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Most 23-year-olds looking for fun with a little drama would tune in to The Hills. Not many would go to work on The Hill, as in Capitol Hill. Yet that is the choice UAB School of Business alum Josh Carpenter made.
“The value of service-learning that UAB emphasized has enabled me to invest in my colleagues the importance of the work we are doing for the people we serve and ourselves,” says Carpenter.
Carpenter is spending his summer in the White House Internship Program (WHIP) with the Office of Presidential Correspondence.
“Josh has many leadership qualities,” says Stephen Yoder, director of UAB School of Business Honors Program. “He is an extrovert, collaborative, empathetic and has terrific interpersonal skills.”
Almost immediately Carpenter was named a co-leader of one of WHIP’s public-service initiatives. He organized a team to create an alternative service project for the 55 volunteer leaders and interns. “We coordinate interns to aid the Capital Area Food Bank in the distribution of 25 million pounds of food to those in need,” Carpenter says. “Hunger is a real problem in D.C.; one of every three residents are at risk for hunger. This includes 200,000 children.”
It is not surprising that he has taken the lead in serving the community. Carpenter recently finished the first of two years in the Teach for America program. He is in the first class of Alabamians to join Teach for America, a program that sends future leaders to low-income communities. Carpenter is teaching English plus coaching football and baseball in Marion County, Ala.
“The challenges are, indeed, numerous, but so are the rewards,” says Carpenter. “Professionally, I developed a deeper understanding of the deficits that plague many low-income public schools. Students often are the victims of a number of deficits, including chronic underfunding, low teacher support and misaligned incentive structures. I hope to use this experience to inform my future endeavors in public service.”
The White House intern, who has not yet met President Barack Obama, says his typical day varies. In the Office of Correspondence he has learned the level of effort placed on responding to the emails and letters the president receives. He is amazed by “the substantive value the president places on hearing from the American people.” But the most valuable lesson he has learned is that sometimes it takes more than hard work to be successful.
“Most of the government officials we’ve heard from said one serendipitous opportunity ultimately propelled them to where they are now,” says Carpenter. “I think the point here is that you must be willing to take on a job that you may feel is incommensurate with your abilities and work hard at it because that very well could be your starting point or provide you with a connection to develop your career. Breadth of experience is as important as your education.”
Carpenter’s short-term goal is to finish his commitment to Teach for America and his students in Marion County. Afterward he plans to pursue a master’s degree and maybe a doctorate.
UAB Media Relations
The unemployment rate in Camden, Alabama is more than double the national average. A staggering 47 percent of households earn less than $25,000 per year.
The Wilcox County area needs help. The UAB School of Business is providing some.
“This all started because I was chatting with my friend Ed Partridge (Dr. Edward Partridge, director of the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center and president of the American Cancer Society Inc.) about the health disparity in Wilcox County,” says Mickey Gee, executive-in-residence in the UAB Department of Marketing, Industrial Distribution and Economics. “It is not a delivery problem, it is an economic problem. So I hand-picked six School of Business students to find and implement a solution that will generate tourism and revenue to this area so desperately in need.”
The student volunteers are Olu Dosunmu-Ogunbi, Calvin Burchfiel, Daniel Owens, Gabrielle Hood, Eboni Thomas, Lewinale Harris and Derrick Strong. They were each chosen because of individual skills in marketing, industrial distribution, management, web work and web design.
The students will develop a marketing strategy for the Wilcox Area Chamber of Commerce. They will help develop the brand and tag line the chamber will use to promote the county. They will also work with Black Belt Treasures, a non-profit organization promoting the arts of the Black Belt region, on their point-of-sale system, bar coding, inventory management and website support.
The School of Business students will mentor a group of students from each of the two local high schools. They will be assisted by faculty volunteers Jacob Gelber and Nathan Oliver in addition to Gee. They are calling the project “One Tank Treasures” because it only takes one tank of gas to reach the Wilcox County area from most of Alabama’s major cities. Plus, the area offers so many treasures for tourists and retirees.
You can follow the students’ journey daily by visiting their One Tank Treasures Blog.
John Hansen, Faculty Advisor
The mission of the Collat Business Student Leaders is to inform and engage the outside community, focusing on prospective students, about opportunities present through the UAB Collat School of Business. Students have the opportunity to represent the UAB Collat School of Business through excellence and professionalism to the Birmingham business community and serve the school in a leadership council capacity.
Applications are accepted once a year during spring semester. Applications can be printed from the link below or students may also stop by BEC 202-C to pick-up an application. The completed form along with a faculty or staff reference and a current resume should be submitted to Edward Reynolds or dropped by his office - BEC 202-C.
Business Student Leader Application (Deadline to apply- March 16th, 5pm)
Unique programs and real-world experience gained through internships and hands-on learning projects arm our graduates with skills to succeed in a tough economy. See where some of our May graduates are heading-