The Eastern North Carolina Internship Program
Eastern NC Internship Program

Past Interns

ENCIP Alumni

This video was created by a group of UNC and Duke Robertson Scholars who spent the summer of 2018 as ENCIP interns in Tarboro, N.C.


charnita cook

School: UNC-Chapel Hill Class of 2020

Hometown: Creedmoor, NC

Majors: Education and psychology

Internship: Freedom School

“My favorite part of the summer was the people: the people in the town and the people I worked with. I wouldn’t have had as great an experience if I were not with those people and if they were not as awesome as they were. My favorite part of my job—if I had to pick just one thing—is that I liked seeing the growth in the students, not just academically but also socially. Seeing the evolution in the way they think about themselves and other people."


Joseph Touma

School: Duke Class of 2021

Hometown: Huntington, WV

Major: Political science

Internship: Edgecombe Tourism Authority

“During my summer in Tarboro, I developed a number of key leadership skills from effective communication to creative thinking. The time I spent working with local government leaders and public servants highlighted the fact that community and leadership go hand-in-hand.”

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Michelle Nandi

School: UNC-Chapel Hill Class of 2021

Hometowns: Kenya and South Africa

Major: Business administration with an interest in finance and sports

Internship: Michael’s Angels Girls Club

“This summer I had two wonderful mentors, Christine and Shanell, who allowed me the freedom to design my role which I really enjoyed. I also had the pleasure to work with the wonderful girls of MAGC, who taught me the value of patience and listening. With all their individual personalities, they left a mark on me. Working with young black girls, and being black, gave me insight into the structural dynamics and problems of Tarboro, and how MAGC is really building a safe and empowering space for young black girls in the town.”

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Adam Ushpol

School: UNC-Chapel Hill Class of 2021

Hometowns: Atlanta, Georgia and Durban, South Africa

Major: Psychology

Internship: Vidant Hospitals End-of-Life Care

“Designing and conducting a Mortality and Morbidity audit for Vidant-Edgecombe Hospital was professionally rewarding, because it built on my burgeoning interest in end-of-life care. And, in small-town Tarboro, I learned to be more comfortable with the unknown, embrace ambiguity and take myself (just a little) less seriously by attempting paddleboard yoga, tapping along to Pops on the Commons, losing at Trivia Nite, attending weekly think-tanks with community organizers, and having everyday interactions with the wonderful, occasionally weird local eccentrics. My summer was a personal and academic reckoning with my newly-adopted country (Naturalization, 8/13/18) and my potential; the perfect place and time to reflect on, renew and reaffirm my sense of country and identity.”


Brian Lee

School: UNC Class of 2020

Hometown: Allendale, NJ

Majors: Political science and information science

Internship: Rural Opportunity Institute

“This summer, I gained a lot of experience networking and communicating with individuals and organizations to accomplish a larger goal. I had to rely on communication skills and resources to be able to access some of the information and personnel that were necessary for me to successfully produce a data dashboard for Rural Opportunity Institute.”


Serena Lim-Strutt

School: Duke Class of 2021

Hometown: Hamilton, New Zealand

Major: Neuroscience

Internship: Innovation in Edgecombe County Public Schools

“This summer was a unique experience that exposed me to rural America. It was very interesting to see how Tarboro's demographics shaped the town and I think that the most important thing I learned is that I will never fully understand what it's like to grow up as part of a minority race.”


Katherine Gan

School: Duke Class of 2021

Hometown: Cary, NC

Major: Public policy and history

Internship: Edgecombe County Health Department

“This summer, I gained a better understanding of systematic and institutionalized inequalities based on race and class.”


hanna watson

School: UNC class of 2020

Hometown: Wichita, KS

Internship: Freedom School teacher

"My summer in Tarboro changed the trajectory of my life in the most beautiful way. I was challenged to work harder than ever before and engage in a community quite different than my own. God revealed the perfection of His will for my life through the folks of Tarboro and the teaching that I was able to explore, and I could not be more grateful."


ralph lawton

School: Duke class of 2020

Hometown: Avondale, PA

Internship: Opioid-abuse research with Edgecombe County Public Health. Ralph presented his research at the Eastern Carolina University Kataria Research Day in April 2018!

"This summer ended up being incredibly meaningful to me for a lot of reasons. I was put in a place and a job I never would’ve ended up experiencing otherwise. As a result, I added skills, took a hard look at the state of healthcare in the area, reframed my professional goals, and grew as a person. All of this amongst the backdrop of a vibrant community that couldn’t be more passionate about their town."


divya mahesh

School: UNC class of 2020

Hometown: St. Augustine, FL

Internship: Advance care planning with Vidant Health

"Picking Tarboro as my Community Summer location is easily one of the best decisions I have made in college. Living in a small town like Tarboro was a very new experience for me, but I really enjoyed my summer and I learned a lot from both my internship and members of the community. Becoming a part of a unique community like Tarboro was an incredible experience and my time in Tarboro has already influenced my plans for next summer! I already knew that I wanted to travel and do something medicine-related, but this summer pushed me toward studying/learning more about rural healthcare."


Matthew schaefer

School: UNC class of 2020

Hometown: Newtown Square, PA

Internship: Business analyst & camp counselor at Conetoe Family Life Center

"From playing an active role in a tight-knit small town community to harvesting and selling produce to local restaurants and markets, I learned a lot about the lifestyle and social structures of Tarboro and the surrounding area. I had previously never had experience in the social work sector, and seeing figures like Reverend Joyner (Top 10 CNN Hero; founder and director of Conetoe Family Life Center) dedicate their lives to such a noble cause is both touching and motivating. It really showed me the best of people and I hope some of that will stick with me for years to come."


Emily kian

School: UNC class of 2020

Hometown: Boca Raton, FL

Internship: Garden assistant & camp counselor at Conetoe Family Life Center

"I had the most incredible summer exploring Tarboro. While the town itself was charming, it was truly the people that made my summer so special. I have never in my life come across such a warm and kindhearted group of people, and after forming so many friendships with Tarboro folks, I really feel like I am part of the community, despite only living there for two short months. It was heartbreaking to see some of the many socioeconomic struggles that Edgecombe County faces (especially Conetoe), but I was touched by how much the community members care about their town and the efforts they are making to improve the county. The ENCIP board members, Dr. Moore, and Reverend Joyner are—and always will be—true role models for me!"

A note for prospective applicants: You may notice that all our past interns are from either UNC-CH or Duke. This is because ENCIP is a young organization that started by partnering with campus programs well-known by the board, and Duke and UNC happened to be the two universities best known by the board at that time. Now that we are more established, we are actively recruiting students from any college or university. We expect to see a broader diversity of schools in our 2019 intern cohort!