Ohio University

Undergrad Scholar pursues passion in public affairs through D.C. internship

Morgan McCarthy

Morgan McCarthy always knew she wanted to work in Washington D.C.

“I think, for anyone that wants to go into public administration or public affairs, D.C. is really the place to be,” she said.

However, McCarthy didn’t think she could afford a D.C. internship until she learned about the Marty Wall Washington, D.C. Area Internship in Association Management.

McCarthy, a senior studying business administration through the Honors Tutorial College and a Voinovich School Undergraduate Research Scholar, won the award this year. The internship stipend is awarded annually to one Voinovich School student interning with a nonprofit association in the D.C. area.

Wall, a ’72 Ohio University graduate who spent 37 years as a nonprofit association and foundation executive before retiring in 2015, started the stipend to give students at his alma mater opportunities in association management.

McCarthy spent the summer interning at the Association of Public and Land Grant Universities, which works to expand access to public universities in North America and to foster student success. The association’s membership includes 200 public research universities, land grant institutions and state university systems in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. 

At Ohio University, McCarthy studies the intersection of social enterprise and higher education through her work with the Voinovich School’s Social Enterprise Ecosystem. She was excited to expand her work in this field with APLU this summer.

“The Social Enterprise Ecosystem does a lot with economic development and community engagement in our region,” she said. “It’s really cultivated a passion within me for doing community economic development.”

McCarthy worked in APLU’s Office of Economic Development and Community Engagement, where her projects included helping to plan the organization’s summer member meeting.

She also wrote a blog entry that recapped the meeting’s keynote presentation by Anne Hazlett, White House senior advisor at the Office of National Drug Control Policy. Ohio University President M. Duane Nellis moderated the session. 

Hazlett spoke about the important role universities can play in combating the opioid epidemic, citing Ohio University’s involvement in the Appalachian Recovery Project as a positive example.

“I’ve seen how that works at OU,” McCarthy said. “As we start to look at the resources that communities have to fight the opioid epidemic, I think a lot can be done from a university perspective.”

McCarthy helped research university support for rural broadband access — another topic she was familiar with through her work as a Voinovich Scholar — and prepared university case studies for the APLU website. The case studies, submitted for the organization’s Innovation & Economic Prosperity Awards, become an inspiration for others. 

“That allows university administrators to see what other work is happening in economic development and get ideas from different universities,” McCarthy said. “I think that’s super exciting because it’s a resource for economic development administration.”

Shalin Jyotishi, APLU’s assistant director of economic development and community engagement, said McCarthy was a “fantastic” addition to the office.

“We have a long history of working with the Voinovich School,” he said. “I have visited OU, as has our vice president, and we’re really impressed with what OU is doing to prepare students for jobs [that] contribute to the innovation and entrepreneurial economy in Ohio.”

After she graduates this spring, McCarthy plans to attend grad school for public policy and data analytics.

“I had known I wanted to do that before, but I think this experience has really taught me a lot about what the public policy area looks like in D.C.,” she said. “It helped solidify what I wanted to do with my career and exposed me to different aspects of economic development and community engagement.”

McCarthy hopes to return to D.C., either for school or later in her career.

“It’s been really awesome to have the Voinovich support,” she said. “I was really excited that I had the opportunity to actually have this experience in D.C., because it wasn’t something I would have been able to do otherwise.”