NC Co-op Helps Educator Bring Career Paths to Life
Roanoke Cooperative hosted Kenan Fellow Dawn Stokes this summerBy Chris Nault
One Halifax County educator earned the experience of a lifetime this summer, thanks to a partnership between North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives, Roanoke Cooperative and the Kenan Fellows Program for Teacher Leadership.
Dawn Stokes, an eighth grade science teacher at Enfield Middle S.T.E.A.M. Academy, spent three weeks in July interning with Aulander-based Roanoke Cooperative after being awarded a prestigious Kenan Fellowship earlier this year. For Stokes, an educator for 13 years, a sense of community and the impact of this experience on her future students was most memorable.
“Roanoke Cooperative rolled out the red carpet for me during my internship, and I am so thankful for this experience,” Stokes said. “North Carolina’s electric cooperatives are committed to supporting their communities and members, and I was able to witness the cooperative difference firsthand throughout my internship.”
“Though my students are eighth graders, it is never too early for them to begin thinking about their futures and preparing for life after school ... I can’t wait to get back into the classroom and share what I have learned with them.”
As part of her Kenan Fellowship, Stokes completed extensive, hands-on professional development along with her cohort of 38 fellows. The professional development and networking opportunities will continue throughout the year and into 2024, culminating in a final project allowing her students to explore the different career paths available to them within the electric cooperative industry and beyond.
“Though my students are eighth graders, it is never too early for them to begin thinking about their futures and preparing for life after school,” Stokes said. “I can’t wait to get back into the classroom and share what I have learned with them.”
During her internship, Stokes said she learned the nuts and bolts of the electric cooperative industry, from the role lineworkers have in keeping the lights on to how the co-op supports their local community and assists members. Perhaps most importantly, according to Stokes, she gained a greater understanding of the local workforce, the career opportunities available for her students and the types of skills necessary to perform these job functions.
“Roanoke Cooperative is proud to partner with the Kenan Fellows Program, and it was a pleasure to host Dawn this summer,” said Basil Williams, senior manager of Member Services, Communications and Public Relations at Roanoke Cooperative, who also served as Stokes’ mentor during the internship. “Throughout this process we have learned so much from Dawn and know that this experience will positively impact her future as an educator and the students of Halifax County.”
Stokes is the first teacher from a Halifax County school to be selected as a Kenan Fellow. She is the first Kenan Fellow hosted by Roanoke Cooperative and the 11th to be hosted by a North Carolina electric cooperative.
Co-ops caring for the community