COLUMBIA, S.C. – Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin welcomes six students this fall to the Mayor’s Fellows program. The program provides both undergraduate and graduate-level students with the opportunity to gain first-hand knowledge of how a high-energy local government operates. The fellowship caters to students seeking course credit or to those simply wishing to gain public service experience.
To date, the Mayor’s Fellows program has had more than 200 students participate.
The application for the spring semester of the Mayors’ Fellows program is open and can be found at bit.ly/mayorsfellows.
This fall’s fellows are:
Samantha Auerbach (Stirling, New Jersey) is a sophomore at the University of South Carolina studying political science. She is eager to learn the daily operations of the Mayor’s Office and excited to see how local government directly helps the citizens of Columbia. After she graduates, Samantha plans to attend graduate school and eventually work in local government in her hometown, hoping to become the city planner or mayor herself. As a Fellow, she looks forward to making connections and gaining first-hand experience in policy-making and implementation processes. In her spare time, she enjoys outdoor activities, sports and painting.
Patrick Dixon (Blythewood, South Carolina) is a student at Midlands Technical College where he is studying marketing. He plans to transfer to Morehouse College next year to complete his degree. Upon graduating, he hopes to work as a sports agent or promoter. In his spare time, he enjoys watching boxing and football, volunteering and spending time with his family. Through this program, he hopes to gain experience in communications and city management.
Annie O’Halloran (Berkeley Heights, New Jersey) is a senior at the University of South Carolina majoring in international studies and double-minoring in Spanish and psychology. Upon graduating, Annie hopes to become more involved in community development. Through the Mayor’s Fellows program, Annie hopes to gain practical experience working in local government. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with friends and family, being involved on campus and practicing yoga.
Desi Hambrock (Fernandina Beach, Florida) is a sophomore in the Darla Moore School of Business at the University of South Carolina. She is pursuing majors in international business, finance and management with minors in French and data analytics. She is passionate about leveraging innovation to activate systemic change in how we live our lives—whether it’s through economic or sustainable development. Through her work in the Office of the Mayor, she hopes to explore the intersection of government and the business world. She is also an avid language learner and art enthusiast and hopes to integrate these interests into her future career.
Jereme Hines (Fort Mill, South Carolina) is a senior at the University of South Carolina double majoring in history and political science. He is grateful for the opportunity to work with Mayor Benjamin and with other elected officials at the state and federal level. Through his work as a Mayor’s Fellow, he hopes to find ways in which he can not only help the people of Columbia but all of South Carolina by researching public policy. When he is not working, you can usually find him listening to music or playing Super Smash Bros.
Ashley Payne (Beaufort, South Carolina) is a senior at the University of South Carolina where she is studying criminal justice and Spanish. Outside of her internship in the Mayor’s Office, Ashley also works as a legal assistant at a local law firm gaining invaluable insight into the day-to-day life of the legal profession. Upon graduating, Ashley plans to attend law school with an interest in criminal law and public administration law. Through the Mayor’s Fellows program, she hopes to gain a better understanding of how government at the municipal level can influence and implement policies and legislation that directly affect a community.