Read about us in this news article published by the Duke Office of Civic Engagement.
Through the eyes of Tarboro native and Robertson alumna Caroline Leland
This story starts with a moment of confusion. I didn't understand, at first, when I saw that my scholarship program was sending college students to rural Southern communities for summer internships. I couldn't imagine why anyone would choose to spend a summer in a tiny town like the one I called home.
Learning about the high-impact potential of those rural internships, though, showed me what I had previously overlooked. My quiet hometown was a hotbed of community activism — complete with passionate leaders who devote their lives to improving the outlook of Edgecombe County's most disadvantaged community members.
At the time, the Robertson Scholars Leadership Program was sending scholar groups to Whitesburg, KY, and Cleveland, MS, in addition to a couple of urban locations. Tarboro should be one of those destinations, I thought. In 2016, the Robertson Program decided to add a rural NC destination. The timing couldn't have been more perfect. I worked with my father, current board member Bill Leland, and many community leaders to found The Eastern NC Internship Program to support summer interns in Tarboro. A few months later, thanks to an extended effort by the community, The ENCIP and Tarboro handily won the bid for a new Robertson "Community Summer" location.
The ENCIP hosted its pilot cohort of internships in the summer of 2017. Unique program elements included a themed dinner series in the homes of various community leaders, and facilitated cultural activities like skeet shooting and paddle-boarding. The five inaugural interns gave their summers five-star reviews, and The ENCIP quickly began making plans to expand the program. In Summer 2018, we hosted eight interns hailing from places as far away as Kenya and New Zealand, and as close as Cary, N.C. As we look to the future, we are excited to continue strengthening our current partnerships and to continue building new ones, both with host organizations in the area and with student groups around the country.
Our mission is two-fold: 1) to facilitate meaningful and sustainable community development and 2) to provide inspiring, high-capacity learning opportunities for young leaders.
We accomplish this by designing and managing community-oriented summer internships.
Our vision is to strengthen rural communities throughout the region, to instill in young leaders the importance of these communities, and ultimately to move the world towards our ideal future of justice and equality.
caroline leland, director
A Tarboro native, Caroline works as a content specialist for the Morehead-Cain Foundation at UNC. In her previous work as a freelance writer, her projects included Our State book reviews, NPR news stories, and commissioned podcast episodes on topics as diverse as the economics of farmland and the health systems surrounding depression. By way of the Robertson Scholars Leadership Program, Caroline graduated from UNC-CH in 2015 with a degree in public relations. Her favorite things to do are travel (especially international), backpacking (the woods kind), running (half marathons), reading (a lot), and vermicomposting (i.e. pet worms).
"I absolutely would not be where I am today if it weren't for the support of the community of Tarboro throughout my life, and I am so happy to be part of a team working to share that special connection with others. Eastern NC is a trove of compelling individuals and resilient, welcoming communities— I'm delighted to be showing it off to the rest of the world!"
William Leland, MD, president
After finishing high school in Charlotte, Bill attended undergrad and medical school at UNC-Chapel Hill. Bill moved to Tarboro in 1995 and worked for over a decade in private practice before joining the School of Medicine at East Carolina University/Vidant Health where he is the program director for the Internal Medicine Residency. He is a member of the Episcopal Church and serves on the Edgecombe County Health and Human Services Board. Bill and his wife have 7 children and live in the downtown historic district of Tarboro.
"We started The ENCIP because we know that belonging, along with purpose, gives meaning to life. I want The ENCIP to help share this gift of meaning by creating larger connections inside and broader connections outside our community. Come and experience belonging. Come and learn purpose in serving. You can be a life-giving meaning."
Lauren Lampron, secretary
Lauren serves as the principal of W.A. Pattillo Middle School in Tarboro, NC. She graduated from West Chester University with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and joined the Eastern North Carolina Corps of Teach for America. After earning her teaching credentials at East Carolina University, she earned a Master of School Administration degree at NC State University as a Northeast Leadership Academy Fellow. Lauren shares her passion for education reform with her husband, and the couple resides in Tarboro, where they are both administrators currently pursuing their Doctorate of Education at NC State University.
"Moving to Tarboro has allowed me to see the power of intentional community building. Through ENCIP, I hope to share the growth we have fostered inside our community with individuals that are not from the area. The spirit of relentlessness is contagious; I know the ENCIP scholars will be impacted by the summer they spend contributing to meaningful work in our area. I'm honored to be a part of the planning process."
sammy anderson, treasurer
Sammy graduated from North Carolina State University with a B.S. in Agricultural Economics, as well as an Associate's Degree in risk management and a Chartered P&C Underwriter Designation from the American Institute. He worked in insurance underwriting in Raleigh, N.C. before returning to his native Edgecombe County in 1990 to operate Fountain, Roberson & Anderson Agency, Inc. Sammy likes to spend his spare time outdoors, whether working in the garden, running, golfing, or playing tennis.
"I am a big advocate for my community, because I believe that our small town way of life provides an excellent area for raising a family. I want to offer this pleasurable lifestyle to anyone and everyone — and I recognize that to accomplish this goal we need improvement in our schools, in the broader opportunities for our children, and in the general wellbeing of our citizens. I believe our ENCIP interns can be sparks that light those fires of achievement."
Joy Chafin graduated from Meredith College with a degree in chemistry and completed two years of post-graduate studies and research at East Carolina University before accepting a position at Medical University of South Carolina. There, her responsibilities included DNA sequencing of samples for the entire university, its hospitals, and all associated research facilities. Since moving to Tarboro with her family several years ago, she has embraced many service opportunities and especially enjoys being a Girl Scout troop leader and school volunteer. She loves to read and works hard to nurture a love of reading in all children with whom she works. She loves to travel and learn about new cultures, and she's especially proud of the global school and Spanish immersion program that Edgecombe County Public Schools has implemented.
"Although not originally from Eastern North Carolina, I have felt right at home in Tarboro since moving here. Great things are happening in Edgecombe County, but there is still much untapped potential. I am honored to be on the Board of ENCIP as we continue to seek innovative strategies to tap that potential. It is exciting to see how our collaborative efforts are benefitting us all — the community, the interns, the board, and the volunteers."
Mary Jane Jenkins
After graduating from UNC-CH with an AB in Social Studies Education, Mary Jane taught in the Atlanta Public School system and in Raleigh. Eventually she moved to Tarboro — her husband's hometown — where she continues to volunteer as a tutor in Edgecombe County Schools. Mary Jane loves playing duplicate bridge, spending time with family, and enthusiastically attending as many UNC sports events as possible.
"I love this county and all of the people who live here. I want our county's doors to be open to all people: I want to see equal opportunities in education, health care, and economic development so that all our citizens can have a good life. My children were supported by everyone as they grew up in this county — teaching me that if we work together, we can provide for all of the children and families who live here now. I'm excited to be a part of bringing this experience to fruition through ENCIP!"
Meredith is originally from Red Oak, N.C. but fell in love with the town of Tarboro as she was falling in love with her husband, Michael, a Tarboro native. After receiving her undergraduate degree from North Carolina State University, she earned a graduate degree in psychology from UNC-Wilmington. Meredith enjoys working with children, adolescents, and families in Tarboro and the surrounding areas as a psychologist at Tarboro Pediatric Psychology. She specializes in the assessment and treatment of many childhood disorders, including PTSD, anxiety, AD/HD, autism, OCD, eating disorders, depression, sleep disorders, and issues related to divorce or custody. In her free time, Meredith enjoys paddle board yoga on the Tar River and attending yoga class at Tarboro Brewing Company. Meredith is also a certified Child Light Yoga Instructor and enjoys sharing her passion for yoga with children in the community.
“After my husband finished law school, we decided to move to Tarboro with our 6-month-old daughter, Lily. The people of Tarboro welcomed us with open arms, and we are proud to call Tarboro home. I believe that ENCIP offers our community and interns a brighter future!"
Shanell Knight Daniels is a native of Tarboro, NC, who ventured into Wake County after completing her high school education. While residing in the Wake County she acquired the educational credentials, and later her degree allowing her to work in the early childhood profession for 11 years. In 2007 she decided to return to her hometown and assume the role of assistant director with Think and Grow Childcare Center, a family-owned business. Daniels continues to work with Think and Grow as she and her husband raise their high school age son and nurture their 4 grandchildren. Daniels, a product of a family of entrepreneurs, decided in 2016 to combine her passion for helping children while improving her community and founded Michael’s Angels Girls Club, Inc. Each day Daniels works to live and share her club’s motto of Converting Idleness to Action.
“There is so much talent in Edgecombe County. Over the last several years I have witnessed our community transform into a place where people are migrating from all over to come here and raise their families. I am excited to be a part of ENCIP, providing opportunities for passionate, energetic interns to play a part in preparing our county for the changes that are to come.”