the program and receive a $4,645 stipend.

Past interns have assisted with downtown revitalization efforts, developing strategic plans, water quality testing and reporting, building and implementing programs for community members, organizing festivals and fundraisers, and much more.

“This program is win-win-win,” said Dr. Sharon Paynter, ECU’s chief innovation and engagement officer. “Students get to test what they’re learning in the classroom in a real-world environment. Community partners get to reach into the university’s talent pool and utilize university resources. And, ECU gets to extend its reach into communities in meaningful ways.

“We look forward to continuing to work with the State Employees’ Credit Union Foundation and our community partners to provide transformative experiences to students and impactful work across the region through the PFI program,” she said.

The program is available to ECU undergraduates who are North Carolina residents and have completed at least 60 semester credit hours.

Learn more about the SECU Public Fellows internship program.

Through the SECU Public Fellows Internship program, 20 ECU students are working with organizations to help positively impact eastern North Carolina. (Photo by ECU News)


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