Name: Ashlin Elliott
High School Attended: Columbia High School
Home County: Tyrrell County
College(s) Attended/ Years Attended: UNC Chapel Hill School (2016-2020)
Major(s): Media and Journalism with a concentration in Public Relations
Minor(s): Environmental Studies
County Now Living In: Pitt County
Employer: Vidant Health
Title: Communications Coordinator
Years Working for Current Employer: 5 months
What are some of your major accomplishments during college?
I was a first-generation college student. I also completed an internship with Nike and the Jordan Brand in addition to internships at Pettigrew State Park and the Eastern 4-H Center.
What would you tell someone interested in applying for the Golden LEAF Scholarship about being a recipient?
Do it! I have made my absolute best friends from the leadership program. The scholarship program connects you to other people from similar rural backgrounds at your college. It also brings you into a large network of scholars, mentors, companies, and potential employers that the Golden LEAF Foundation has helped.
What helped you decide to live/ work/ serve a rural area?
I wanted to remain close to my family, while also going into a nearby rural area with more employment opportunities. My passion is making a difference in eastern North Carolina, especially because our population suffers many health risks at a much larger rate than the national average such as many cancers and heart problems.
What kind of leadership roles are you serving in currently?
I am currently on the Public Relations team at Vidant, where I lead many projects.
What did you learn during your experience with the Golden LEAF Scholars Leadership Program?
During this program, I learned how to bring my skills from college together with my background as someone from rural North Carolina to make a difference.
What internship experiences did you have through the Golden LEAF Scholars Leadership Program?
I completed one internship with Pettigrew State Park when I thought I wanted to be an environmental science major. After completing the internship, I realized my passion was more about the communications side of science. I wanted to bring awareness to the issues I was passionate about rather than working on the science behind it. From that experience, I changed my major to Media and Journalism. The following two summers, I interned at the Eastern 4-H Center and Summer Camp as their communications associate. I got to run their social media and learned how to build relationships with local news media, which has carried me far in my job now.
Did your experiences with the Golden LEAF Scholars Leadership Program help shape your decision to live/ work in rural areas?
My experiences with the Golden LEAF Scholars Leadership Program helped make me decide to live and work in rural North Carolina. I learned that there are ways that I can make a difference in the rural communities. I initially was very excited to leave Eastern North Carolina, but Golden LEAF showed me ways that I could stay in ENC and change the community for the better. Currently, I do a lot of outreach work to not only inform our region of how to get vaccinated but also the importance of returning to their doctors for their regular health and cancer screenings as those have been largely abandoned during the pandemic.