New fellows prepare for year of service with Alamance County organizations

Six members of the Class of 2024 participated in a signing ceremony on Wednesday to formalize their participation in the service-year program offered by Elon in partnership with local organizations. Six fellows who have completed their year of service were also recognized.

Six members of the Class of 2024 gathered with friends and family in Clohan Theatre in the Inman Admissions Welcome Center on Wednesday to formally begin a year of service working with organizations that support the health, wellness and prosperity of residents of Alamance County.

These new Elon graduates will spend the coming year as Elon Year of Service Fellows with roles that will focus on the health and well-being of Alamance County as well as furthering educational success and economic opportunity in partnership with six community organizations. This is the 10th cohort of Elon alumni to participate in the unique collaboration designed to lend support to these community partners while delivering a valuable professional experience to the fellows. The program is jointly funded by the university and Cone Health and is co-chaired by Laurie Judge, senior associate director of career services in Elon’s Student Professional Development Center, and Marcy Green, vice president of programs at Impact Alamance.

Wednesday’s event was an opportunity to look ahead at what the new fellows will accomplish during the next year, and it was also a chance to look back at the achievements of the 2023-24 cohort of fellows. Since their graduation from Elon last May, members of the program’s ninth cohort — Megan Curling, Shauna Galvin, Madi Gilgo, Moriah Griffin, Lily Kays and Ashley Pehan — have been honing their professional skills, developing new connections with the community and working to promote health, wellness and education throughout Alamance County. They’ve become productive members of the teams at Alamance Achieves, the For Alamance Initiative (formerly the Harwood Institute Initiative), Impact Alamance, the Alamance County Health Department, the City of Burlington’s Economic Development Department, Cone Health/Alamance Regional Medical Center, and Alamance Achieves.

The fellows shared details of the wide-ranging projects they have worked on during the past year and myriad accomplishments in the area of public health, heath care, education, economic development and community-building. Along the way, they learned skills they never thought they would need and expanded their knowledge beyond that they learned at Elon. They forged strong relationships with each other as well as their co-workers and mentors.

In her advice to the new fellows, Shauna Galvin ’23 shared that they will be exposed to things that may be unfamiliar to them. “There’s so much power in knowing what you don’t know,” Galvin said. “Walk with humility.”

President Emeritus Leo M. Lambert was a featured speaker, and he explained that the program was created out of the broader desire by leaders at Elon and other higher education institutions to support a broader range of options of new college graduates to engage in service. “This is one great model of young people doing service,” Lambert said. “You are the leaders that America needs.”

A key figure in the creation of the program was Preston Hammock, who more than a decade ago was president of Alamance Regional Medical Center and now serves as a regional president for Cone Health. In his role with the medical center, Hammock worked with leaders at Elon to helped build out the program with the goal of creating stronger connections between new Elon graduates and the local community while supporting organizations working in public health and health care. “There is so much change that has happened,” Hammock said. “To see this program evolve and broaden beyond health care, and to see the interconnectedness with economic development, with education, with innovation — that is inspiring to me. To see the interest in this program and the caliber of students that are committed to this year of service is just wonderful.”

Among those who have served as a fellow previously was Sally Gordon ’18, who is now director of community change for The United Way of Alamance County. Gordon shared with the fellows about the impact her year of service with the Alamance County Health Department had on her life and her career path.  “This transformative experience really profoundly shaped my career,” Gordon said. “This fellowship was not just a stepping stone. It was a launchpad that propelled me into a realm of professional growth, personal discovery and meaningful impact. …The relationships I built with my peers and mentors have continued to be a source of support and collaboration long after my fellowship year ended.”

Following a presentation of gifts to the outgoing fellows, the new fellows joined their new mentors in signing the commitment agreement to close the ceremony. They will begin their new roles following Commencement on Friday, May 24.

2024-25 Elon Year of Service Fellows

Julie Burpeau, Cone Health

  • Major: Exercise Science
  • Minor: Public Health

Mollie Lund, For Alamance Initiative

  • Majors: Professional Writing and Rhetoric, International and Global Studies

Nicole McGinty, Impact Alamance

  • Major: Public Health
  • Minors: Wellness and Health Education, Statistics, Poverty and Social Justice

Nyjah Rollins, Alamance Achieves

  • Major: Human Service Studies
  • Minor: Leadership Studies

Nolan Schreiner, City of Burlington Economic Development

  • Major: Political Science
  • Minor: Strategic Communications

Frieda Walsh-Seaman, Alamance County Health Department

  • Major: Biology