Whew! Eight weeks. At the beginning of the Fellowship, I was preparing for something I had no idea about. After getting over the hurdle of interviewing and matching to my host site, I don’t think I felt a small sense of relief until after our Bootcamp. “Okay. Maybe I can do this,” was what I thought. A simple statement filled with so many questions/concerns. For me, this wasn’t just a chance to experience D.C. or do something different. This would be the start or the end of my professional career in communications. I took this experience so seriously that I left my full-time job and put myself in the most uncomfortable situation to see where it would take me.

Knowing what I know now, being matched with the National League of Cities (NLC) was exactly what I needed. Not only did I get to experience a well-established Communications team as a whole; I was able to experience women who look like me, some who were mothers, in positions that I was inspired about. The entire Digital Engagement Marketing & Communications (DEMC) team welcomed me with open arms. At each meeting I sat in on, I felt more and more like a team member and less of an intern. Through the various programs/ teams I experienced, I realized that everyone that is a part of the company aligns their personal passions/struggles with good work. For the first time in my life, I was not just a civilian or consumer in my community, I felt like I was a part of making social change. Sitting on webinars that will better prepare cities to defend ARPA funding and writing about issues that specifically affect me daily are things that made me go to bed fulfilled. By the time it was time to say my final goodbyes, I became accustomed to being one of the voices for NLC and I will forever feel like a part of their dynamic team.

If you were to ask me what I wanted to do with my degree before, I would’ve had a list of uncertainties. You would hear me say things like “I want to be in the room with all the important people and no one knows the importance of who I was,” or “I want to be the team and not the face.” Now, after being a Frank Karel Fellow, I can give you a perfect explanation about what I WILL be doing after graduation. I will be working in Public Interest Communications as a Strategic Communicator. I always thought I would be a part of making someone else’s dreams and legacies live on as a team member. Never in a million years did I know that there was a professional position that allowed me to incorporate my personal passions into work to make the community around myself and my son better.

 Being a young mother has not been an easy journey for me. I strive every day to make sure my son is well-taken care of and try my best to teach him how to become a strong Black man in today’s society. I feel like I’m doing a great job at doing so, however, I thought I lost myself in the process. This journey has allowed me to challenge myself to reach my full potential, so I can be the best version of myself for my son. As a 2022 Fellow, I now realize that my background and story are what got me here today and will continue to be the reason for who I will become. Being in an uncomfortable position in life will be my motivation to use Public Interest Communication to make the community around my son and me better. It is now my time to keep the Frank Karel legacy stay alive.