Campus Alamance: Nailah Ware ’26 finds sense of community through United Way

The music production major spent the eight-week program interning with the United Way of Alamance County.

The Campus Alamance initiative provides students the opportunity to take the skills they’ve acquired at Elon to go out into the community and apply those skills working with some of the university’s most important community partners. 

Several of the 41 interns who participated this summer shared their experiences in the program and the lessons they’ve learned working in the community for eight weeks in this series of articles for Today at Elon. 

Ware at the United Way of Alamance County office in Burlington, where she is working as a summer intern.

Establishing a sense of community was a top priority for Nailah Ware ’26, a Crofton, Maryland native, as she arrived at Elon University in the fall of 2022. A member of the Equity Leadership Council at her high school and joining Pi Sigma Epsilon as the philanthropy director, she has always held community engagement dear. As she looked to deepen her connections, the Campus Alamance internship program presented the perfect opportunity.

Ware applied for the eight-week Campus Alamance summer experience and worked with the United Way of Alamance County. She’s a music production major with aspirations to launch her own studio to work with the youth and a business administration minor with a strong interest in marketing and sales. The United Way internship was a perfect fusing of her passions.

“I want to be heavily involved in my community. At United Way, I have had opportunities to go on site visits with my supervisor and interact with different nonprofits in the community,” Ware said. “I wanted to get involved and be productive.”

She spent a significant portion of the eight-week internship creating an onboarding guide for incoming student volunteers looking to gain experience working on taxes. To prepare for this, Ware completed advanced VITA and TCE certifications to better understand tax software and the overall tax filing process.

Having the hands-on, interactive experience with different modules and software like TaxSlayer has put Ware in a position to elevate others and provide unique opportunities for volunteers. “The knowledge I’ve obtained will be presented in the Orientation Guide incoming students volunteers in order to have success and confidence,” she said.

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Learning how much work goes into supporting Alamance County’s vast and interconnected community was another key takeaway from the internship. She gained insights on the importance of financial literacy and how to break down complex issues, such as taxes and credit, in a digestible way. They are vital skills she will take away from the Campus Alamance experience.

The Campus Alamance program aims to get each student who participates a similar experience of growth and a sense of purpose. Launched in the summer of 2021 by the Kernodle Center for Civic Life and the Student Professional Development Center, Campus Alamance provides a mutually beneficial opportunity for local businesses, nonprofit organizations and government entities who need talented interns.

Ware, left, goes over some work with her supervisor Candy Snyder at the United Way of Alamance County office in Burlington.

The 41 Campus Alamance interns in this summer’s cohort received a $2,500 stipend and worked 30 hours per week. Along with first-hand work experience, the student interns were given the chance to network with some of the area’s most important leaders through panels and weekly professional development sessions.

“We’re getting tapped in and it’s important because I know who to connect with now if I want to host an event on financial literacy pro learn more about credit,” Ware said.

Ware said Elon’s commitment to its students breaking through the “Elon bubble,” which is supported in the Boldly Elon strategic plan, is something that makes her proud as a student. It shows the institution’s willingness to not just support the students but the ecosystem around Elon.

“The one thing that I came to Elon for was community, and I found it through Campus Alamance,” Ware said.