Jill Warren Lucas
Hardworking students in the nonprofit studies minor helped the Institute for Nonprofits achieve a significant milestone last week when its number of graduates passed the century mark.
The 10 students who completed the program and were commended on Friday brought the tally to 104 graduates since the minor was established in 2006. Another 110 NC State University undergrads are currently enrolled.
Mary Tschirhart, Director of the Institute for Nonprofits and a professor of public administration, welcomed the students, many of whom were joined by family members. Professor David Zonderman, who teaches a required course on the history of nonprofits, commended the graduates for inspiring him with their intellect and commitment. “This is a challenging minor, and it really does attract the best and brightest,” he said.
Echoing the sentiments of several students, graduate Shakilya Sutton of Raleigh recounted how she felt unsure about her academic and career choices until she discovered the nonprofit studies minor. “I now feel like I’m truly called to my work,” said Sutton, who intends to pursue a career with a nonprofit that serves those battling breast cancer. “It’s changed my life.”
Dean Jeffrey P. Braden of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences said the nonprofit studies minor is an essential element in NCSU’s commitment to preparing future leaders who will create meaningful social change.
“Our students already have made significant contributions to area nonprofits through hands-on internships with organizations that strive to improve conditions for the communities they serve,” Braden said. “We are confident that they will continue to use their skills to help community agencies build capacity and grow programs that benefit clients.”
Marion Price, whose nonprofit education was one of four minors she completed this year – the others are in French, animal science and history, with a major in international studies – made such an impact at her internship site that she was hired last month.
“Right now I’m focusing on getting a continuous training plan in place because we have to always be preparing for the next person in line,” said Price, who is working part-time at Children’s Flight of Hope in Cary, N.C. The nonprofit provides free, private air transportation for necessary medical treatment for seriously ill or injured children and their families.
Price stepped into the position when an employee unexpectedly left, creating an opportunity to significantly expand her responsibilities. While the assignment is temporary, Price believes the experience will put her ahead of peers when it comes to competing for her next job.
“It’s been a very big learning curve, but know I’m getting to do a lot of things that most new hires don’t do,” said Price, who wants to work for an internationally-based aid organization that provides funds to nonprofits. “Between what I bring to this job and what I gain, I hope to be successful in my career.”
Also participating in the event was Charles Anderson of the Institute for Nonprofits’ External Advisory Council; Tom Birkland, Richard Clerkin, Myron Floyd and Mindy Sopher, all of the Academic Advisory Council; and Eileen Hannan Ferrell, Melonie St. John and Emily Holder of the Institute staff.
The faculty and staff of the Institute for Nonprofits wishes to congratulate the December 2012 graduates in the nonprofit minor (major fields of study are listed in parenthesis):
Elisabeth (Libby) Hartness of Henderson, N.C. (parks, recreation and tourism management); Ashley Honeycutt of Raleigh (political science); Kathleen (Merritt) Lance of Raleigh (social work); Pada Lo of Raleigh (international studies); Marina Maddox of Raleigh (psychology); Kathryn Michael of Cary, N.C. (communication); MarileeNeal of Fuquay-Varina, N.C. (international studies); Marion Price of Raleigh (international studies); Camille Smith of Raleigh (political science); and Shakilya Sutton of Raleigh (business administration).