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By Fawn Pattison

The best part about summer is reading under an umbrella at the beach, but the SECOND best part is getting to know our wonderful summer interns. Tyler Haugle and Elizabeth Byrum both brought their brilliance, great attitudes, and some incredible desserts to the NC Child team this summer. 



Elizabeth comes from Raleigh, and is currently pursuing a joint Masters’ degree program in the schools of Social Work and Public Health at UNC-Chapel Hill. This internship is a practicum, part of her required coursework.  

NCC: What are you working on? 

EB: “I’ve described my work at NC Child as being half community and stakeholder engagement and half policy research, both generally around children’s health and Medicaid. Most of the work I am doing is directly in support of the two organization-wide campaigns NC Child currently has: Medicaid expansion, and Medicaid transformation. As part of the community engagement work, I am helping to develop an advocacy toolkit for current and potential Child Advocacy Network members. I have also spent a lot of time working with the Parent Advisory Council (PAC), which has been involved with advocacy related to the state’s transition to Medicaid managed care. On the policy research side of things, I’ve also focused on understanding the complex and numerous changes happening during the Medicaid Transformation process, and researching how these components will be appropriately evaluated.” 

NCC: Have you learned anything while working here that surprised you? 

EB: “I was most surprised about everything that NC Child is involved in despite being a relatively small team. At the same time, the collaborative environment at NC Child has allowed me to engage with a lot of different projects. I’ve gotten to learn about everything from legislative advocacy, organizational development, community engagement, and strategic communications. It has been a great opportunity to learn the breadth of policy advocacy.” 

NCC: What, if anything, will you do differently going forward as a result of what you learned this summer? 

EB: “I think there is a tendency for policy-oriented work to be reserved for field experts, academics, and policy wonks while being isolated from the folks directly impacted, and this structure needs to be redesigned. Policy decisions shouldn’t be made for or simply with impacted communities, these decisions should be made by those who are most impacted. NC Child’s Parent Advisory Council has been an inspiring model of community-centered policy advocacy that I hope continues to grow within the organization and across the sector.” 

Adam Sotak & Tyler Haugle

Tyler hails from Mebane, North Carolina, and one day hopes to work for Legal Aid, or another legal agency representing clients who wouldn’t otherwise have access to the justice system. He’s a junior at UNC-Chapel Hill studying Psychology, US History, and Public Policy. Many thanks to the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation for making Tyler’s internship possible.

NCC: Why did you want to work with NC Child this summer? 

TH: “I was eager to learn more about the non-profit world, and wanted to work with an organization advancing equity at the most basic levels – what better way to do that than with a group that advocates for our children and helps to set up the rest of their lives for success?”

NCC: What are you working on? 

TH: “I am mostly working on reports and fact sheets about unaccompanied minors experiencing homelessness, and minor consent laws in North Carolina, as well as a report on early childhood care providers in North Carolina.”

NCC: Have you learned anything while working here that surprised you? 

TH: “That the non-profit world is super interconnected. I did not realize how many agencies work together to achieve similar goals.”

We have already had to say goodbye to Tyler as he returns to Chapel Hill for the fall semester, but we get to hang onto Elizabeth just a little longer. Thanks to the good folks who collaborated with both Elizabeth and Tyler this summer, especially the members of our Child Advocacy Network and Parent Advisory Council. We are so grateful to all of you for supporting them, and most of all to Tyler and Elizabeth for their great work.

Fawn Pattison is NC Child’s Communications Director. 

Support NC Child’s work to ensure health and wellness for all NC’s children. Click here to make a donation today. 

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