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MPA Scholarship Winners

Congratulations to our MPA Alumni Scholarship Award winners!

Thanks to the generosity of the PA Alumni Society scholarship endowment, we were able to offer two scholarships this year to Ania Hairston and Mason Chamblee. These students are recognized for their excellence in public administration, and we look forward to seeing all that they achieve in their future endeavors.

Ania Hairston

We are thrilled to introduce Ania Hairston, she is a standout individual with a strong commitment to public policy and public service. Ania was born and raised in Madison, North Carolina. In 2018 she began her collegiate academic journey at North Carolina Central University, where she was honored as an inaugural recipient of the Cheatham-White Merit Scholarship. She graduated in 2022 with a degree in Political Science with a concentration in Pre-Law and Public Policy.

Her commitment to public service was evident with her taking an internship with the Office of Congressman David Price in 2021. In this role she worked alongside the congressman’s staff to provide resources to constituents, and organized a very impactful event on food security. Currently, Ania serves as a Lead For North Carolina Fellow at the North Carolina League of Municipalities. There, she serves in a pivotal role in providing support related to the American Rescue Plan.

Aside from her public service and professional accomplishments, Ania values having a healthy work-life balance. In her free time, she enjoys activities such as going to the gym, reading novels, watching new movies, and most importantly spending time with family and friends.

Ania’s advice to incoming students: “I would say don’t be afraid to share your experiences. Regardless of where you are in your career, you are in this program for a reason and you deserve to be here. Your journey through the program won’t be the same as other students and these different backgrounds and experiences add value to the program. As another piece of advice, I would say to prioritize yourself and your needs. All of the professors that I had the opportunity to interact with have been understanding and accommodating, so please don’t feel the need to push yourself beyond your limits to excel academically. When things begin to feel overwhelming, reach out for support.”

With her passion for public service and personal growth, Ania Hairston is poised to make significant contributions not only to our university but to the overall field of public administration. We are proud of Ms. Hairston, and we look forward to her future successes.

Mason Chamblee

Mason was born and raised in the small town of Corrigan, Texas. He came from a cattle ranching family and he attributes much of who he is today to his upbringing. He earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas in 2017. Mason began working in local government and he eventually made his way to North Carolina in 2021. He always had a passion for public service which is why he joined NC State’s MPA program in the fall of 2023. 

Mason is currently employed in the Transit Division for the City of Raleigh working in community relations. Post graduation from the department Mason wishes to further his career in local government. He also has some interest in the federal government where he could tackle a different set of issues. 

In his free time, Mason likes to be outdoors. He really enjoys activities such as backpacking, hiking and exploring nature. Since he is a newcomer to the state, Mason really enjoys exploring the nature and wildlife North Carolina exhibits. Reading is also another pastime mason enjoys. 

Mason leaves us with words of wisdom, “On wisdom, I would first say, don’t listen to me, I don’t have it figured out at all. But second, I would say to anyone at any stage of their academic journey, try new things. You never know what kind of person you will end up being, so try everything you can. Discover new experiences and meet new people. Always do your best to avoid tunnel vision. Sometimes the best way to get somewhere new in life is to not know where you’re heading. The people who are most successful and happiest in life are, in my experience, those who don’t limit themselves. They are happy because they love to learn, grow, try, experience and, most importantly, fail. Accepting that it’s cheesy to leave a quote I’ll do it regardless. “We are not nouns, we are verbs. I am not a thing – an actor, a writer – I am a person who does things – I write, I act – and I never know what I’m going to do next. I think you can be imprisoned if you think of yourself as a noun.” – Stephen Fry.