The Career Center is Here for You

As the Career Center continues to serve students and alumni remotely, we’ve repurposed our blog to keep you up to date on economic trends, businesses who are hiring during the economic downturn, a weekly “cool jobs” post to highlight some of the interesting opportunities in Handshake, stories of hope from previous recessions, and best practices for job searching right now (yes, you can still job search right now!). You can use the menu on the left to navigate to topics, or read the latest posts below. You will find old content on here; we’ve kept it because it’s still good content. Explore! And, as always, if you have questions, please be in touch. Right now, the best way to contact us is

As always, you can access all of the services the Career Center has to offer (including virtual appointments and online resume and cover letter reviews) through our website and on Handshake.  We are sharing additional articles and resources on our Twitter page @UNCACareer.

1/11/21 Cool Opportunities

Cool Jobs

Test Engineer at Sandia National Laboratories

Congressional Relations Specialist (Temporary Appointment) at Congressional Research Service

Associate – Early Career Digital Leadership Program at United Airlines

Director of Organizational Performance & Equity at Baltimore Corps

Research and Writing Specialist at Georgia Historical Society

Multimedia Journalist, Spectrum Networks (Greensboro NC)

Cool Internships

Student Trainee (IT Management/Cyber) at Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) 

Creative Content Intern at Big Mozz

NASCAR Diversity Summer Internship Program at NASCAR

West Wing Writers 2021 Summer Internship at West Wing Writers, LL

Internship: Internal Auditor at Guilford County Government (Greensboro NC)

Pro Football Hall of Fame Summer Internships at Pro Football Hall of Fame

Cool Local Jobs

Donor Relations at The YWCA

Mountain Laurel Digital is looking for a Digital Marketing Assistant

EcoBot is looking for an IOS app developer 

Case Consultants International is looking for a Scientific Data Specialist

RealTech Webmasters is looking for a Junior Web Developer

United Way of Asheville/Buncombe County is looking for a VP of Community Engagement

Customer Support at College H.U.N.K.S. Hauling Junk

Medical Assistant at Community Family Practice

Community Service Worker at Blue Ridge Community Action

Medical Coordinator at 6 Points Sports Academy (Seasonal)

Recent Graduate, Information Security:

Cool On Campus Job

Career Peer with the Career Center

Cool Local Internships

Intern, IT Specialist:

Intern, Information Security: 

Internships at the Asheville Art Museum

Graduate Summer Associate at Cypress Creek Renewables

Cool Fellowship or Post Grad Opportunities

ZSR Fellow at Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation (Winston Salem)

EcoFellowship 2021-2022 at Center for EcoTechnology

Florida Studio Theatre 2021-2022 Professional Training Program at Florida Studio Theatre

Dam Inventory Crew Member at Superior Watershed Partnership

Diversify Publishing Fellowship (Princeton, NJ) at Princeton University Press

Graduation & College Readiness Coach | Full-time at Literacy Coalition of Palm Beach County

Fun links this week

These midwestern cities will pay you to move there

Mayor of Houston Suburb chosen by picking a name out of a hat

Chef Lenny the Lizard…need I say more?

My thoughts for the week

I usually work on the Cool Jobs Email throughout the week prior, accumulating things that come across my desk and planning my thoughts as ideas come up…and I’ll get to that topic in a minute…

But I think it’s important to take this opportunity to condemn in the strongest terms, the actions of those privileged few who fomented domestic terrorism and insurrection in Washington DC on Wednesday.  I hope all readers of this email who may have friends or family in DC have heard from those folks, and all are safe.  

Back to regularly scheduled programming…

I’m going to take the next 3 Cool Jobs Emails and focus on what an optimist might see in the 2021 “Tea Leaves,” and what I think might happen this year.  (Disclaimer, I’m only an armchair economist so please don’t buy stocks based on what I write below 🙂

First things first, I think with a coordinated response to the pandemic, vaccines will be better distributed, and more of the general population will be innoculated. Dr. Fauci anticipates a return to “you can play full contact basketball at the local YMCA” levels of immunity by the middle of the 3rd quarter this year.  

Vaccine acceptance will take some time, but there’s going to be a point of  “critical mass” where once there’s say, 30 million people inoculated, the rest of the country will trust the vaccine as safe and start asking for it, spiking demand. We’re at about 7 million doses administered thus far, so we’re about 10% of the way there (2 doses are required.)  I also anticipate additional stimulus packages to pass Congress meaning additional direct payments, but also more aid to state and local governments.  

If we return to more in-person contact late Q3, I think there will be some industries that will still face significant headwinds, especially those dependent on outdoor weather.  I also anticipate uneven return of in-person education, as individual schools/districts will have to make their own determinations on safety counterbalanced with access to technology.

I think hiring will rebound in 2021 to close to pre-pandemic levels, if the vaccine is well tolerated. Hiring managers have already seen a lack of qualified applicants for a lot of their open positions during the pandemic, and that will continue as the economy recovers.  We will also see a spike in job changers as the economy recovers because many may have taken positions below their qualifications and will look to return to opportunities better suited.  

Lastly, I anticipate a higher societal value for additional education and professional training, and that should produce a modest increase in 4 year and community college enrollment, especially online.  Additionally, I foresee a modest expansion of union representation in organizations.  As examples, Google employees recently voted to form a union, and I anticipate more unionization in the tech and healthcare sectors specifically as time goes along.

That’s it for part 1, I hope you all have a great week.


1/4/21 Cool Opportunities

Cool Jobs:
Remote Grading Assistant at The Graide Network
Ethics Specialist at US Department of Agriculture
Research Technician II, Cell Biology at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
CDC COVID-19 Laboratory Associate at Association of Public Health Laboratories
Assembly Engineer at Intel Corporation
Program Coordinator – Social Policy Institute

Cool Internships:
Global Trade Watch – Research Internship at Public Citizen
Student Trainee (Econ) at Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
Conservation & Research, Undergraduate Intern at Atlanta Botanical Gardens
Enslaved Cemetery Research Summer 2021 Internship at Patrick Henry’s Red Hill
Real Estate Acquisitions and Development Intern at TruPorch Homes
The Marylee Everett Conservation Internship at Native Plant Trust
Paid WCPI Communications/Development Internship (Spring 2022) at Women’s Congressional Policy Institute

Cool Local Jobs:
Opportunity Culture Consultant at Public Impact (Chapel Hill)
Communications & Community Relations Specialist at NC Electric Cooperatives (Raleigh)
Ombudsman Program Support at Pisgah Legal Services
Program Support in the Health Justice Program at Pisgah Legal Services
Territory Manager with WellPetAudio and Video Technician at Harmony Esthetic Technology Solutions 

Cool Local Internships:
Wildlife Conservation Internship at Piedmont Wildlife Center (Durham)
Finance Internship Summer 2021 at Liberty Hardware Mfg. Corp (Winston Salem)
Spring Interior Design Intern at Fortuna Enterprises, LLC (Greensboro)  
Summer 2021 Marketing Internship at Charleston County Park and Recreation (Charleston SC)

Cool Summer Jobs:
Several fun summer jobs at Green River Adventures (Saluda NC)
Summer Jobs with Alaska Wildland Adventures Organic Gardens Volunteer at Heifer International (Paid living allowance, includes housing)

Some fun links:
Watch these grandparents come up with an ingenious way to hug their grandkids in a pandemic
Researchers figured out how to convert C02 created by airplane engines into jet fuel onboard a plane as it is flying
What the heck is a “reef goat”?  Check them out here

My thoughts for the week:

January gets its name from the Roman god Janus, whose two faces allowed him to look simultaneously into the past and the future.  In that spirit, as the clock struck midnight on December 31st, (I won’t count the ones on my microwave and stove because they just refuse to stay in sync) I couldn’t help but feel a small amount of accomplishment for completing 2020.  It was a year full of challenges, and I hope you too, felt a small amount of accomplishment as we move into a new year.  Even though many of the same challenges exist, we’ve come this far and there’s hope on the horizon.

As we look to a new presidential administration, in my opinion there’s room for optimism if the cabinet announcements are an indication of executive branch priorities.

Firstly, the President Elect has named diverse picks to lead agencies including the first woman at the Federal Reserve, first African American as Secretary of Defense, the first woman as Director of National Intelligence, and the first Latino to lead the Department of Health and Human Services.  There were also notable government firsts including the first Native American Cabinet Member, who will lead the Department of the Interior, and the first openly LGBTQ+ person who will serve as Transportation Secretary.  These choices have aimed to put diversity in positions of leadership, and hopefully put more equity in policy execution than ever before in our history.  

Second, it would appear that the climate and environment are in a more high profile position for future priorities, based on the President Elect’s picks.  Leaders with years of experience advancing environmental causes are named to Cabinet/Sub-cabinet positions, and if confirmed will actually have the power to enact environmental protection initiatives they’ve long championed.  As a key driver for the economy in Western North Carolina, I’m heartened by the emphasis on environmental protection.  Our state is also represented in the President Elect’s Cabinet, as the person named EPA Administrator is North Carolina’s current environmental secretary.  

Lastly, I’m encouraged by the emphasis on scientific data presented by the President Elect with regard to the Covid-19 Pandemic, and how the administration aims to lead the country’s response.  With coordinated effort, the agencies of the federal government can hopefully work to address the challenges around vaccine distribution, effective treatments, and public health messaging, so the wheels of the economy can turn for everyone.

As Janus looked forward, I hope you too, can look forward to a healthy and prosperous new year. 


Meet Our 2020 SECU Public Fellowship Interns (3)

In the summer of 2020, 10 UNC Asheville students participated in the SECU Public Fellows program, working full-time jobs and using their liberal arts education to benefit high-quality nonprofit and government organizations focused on improving life in rural North Carolina for a diverse array of residents. The program, which provided UNC Asheville a $50,000 grant to fund the internships, is designed to connect interested, talented undergraduate students with local leadership in order to obtain meaningful on-the-job experience with a local agency or organization, while providing a unique learning opportunity to allow students to give back to his or her community.

Read below to learn more about our 2020 Cohort and the incredible work they did!

Elena Keller, MAHEC

“My name is Elena Keller and I am a senior Health and Wellness major, German minor at UNCA, and this summer I will be interning with MAHEC’s COVID-19 Regional Response Team.  I will be learning about our community’s response to COVID-19 by providing technical and administrative support for virtual classes, data tracking and external communications. What drew me to this position was that it provides an opportunity for me to learn more about the logistical side of public health work, as well as offer assistance during one of the biggest modern day public health crises.”

Nikoli Wise, Working Wheels

“I am a Senior Mass Communication and Political Science double major from Asheville, NC. I am interning with Working Wheels, a nonprofit that repairs donated cars to give to families in need to improve their access to transportation. I was drawn to the SECU Fellows Internship Program because I am very passionate about public service and improving my community. I specifically was drawn to Working Wheels because they have a strong mission that I can wholeheartedly get behind because of its high impact in the community.”

Baye Samodal, ABCCM Crisis Center

“I wanted to be a part of SECU Public Fellows Internship Program for the opportunity to gain work experience in my desired fields. I am currently interning at the ABCCM Crisis Center. I am a double major in Psychology and Health and Wellness Promotion so I wanted to gain experience in public health and social work. I also wanted to get more involved and help those in need in my community.”

Emma Radulovic, MANNA Foodbank

“My name is Emma, I am an environmental studies major, chemistry minor and I had the opportunity to work for MANNA Foodbank through the SECU public fellows internship program. I am working in the HR department. I was happy to know MANNA selected me for this position because I have volunteered with them several times with my sorority. I knew they were a great nonprofit organization and I really wanted to learn more about all they do for our community beyond helping to end hunger. Through my work in Human Resources I have gotten to know almost all the departments at MANNA, and I now have a greater understanding of the need not just in our area but all around the world. Without this opportunity I never would feel as prepared as I do to go out into the work force next year and try to make a difference with my degree. These internships are a once in a chance opportunity, and nothing can prepare you better for the real world that a 2 month long internship with one of these fantastic local organizations.”

Cool Jobs Podcast Episode 4

Episode four is here! The Cool Jobs Podcast explores some of the most interesting jobs around, with the hope you’ll find some inspiration for your own career!

Access today’s episode here! Scroll down past our fun logo to find today’s transcript.

David Earnhardt  0:00  

Hi, I’m David and I’m the host of the cool jobs podcast, a conversation where we dive deep into some of the coolest jobs on the planet. This is the home for jobs you’ve never heard of, or ones you never thought about before. This podcast is for students, learners, dreamers, or anyone who’s interested in finding out about the coolest jobs around. I’ll be speaking with experts across a wide spectrum of career possibilities with the hope that you’ll find inspiration for your own career. Thanks for joining in. Today we’re speaking with Greg Garrison, professional ice cream taster. Greg and his wife, Ashley are the owners of The Hop ice cream shop in Asheville, North Carolina. We’re together with their team, they create some of the best ice cream around, Greg, thanks for joining me.

Greg Garrison  0:42  

Yeah, thanks for having me. Glad to be here.

David Earnhardt  0:44  

So first, I have to ask an obvious question. But I’m hoping you will give me a non obvious answer. Why ice cream?

Greg Garrison  0:51  

It was kind of an accident. It wasn’t something that I had written into my future plans when I was a kid or anything like that. It was just one of those combinations of opportunity knocks and just feeling like it was the right decision at the time. So when Ashley and I were students at UNC Asheville, in 2003, we both started working for The Hop, the previous owners. So it was a college job is how it started. And it was always a good business, it always had a good following, it always had a really good vibe, really good ice cream. So it was easy to stick around through that. And Ashley in particular became the manager for the previous owners after a couple years. And from there, we were always around the business. And after five years, they put the business on the market and just kind of several conversations said to send an ending up purchasing the business in 2008 after we’d graduated and you know, we’re doing various things. But I started out as a college job and then one thing led to another and Ashley became the manager. And then after graduation, there was sort of some unknowns, and we had an opportunity to purchase the business. And it just made a lot of sense at that time for Ashley in particular. I was coaching soccer at UNC Asheville, so I played soccer and then ended up coaching immediately after my eligibility was up. And so it was not necessarily a hobby because owning a business is way more than a hobby. But it was an opportunity for Ashley, to do something that she enjoyed and gave her a chance to explore a part of her world that she really identified with which was customer service slash making people happy with what she does. Plus, she has a chemistry brain and just understands baking and how things work from a chemistry standpoint, which comes from her degree she has a degree from UNC Asheville and selling molecular biology. So the organic chemistry part was something that resonated with her and chemistry in general is always something that she enjoyed. And so why ice cream? That was a roundabout answer, but there is an answer that does make sense in hindsight. At the time, it was very much just kind of following a path that was being laid out stone by stone in front of us. But the world itself of ice cream is just a very Happy World, very rarely do you encounter someone who is upset. And if they are, it’s usually fixed by ice cream by what you give them. And you know, what we’ve been able to do is create ice cream that we feel really good about in a community that we feel really good about living in and operating in and supporting that community with our ice cream. And so it’s all created this very warm environment for us, for our staff, for our kids, for the customers and allowed us to build more relationships than we could have ever built without ice cream as the lubricant or the medium. Yeah, it’s, it’s once you get into the ice cream world, it’s not like it’s hard to get out. But it’s really easy to stay in.

David Earnhardt  4:04  

I like the idea of there are no problems that ice cream can’t fix. I like that idea. And if someone is upset they are soothed by your product. I think that makes a lot of sense. 

Greg Garrison  4:16  

It’s always the hope.

David Earnhardt  4:18  

I like that. Well, great. So, you know, maybe you could just take our listeners through the process of making ice cream. How do you pick your flavors? How do you source your ingredients? You know, where do you actually produce the ice cream? And you know, I think the most important question is really how often do you get the sample the ice cream? That’s really the question that I think most of our listeners really want to know.

Greg Garrison  4:42  

Sure well I can start with the answer to the first or to the last question, as often as necessary. We do have to try every batch that comes out of the machine. We have to try the cream base of every single batch before it goes in the machine to make sure that it you know it’s not sour tasting, theres quality control everywhere across the board. So we try it for every batch that’s made we try it before we add any ingredients to it at all to make sure that the base is what it’s supposed to be, we add the ingredients before it goes to the machine and try that to make sure that it tastes the way it’s supposed to taste. And then we mix it in the machine, we spin it in the machine, and then it comes out of the machine. And we try it after that to make sure that it doesn’t need anything else. So that last sort of point of quality control. And then when new flavors come out, you know, they’re usually one or two containers ends up in our freezer, where I make a point to feature certain flavors in social media that are ones that are available at stores. So that I get to try them and my son has been jealous of my social media posts recently because he understands that I’m the one that’s eating the ice cream that I’m videoing. And every single time he’s like, Did you get to eat that? Yeah, it’s kind of how it works. Yes, often is, how often is how often we get to try the ice cream all the time? And we must, in fact.

David Earnhardt 6:02  

So tell me a little bit about that. I mean, what when you’re tasting the ice cream you mentioned, you know, before it goes into the machine, after you add your ingredients, at the base point. What are you looking for? What’s the you know, obviously, the taste of sour milk, I would imagine is something that is a part of it. But what qualities are you looking for in that?

Greg Garrison  6:21  

Yeah, we are looking for with ice cream, always looking for something that’s creamy, that’s clean tasting, that we’re adding ingredients that are going to help that as opposed to hinder that. You know, we want it to be sweet, but not too sweet. Sometimes we want it to be savory. Sometimes we want it to be spicy. And so there’s each different flavor is going to have its own profile that we’re trying to achieve. And you know, for some that we made all make all the time, that’s easy to see if we got it right. But for some flavors, especially the newer ones, it takes a lot of sampling and a lot of tweaking to really get that flavor to come through the way that we want. One of the challenges with ice cream is that you’re starting with milk, sugar, and then heavy cream, which isn’t the easiest barrier to get past if you’re a fret flavor profile, a lot of things will hit that wall and dilute and we have to find a way to get past that it can be a challenge sometimes to find the right balance, you don’t want to overdo it. And by adding more ingredients, you can’t just add more flavor, right? Because then it changes the chemistry, it changes the recipe just like if you were baking, you can’t just add a whole bunch more stuff, you have to kind of keep it within the confines of what works. It’s an interesting process. To give you a little bit more background in ice cream. It’s a pretty heavy regulated, heavily regulated industry, the dairy industry is and for good reason because listeria and bacteria grows in cow’s milk naturally. And so pasteurization is a huge part of everything. And we have to start as an ice cream store as a manufacturer with a pasteurized base. And so ice cream contains milk, eggs and sugar and cream. And that has to all be pasteurized together before we can do anything.

David Earnhardt  8:11  

Pasteurization would be the cooking, essentially cooking it a little bit right, raising the temperature to eliminate bacteria, correct? 

Greg Garrison  8:19  

Yes, yeah. So everything has to reach a certain temperature before it comes to us. We don’t create our own base. Because it takes a factory that’s three times what we have to be able to do something like that for the output that we produce. So it comes to us pre-pasteurized in containers. And we get that shipped to us every week. We worked with the company that ships to us to make a specific base just for us that has specific ingredients that were to our specifications. And that was a big deal for us back, this was probably almost 10 years ago now, when we wanted to have a cleaner product, we started identifying areas of when I say cleaner, I mean, we wanted to have more control. We wanted the ingredients to be natural. We wanted to add ingredients to be to our liking. So we approached the company, which is based out of Atlanta, they source their milk from various farms in the southeast, including Spartanburg, mostly from Spartanburg I believe, and we then they add the other ingredients to it. So we worked with them on creating a base mixture that was to our liking. So anyways, every flavor, every dairy flavor starts with the exact same base which has the cream, the milk, the eggs and sugar, and then from there, we get to add anything we want. And that’s the fun part. That’s what you know, is the difference between us and other ice cream stores that just sell ice cream that somebody else makes. Is that’s why it’s homemade ice cream versus non homemade ice cream is that we get to control everything after the base. So through that process, we have two opportunities to add ingredients or flavor or whatever it takes into the ice cream. We have before it goes into the machine. So when it’s still a liquid, and that’s when we create the base of the ice cream, the flavor base of the ice cream, so like a vanilla bean ice cream would have pure vanilla extract added at the point before it goes into the machine. And then it spins and whips in the machine, it takes about 10 to 15 minutes per batch of five gallons for it to freeze. And then when it starts to come out of the machine, once it has whipped and frozen enough, then we have another opportunity to add something else to it. And so like vanilla bean, we add the dried vanilla seeds into the ice cream from there or like, like Oreo ice cream, we would add the cookies in at that point or anything, you know, Bulldog tracks that we make for the university, we start with a caramel base. So we add the caramel before it goes into the machine. And then as it’s coming out of the machine, we stir in a homemade fudge swirl and homemade brownie chunks. So those are the two opportunities we have to add things to the ice cream when we’re making it and between the base that we had worked with the company to create and then having control over all the ingredients that go in before and after the ice cream is spun. It allows us to really create something special that isn’t necessarily what all ice cream shops are doing. I mean, there’s probably maybe 50 ice cream stores across the country that are doing something similar to us. And even then I really don’t know the inner workings but I know how the extent that we go to create these flavors and like Bulldog tracks, we make the fudge in house that goes into the swirl, we make the brownies in house, we’ve tried to eliminate unless it’s a specific collaboration with another local business, we’ve tried to eliminate the dependency on other sources for whatever ingredients we have. 

David Earnhardt  11:42

I would imagine that your production facilities smells amazing constantly. 

Greg Garrison 11:48

Yes, it does. It changes every day. And there’s some smells that are ones you might not expect to smell when you come in. We make beer ice creams at times and so we have to cook down beer for several hours. And so you know, you walk in and it hits you right in the face as soon as you come in that smell. It’s not even like the smell of beer. It’s the smell of cooked beer, right and other you know, other flavors, most of the time. It’s like cookies and brownies and things like that, which is what you’d expected. 

David Earnhardt 12:17

I would sincerely hope that you are not like going nose blind to the smells that you get to encounter every day. Like I would imagine that that would be one of the joys of the job.

Greg Garrison  12:26  

Yes, yeah, it definitely is. And it changes every day too. So it’s not like it’s always the same that that’s the fun part too. Since we’re making so many different flavors of ice cream all the time. The smells do change constantly.

David Earnhardt  12:38  

Does your inner beer drinker cry a little bit that you’re having to cook it down? Or are you happy having a quality product now.

Greg Garrison  12:45  

We are happy to have it contribute the way that it needs to contribute. I honestly enjoy it better as an ice cream, we’re happy to sacrifice it to the greater good.

David Earnhardt  12:56  

There you go. Awesome. So since we went into a little bit about the background and a little bit about, you know how you make ice cream and some of the processes, you know, maybe what’s an example of an ice cream flavor you’ve created that was just on eat up a real head it really worked and you know this the the taste was great. And the smell was wonderful. And you know it stayed on the shelf in the way that you want. And then maybe give me an example of a flavor combination that just didn’t work.

Greg Garrison 13:23  

Sure, I feel like I’ll just get the ladder out of the way. We did a collaboration night with 12 bones barbecue place and at their requests, I feel like I have to put that in there. They wanted us to make a red wine and caramelized onions sorbet. And we’ve done the red wine before, but the caramelized onion bit just was too much. It just the flavor was too far out there. And you know, as soon as you throw that in the title of an ice cream, it was a deterrent right off the bat. And so I feel like without any offense to 12 bones and the wonderful things that they’ve done and all the beautiful creations that we have made with their items. That was one that we just knew right off the bat was not a good idea. And I’ve vowed ever since to never put onions and ice cream again.

David Earnhardt  14:12  

I think that’s probably a worthwhile commitment.

Greg Garrison  14:17  

Yeah, I mean, there’s certain ingredients that we love adding in that you wouldn’t expect but that one I feel like yeah, let’s just call it a day on that. But you know, there’s been several that have surprised us there’s been several that have been immediate bestsellers. And I always feel like we should give the nod to salted caramel, everybody makes salted caramel ice cream or anybody that’s making it homemade has some salted caramel something at their shop at any time. But it was our very first collaboration as owners of The Hop was this flavor. And we didn’t just take Caramel and add salt to it and mix it into the ice cream. And that was we knew that we didn’t want to do that because that’s that’s what you did. That’s what most people do. That’s the easiest way to do it is just to start with Caramel, add salt, go from there. And there was a in the Merrimon square shopping center where the hub is located now there was a bakery called crem, and the owners of crem would come down and get ice cream and we’d go up and get pastries from them all the time. It was right off the bat we had a really good relationship with them. So Ashley started talking with one of the owners, they’re about making a hard crack Caramel with sea salt on that, and if you’ve never heard that term, hardcrack Caramel um, when you’re cooking sugar, you have a point where well you have several points where you can stop cooking it where it reaches a certain temperature and every stopping point as the temperature increases, you get a different texture of the Caramel. So if you stop it at a certain temperature, it’s going to be like a chewy Caramel or even before that is a sauce but eventually you’ll hit a point in the temperature where it becomes almost like a toffee, like a brittle where you can crack it. And so Ashley and Jenny was her name the owner of bakery, they worked together on getting to the right consistency of caramel for these bits that would eventually be tossed in mixed in to our ice cream. And that was something that was perfected pretty quickly. Jenny the baker she went through that process or whose brother incidentally I played soccer with at UNC Asheville graduated. She was able to perfect the salted Caramel praline is what she calls it recipe. And then it was on us to try and create the base that was going to pair the best with those. And we decided on not just straight caramel, but a dolce de leche which is like a tone down Caramel, a creamier Caramel. And so it as a base is not distracting from the magnificence of those little crunchy bits. And that I mean, just the process of creating that flavor and the time spent on you know, making batch after batch after batch to get it perfect is a good example of the successful flavor that you’re talking about. It has everything that you want. It’s got that you know the sweet and creamy base but not overly caramel not too much in your face. And then it’s got the crunch that has the sea salts on it that are like little you know like little explosions of sweet and savory. Not too salty, not too sweet. It’s everything about it is just right. And it goes well with so many different things, whether it’s other ice creams or desserts, or you know, anything, beer floats people have done not to talk too much about beer and ice cream. But you know, there’s so many it’s so versatile as a flavor, which is why you see it in so many different things and pastries and coffee drinks, ice creams and so forth. That salted caramel is a really just a really satisfying flavor when it’s done right and watching Ashley and Jenny go through that process of creating that and then the subsequent success of it as far as our customers are concerned. And you know, we sell three times still salted caramel as anything else. That flavor is the best selling flavor by far. So how much of that we go through. And one of the best parts about it is Jenny from the bakery. She’s still even though they moved on from the bakery. She’s still making those caramels at our production facility as needed. Just another cool story. So we’re, you know, we’ve gotten to know her and our son and our kids play together. And it’s like, it’s just a good, not only does the flavor tastes really good, but the whole backstory and that she’s still making the caramels for us. And that, you know, I know her family and played soccer with her brother and everything. It’s like, everything about it is just awesome. So yeah, it feels good. Not only is ice cream delicious, but how it’s created and the story behind it is also like it goes right along with it.

David Earnhardt  18:42  

And I imagine it’s really nice to be able to almost keep it in the family a little bit, you know, you’ve you started out with with this particular recipe and with this collaborator, and now you get to keep them even though keep them around and keep them a part of it, even though they are no longer part of the bakery. That’s really cool. That’s a fun story to tell for sure.

Greg Garrison  19:01  

Yeah. It’s, it’s always felt good. And it’s one of several flavors at any given time that we have in our menu that would have a similar sort of story of collaboration and you keep it in the family. 

David Earnhardt  19:12  

Absolutely. So tell me about your background. And you know, do you have any professional training in the art of ice cream? Did you go to ice cream school? Or were you completely self taught?

Greg Garrison  19:22  

I’m completely self taught and Ashley is the production person. She’s the one who you know, of the two of us in our partnership who handles the internal workings of the business and by internal I mean ice cream making primarily and also you know, bookkeeping and things like that. So neither of us have had any business background training or had any business background training up to purchasing the business. Everything we learned as employees from the previous owners, either things they did or things that they didn’t do. Things that they did that we liked the things that they did that, you know, we thought would be worth changing. And then through just trial and error and hard work, honestly, I think that the best training that we received was just in practice, and working each of us 80 hours a week, every single week for, you know, first five years that we own the business, if not more than that, I think that we could have definitely benefited from having some training. And if we weren’t working 80 hours a week, on just the day to day, we probably could have taken some time for professional development, I guess it’s called, but not it’s we learned everything kind of on the fly. And, you know, we’ve always felt that we benefited from that, because everything that we did was tailored specifically for The Hop, as opposed to business in general. And also, you know, it gave us that focus on the business as opposed to trying to do what generalists would want to do, we were doing specifically what The Hop wanted us to do, and what the customers of The Hop wanted us to do not the customers of business in general. And you know, it’s easy for us to take that stance because we didn’t have any training in the general. And so of course, you’re gonna support your own education, your own story in that regard. But I still believe that I still don’t spend any time researching what other ice cream stores are doing. I will pay attention to what other businesses in Asheville are doing, but not for the purposes of professional development. It’s more just to support them, and support the efforts that they have going on then to try and like pick ideas from them. Yeah, so everything that we learned, we’ve learned as owners of the business rather than prior to purchasing the business.

David Earnhardt  21:44  

So it sounds to me like there’s almost a series of leaps of faith involved with that, where you’re, you know, if if you’re doing the best thing you can for your business in your current thinking, and in your current education level, it sounds like a lot of leaps of faith of trying to, you know, feel like you are making the right decision. Am I understanding that correctly?

Greg Garrison  22:10  

Yeah, especially early on, we, you know, The Hops always been around, I don’t know how much you know about the backstory of The Hop, but it was founded in 1978. And we’re actually the fifth owners of the business. And so it says something about it to have changed hands that many times and still maintain the same integrity, the same name, essentially the same business stance when we’ve come in and made new flavors. And we’ve come in and added a more community mindedness to it. But that was already something, both of those things were already something that was sort of there before we took over, we just kind of took them and ran with it. But yeah, definitely early on, there was those, we were introducing things to the business that were a change, that were things that customers that had been going to The Hop for a long time hadn’t seen before. And it wasn’t like we were just crossing our fingers and hoping because of how much energy and time we put in to the business, we felt that what we were giving was going to be good. Like, I mean, we’re making ice cream so we kind of have an advantage in a lot of ways, as new owners like, you know, we’re giving something to people that is already good. Even before you do anything to it. Or has an association with like sweetness, or you know, people say ice cream, and they automatically go to a certain place. 

David Earnhardt 23:29


Greg Garrison   23:30

So that made it easier. But Ashley’s ideas from a production standpoint and the ingredients that she wanted to use and how she wanted to use them we always felt good about. And so the leap of faith, it was it wasn’t blind, it wasn’t without preparation or training, so to speak. But we definitely had to have people’s support. And we were fortunate enough to have that with some of these flavors. And you know, with some of the things that we were doing as a business, and we just kept on working at it and working at it and working at it to the point where, you know, the leap of faith became less of a leap and more of just like, okay, we’re stepping in this direction.

David Earnhardt  24:07  

That’s cool to think about a step of faith as opposed to a leap. I like that.

Greg Garrison  24:11  

Yeah, well, in that, you know, and I think that the more we learn about ourselves, and about being successful, and whatever miniature games that we’re playing throughout the business and other parts of life, you know, the more prepared you are, the more you practice, the more you train, the more you the more you invest in whatever it is that you’re doing, it becomes less of a leap of faith and more of a step because you you eliminate a lot of those unknowns by being prepared and by training, researching, you know having conversations and all that stuff. So I don’t, I’m not rejecting the concept of leap of faith because there definitely was, you know, when we bought the business, it was like that was a huge leap of faith that was like we just knew that we were going to work hard, we were going to be nice to people and we were going to make ice cream that was good. And we just kind of hoped the rest came from there. And that was definitely leap of faith. But once we got down into it, I feel like we were talking to people and they were listening, then from there, it was less about leaps of faith and more about just kind of expanding on the ideals of business, the ethos, as we call it now of business.

David Earnhardt  25:14  

And I like the idea also of trying things right and trying it and seeing what happens. And, you know, if it’s a caramelized onion and red wine ice cream, try it, see if it works. And if it doesn’t work, you can, you could adjust and make different choices going forward. So I like the idea of, you know, steps of faith and also, you know, just trying it and, and seeing, you know, seeing what, seeing what comes of it, I like the idea of you know, just having enough faith in yourself and enough confidence that you that you have that you’re going to make good choices, and you’re going to have good conversations with folks and you’re going to learn and grow it as you as you go. I think that that has a lot of impact for folks going forward, especially, you know, college students who are very much used to the right answer, right, have a Yeah, the answer to a test or the answer to a professor’s question, there is a right answer.

Greg Garrison  26:10  

What what schedule you should make for the next semester,

David Earnhardt  26:13  

That’s it,

Greg Garrison  26:13  

Those things aren’t very clear. Sometimes, when you aren’t given a like set of requirements, things that you need to meet, it’s like, okay, for this next semester, we are going to do popsicles.

David Earnhardt  26:29  

I really like the idea of popsicle semesters, I think we should have that it kinda sounds like Hogwarts.

Greg Garrison  26:34  

We’re only going to focus on popsicles this semester. And we’re gonna break it down into I can teach that class I want you to, if you could convince the university to have that as a track for some major, I think it shouldn’t be biology just because subtractive biology is popsicles.

David Earnhardt  26:54  

I like the idea of electives in popsicles and I know that you would have at least one person signing up. So that worked out well.

Greg Garrison 27:03  

Cool, do I have to have a graduate level degree to teach that class? 

David Earnhardt 27:08  

Well, I think 15 years of business probably is a graduate degree.

Greg Garrison  27:13  

Works for me.

David Earnhardt  27:14  

Well, since we’re talking about, you know, your education and your, your background, you know, you are a graduate of UNC Asheville and we are the public Liberal Arts and Sciences University in North Carolina. Um, how would you say you’ve used what you’ve learned?

Greg Garrison  27:28  

Yeah, that’s a good question. And I feel like that’s one that the answer has pretty much stayed the same from the beginning. And, you know, having had the luxury of hindsight at this point, graduating 15 years ago, I think that it is true now Is it is it was the first time somebody asked me that, and it’s the ability to communicate. The ability to get out of a comfort zone and be in the right place to have conversations about it. And that’s sort of a vague answer. But specifically, it’s you know, we’re encountering all different types of people all the time. And we are being asked all different kinds of questions. And we are constantly receiving information and seeking out new information. And to be able to take that information, process it, turn it into conversation, and move forward from there in the best possible way. I feel like it’s something that the liberal arts education has always helped with. That your, I have a degree in mathematics, so I am more than happy on most days to just stay within mathematics and just, you know, move inside that realm. But then I could have just as easily minored in classics, philosophy, physics, and creative writing. And that was like, just to be able to say that I all I, you know, I could have if only stayed a couple more semesters, I could have minored in at least one of those. And it’s like, once I got into that, once I took first philosophy class, intro to philosophy with Dr. Davis. I was like, This is great. Like, yeah, I love math. And I can do that all day long. But here I am thinking about stuff that I’ve always enjoyed thinking about, but it’s forced me out of my comfort zone just enough that I have to be able to talk about it. And I feel like those moments definitely prepared me for all the conversations that I was going to have as a business owner with all the different types of people that I was going to be conversing with. And, you know, just the pursuit of education is not getting trapped or stuck on a track and staying within that, and not deviating from that, you know, it’s as you grow as a person, you need to have more interests, you know, whether it’s like soccer, right? Like my body is going to fail to the point where I can’t play anymore at some point and then that half that part of my life will give way to something else, and I need to be more well rounded to receive that. I don’t know there’s a lot of different ways where I feel like just being forced outside of your main interests is always a good thing. It’s always a good thing. And I, you know, maybe other universities do it as well. But UNC Asheville specializes in that. And I’m still doing it, I’m still, you know, thinking in that regard, like, we’re talking about the semester popsicles, like every semester, what’s going to be my elective, what is going to be my class that I get to use to open my eyes a little bit more to things going on. And instead of rejecting that, and wanting to just stay in my math brain, or, you know, whatever, whatever it might be, just welcoming that and seeing where it takes me. And every time, every time it takes you in a place that’s better than you were before.

David Earnhardt  30:42  

I love the idea of philosophy, getting you out of your comfort zone, because the idea of walking into a math classroom would immediately get me out of my comfort zone. It would not take me long to do so more power to you. If you could get through anything with the word calculus in it, I think you’ve done really well. Well and it’s a really beautiful answer, I really appreciate that. It makes it you know, the idea of being a lifelong learner, and the idea of having, seeking information, learning and building the skill sets outside of the things that you thought, even last week, I think is, is really powerful. And I appreciate your candor in that it really is. That’s really cool.

Greg Garrison  31:25  

Yeah, I mean, I think you have to, you have to keep moving forward. And that as you go, you know, the path that you walk should become wider as you go. And if you limit yourself, then you’re not, you know, you’re gonna stay in that same place the whole time. I feel like the more that you can get out, the more you can embrace getting out of it, because it’s going to happen, you have to do it, the more that you can embrace it, and being exposed to it at that age, when you’re in college is only going to help you in later life. It’s only helped me. I mean, we’re not just blowing smoke when we talk about our relationship with the university, we both had great experiences, made great relationships that have continued to last with the professors that we had, I’m continuing to do research with Dr. Boudreau and the Math Department on stuff that we did when I was an undergrad that I presented on as an undergrad. That’s two little nuggets in the whole scope of the relationship. And it’s something that we’ve always been happy to talk about and always happy to support with whatever, whatever donations in such that we’re that we have have given to the university and to bring it back every year for the beginning of the first day classes. And I think we all look forward to whenever we can do that again.

David Earnhardt  32:41  

Absolutely. Well, I’d like to take the last couple of minutes here and and just change gears just a little bit. And, you know, just ask you, who is someone that you think has a really cool job? And why?

Greg Garrison  32:55  

Yeah, that’s an interesting question and one that I don’t really think about all that often. You know, I have a more specific answer. And that’s actually a friend of mine, Andy Faulk is his name, he graduated from UNC Asheville, we’ve known each other since middle school. And he taught first he taught at an English school in person, Korea, and then in Japan, and it gave him the opportunity to travel, you know, anytime that there was a break in school, he could go to any number of places that, you know, to me would just be like, these little Oasis’ in. He transferred that idea into a professional photographer. And now I’d be more than happy to get you in touch with him for the next one of these podcasts.

David Earnhardt  33:43  

That’d be fun.

Greg Garrison  33:45  

And now he’s taken photos for The New Yorker or The New York magazine or like high high profile magazines, as a result of traveling through his education degree. His wife is with him also and they both went to create and teach at the same school, after having taught at I believe it was Jones elementary school once they had graduated. And then they moved to Japan to teach at the same school. And then he eventually focused on photography But I don’t necessarily want to be a teacher but I think the fact that he was able to go there and do the thing that he wanted in a different country, you know, halfway across the world, I think is just amazing because of the opportunities that it gave him from a travel standpoint. And I know for a fact that the way that he has lived his life that he is completely in awe of those cultures that he’s getting to experience. Maybe I shouldn’t put too many words into his mouth. I know that he is in awe of the cultures that he’s getting to experience and respects them so much in the way that he photographs them. He incidentally and this is not a staged comment. He incidentally is the person who got Ashley the job at The Hop. 

David Earnhardt 35:07

Oh, yeah, that’s cool.

Greg Garrison 35:08

In 2003 because that’s where he worked when she first moved to Asheville to go up to UNCA. But anyways, I see his photos now. And I see where he is when he takes them. And it’s, it makes my heart happy to know that he’s doing that. And I would love to go visit him. I’d love to go visit another of my friends that graduated from UNC Asheville in Switzerland, where he’s running a hotel and restaurant. Yeah, I think traveling is the thing that I think is the coolest because of how it forces you again, outside your comfort zone to grow. I want my kids to experience that. 

David Earnhardt  35:41  

I think maybe you should. Maybe you could talk to Ashley about becoming an international ice cream ambassador.

Greg Garrison  35:50  

Well, yeah, I don’t know how we would make that work in our current scenario. And while ice cream Ambassador sounds awesome i’m not sure if there’s a niche for that.

David Earnhardt  36:00  

You never know until you try it.

Greg Garrison 36:03  

We may just have to create it. I guess, we’ll look into it at least. 

David Earnhardt  36:06  

One of those small steps of faith that we were talking about it right.

Greg Garrison  36:10  

Yeah, yeah, there you go.

David Earnhardt 36:13  

Awesome. Well, I appreciate you being a part of the podcast and and you know, sharing your wisdom with us and letting our listeners know a little bit more about you and about your background in history and want to give you the opportunity to tell people how to follow you or to learn more about your business. How can people get in touch?

Greg Garrison  36:34  

Yeah, thank you for having us. It’s always a pleasure to expand the relationship that we have with the university with new people and in different ways. Thehopice is our website that’s a hub of information. However, I feel like that is where we would lead people to from our social media and I personally do all the social media for the hop, which includes 10 different accounts and in various realms of social media. But probably primarily at this point is Instagram and our account is @hopicecream @thehopWest and @thehopblackMTN for our location in Black Mountain or if you just Google The Hop Asheville on it should direct you to any of our social media platforms. If people are interested in learning more about the business, Instagram and social media is definitely the place to find that out. 

David Earnhardt  37:29  

And you were telling me when we first started the conversation about a very Instagram worthy ice cream I don’t know if you can share that with the listeners yet or not. I don’t know if it’s official yet. But

Greg Garrison  37:39  

Yeah, it’s been teased once so it’s out there. So we have recently collaborated with a farm out of Marion, North Carolina, which is just out of but outside of Black Mountain and they are making are growing Japanese sweet potatoes, Japanese purple sweet potatoes, and they brought us some sample potatoes to play around with and so we roasted them in our oven and the color is as deep a purple as you’ve ever seen after roasting, and we’re going to puree that into our base and add some seasonal spices that you would find in like pumpkin ice cream or in sweet potato ice cream, or in sweet potato pie or pumpkin pie similar sort of idea. And the color is just magnificent. And the flavor also is as well. Especially once hit with the spices for this time of year. Yeah, that’s the newest collaboration we’ve got going on is purple sweet potato, a Japanese purple sweet potato ice cream from a farm in Marion called Lee’s one fortune farm. They grow all kinds of good varieties, mostly Asian cultivars of fruits and vegetables. And we’re really pumped to have that collaboration with them because of all the different places that can go we’ve already done a couple peach ice creams and are getting some squash from them. Like a butternut squash from them this weekend. 

David Earnhardt  39:04  

The idea of fall ice cream and Halloween ice cream really is that is a whole other subsection or genre of ice cream that I’ve never thought about. So yeah, outside of the outside of the norm and I really I really applaud that mindset because you can have vanilla bean ice cream all day. But if you get to have seasonal artisanal flavored ice cream, I think you’re doing really well.

Greg Garrison  39:31  

Yeah, I agree with that sentiment for sure. And I feel like this is the best time for ice cream because it’s when you get to into the heartiest flavors, the most impactful flavors the things that I don’t know I feel like fall flavors and sort of winter flavors bring different emotions with them than summer ones do and those are like heavier, pardier, not necessarily negative, but I agree with that for sure. This is a good time of year for ice cream. 

David Earnhardt  39:57  

Well, you could check out the hop ice cream online, both on Instagram at their website, I really appreciate your time and your willingness to be a part of this and your willingness to really, you know, expand the idea around ice cream and around the idea of flavors. And the idea that you can do, you can do just about anything you want, with, with enough work and with enough effort and, and so I really appreciate you being a part of this and sharing your expertise with us today.

Greg Garrison 40:32

Yeah, well thank you for having us. It’s always a pleasure.

David Earnhardt 40:36

Thanks for listening to the cool jobs podcast. A service of the Career Center at UNC Asheville. Like what you heard? Give us a like and share with your friends and subscribe. Next time we will be talking to Chris Hegg, Professional Clothing Reseller. So be sure to check it out. See you next time.

Transcribed by

Meet Our 2020 SECU Public Fellowship Interns (2)

In the summer of 2020, 10 UNC Asheville students participated in the SECU Public Fellows program, working full-time jobs and using their liberal arts education to benefit high-quality nonprofit and government organizations focused on improving life in rural North Carolina for a diverse array of residents. The program, which provided UNC Asheville a $50,000 grant to fund the internships, is designed to connect interested, talented undergraduate students with local leadership in order to obtain meaningful on-the-job experience with a local agency or organization, while providing a unique learning opportunity to allow students to give back to his or her community.

Read below to learn more about our 2020 Cohort and the incredible work they did!

Zachary Milkereit, Forest Keeper

“Zax Milkereit is interning with Forest Keeper, a grassroots non-profit that works to help protect public land around the Southern United States. Zax first met the leaders of Forest Keeper at an outdoor education conference, and a few years later asked to join the team in the hopes of making a positive impact in his local community. Currently, he is working with them on their I HEART Craggy campaign, with the goal of increasing the acres of protected land in the final draft of the Forest Service’s new Nantahala and Pisgah Forest Management Plan.”

Savannah Vickers, United Way of Asheville

“Hi! I’m Savannah Vickers and I’m interning at United Way of Asheville Buncombe County. I’ve always been drawn to working in the non-profit sector and found United Way to be a perfect fit. I was excited to use my creative and data management skills to carry out a project, the School Supply Drive. I was also excited to be able to do this through the SECU Public Fellows program because I knew that I would have fellow interns going through a similar process and that there would be an outside party ready to help if any problems arose.”

Madeleine Oots, Girl Scouts Peaks to Piedmont

“My name is Madeleine Oots,and I am a senior at UNC Asheville studying Mass Communications. I was born and raised in Wilmington, North Carolina. I’m interning with Girl Scouts Peaks to Piedmont this summer. I wanted to do the  SECU Public Fellows Internship because I have been interested in non-profit work and helping my community. I believe this professional experience will give me the confidence I need after graduation.”

Cool Jobs Podcast Episode 3

We’re here with the transcript of EPISODE 3 of The Cool Jobs Podcast, which explores some of the most interesting jobs around, with the hope you’ll find some inspiration for your own career!

The Cool Jobs Podcast is distributed every other Thursday during the academic semester, and we hope you’ll join us for each conversation!

Access today’s episode here! Scroll down past our fun logo to find today’s transcript.

David Earnhardt  0:00  

Hi, I’m David and I’m the host of the cool jobs podcast, a conversation where we dive deep into some of the coolest jobs on the planet. This is the home for jobs you’ve never heard of, or ones you never thought about before. This podcast is for students, learners, dreamers, or anyone who’s interested in finding out about the coolest jobs around. I’ll be speaking with experts across a wide spectrum of career possibilities with the hope that you will find inspiration for your own career. Thanks for joining in.

David Earnhardt 0:28  

I’m your host, David Earnhardt, Associate Director for employer relations and joining me today is Joshua Canter, International Travel Educator. Joshua, thanks for joining us for the cool jobs podcast. We’re excited you’re here! 

Joshua Canter 0:41

Hey! Thanks, David. I’m really grateful. Thanks for having me. 

David Earnhardt

So first things first  tell us a little bit about your background, and how you got to be where you are? 

Joshua Canter 0:51

Yeah, I think like many of us has been filled with twists and turns and ups and downs, and which has brought me to right here and right now. My journey began in Los Angeles. I was born in Los Angeles, California and my parents were both educators. Following the educators, they started a company and they’re entrepreneurs. From the time I was a child, I always remembered my parents asking me, what are you gonna do to make this world a better place? It was something they would ask me. You know, throughout my childhood, it was something that I really contemplated and pondered, just thinking  what can I do to help this world because I saw them as educators, helping so many teachers, so many parents, so many students, and just a strong emphasis throughout my childhood. My grandmother, who I call my first spiritual teacher, gave me this book, by Ram Dass when I was 16 years old, called “Be Here Now”. Ram Dass was a teacher, he was also a professor at Harvard University. In this book, basically, could be whittled down into this message “Be Here Now” and between my parents kind of setting this trajectory of service being of service in the world, and my grandmother setting me on this journey of  being here. Now, being in this present moment, it’s really kind of set me on a course of just taking one step at a time throughout my whole life, seeing when doors are opening and seeing when doors are closing. It has kind of let it lead me on this path to right here with you right now.

David Earnhardt 2:43

Very good. I like the idea of incorporating, there’s some family history there, there’s some, there’s books that are around philosophy and being current in your mind and presence. That’s cool. I like that. So you’re an international travel educator, I need you to tell us a little bit about what that is. And, maybe a little bit about your business and what an international travel educator actually is. 

Joshua Canter 3:12

Sure, an International Travel Educator  from the lens of our company journey to ensure education and furniture travels, is really a guide that helps to open up the eyes of our students and our travelers to see the world, through their own lens and their own true nature. Our company is called True Nature Education, True Nature Travels, and it has a double meaning. The first is embracing the true nature of the environments in which we travel for the world is just filled with an incredible vast landscape of different environments, cultures, different settings. So whenever we travel, we get to see  the true nature which surrounds us. This true nature also provides a reflection of our own true nature. So like our own unique essence  what  what are your gifts of life. David, you know what  who you are and so our travel educators really see through that lens, it’s like how can we create activities, exercises, tours, just a program that provides that opportunity for our travelers to open up to just maybe a new way of seeing their lives, new way of seeing the world and maybe, potentially a new a new career path or a new direction in their life.

David Earnhardt 4:41 

So, when you say “true nature”, I can imagine a lot of different things. So what would be an example of something either a trip maybe or maybe a person that that you’ve taken internationally that kind of found their true nature like it helps our listeners understand a little bit more about what you mean by “true nature”.

Joshua Canter 5:06

Yeah, so a big focus of our programs is experiential learning and then also we see through the lens of mindfulness. So mindfulness is intentional awareness in the present moments and so what we try to do is we try to take experience or experiential travel, and in really try to dive deeply into the experience. So, for instance, we encourage our participants to put away their technological devices, we encourage them to try to really put themselves in the location to rehearse, we try, we do a lot of cultural immersion. For instance, we do a lot of service learning. So we’re doing service projects within the different communities where we travel and then we do different activities that kind of push the limits of our comfort zone so when we do these activities, we’re kind of taking ourselves out of our regular routines in our regular lives, placing ourselves in a foreign land, and then doing activities like service work, adventure activities, also some kind of self reflective activities. Through that, we begin to, I think, naturally ask questions of ourselves, like, like, wow, like, Who am I? Wow, what could I do differently in my life, at home, because suddenly I’m seeing the world is such a different place or wow, how can anybody give back? I feel like, when we start asking those introspective questions of ourselves, that’s when I believe those answers start to come forth. To, that’s what I see as my true nature. So, when I was young, I had the privilege to go on a couple trips through Outward Bound, and they weren’t International, but they were into nature. They were definitely outside of my comfort zone. In those trips, where I was backpacking, through the Olympic National Park in Washington, and I was kayaking through the San Juan Islands, I was definitely outside of Los Angeles. I was outside of my comfort zone, and I was seeing the world through a whole new set of eyes and that kind of, I think, began to spark my interest in my passion, into travel exploration into this kind of work I’m into today. You know, for my eyes, seeing the world through, this travel perspective, I feel like the opportunities are infinite, to create these new perspectives, whether it’s, kayaking in the Puget Sound, or it’s, hiking through Machu Picchu in Peru, or being on a small island in Greece, a rainforest in Costa Rica. So many places. The world is just seemingly infinite in places to explore. I see those all as an opportunity to grow, open up new pathways also in the brain. Just seeing through a whole new len. 

David Earnhardt 8:06

Well, let’s explore that just a little bit because I think one of the things that is very, very popular for our students at UNC Asheville to kind of think about is that they are really interested in traveling and seeing the world and having their eyes open. We get this a lot at the Career Center of, how do I make a living, and I and traveling. So talk a little bit about your journey through that, like, how do you marry this kind of excitement around being in international waters, and being Machu Picchu and being in the rainforest, and also, being able to keep the lights on. It makes you  make your bill payments and things like that, What? How did you get to where you are now?

Joshua Canter 8:55

Yeah, it’s a great question, David. So, I’m gonna rewind a bit and you know, when I was pre-college, and I think my undergrad years, I was doing some kind of standard jobs like I delivered pizza, I waited some tables, I actually worked, I did some admin work at a college, and then I actually landed a job as a snowboard instructor in Lake Tahoe. I’ve always loved snowboarding and that was the first job that I really loved and I felt like it wasn’t a job. I just  every day woke up and I was like, Yes, I get to go to the mountain. I’m teaching these kids how to snowboard. This is amazing. From that point, I kind of made a pact with myself or I had a realization that I can really, I can do what I want to do in this life.I can find work that aligns with my passions. I just believed that I said, I can do this, like I found this. I’m going to just continue to do that from there. Actually, I started studying glass art and I was a Glass

Artist for a period of time as a minor in class art, undergrad, and then I took some time off in school. I went back and I studied Sustainable Community Development. I was really interested in learning about sustainability in different communities around the world, how communities in the US, but like how indigenous communities, in Africa, were living, how intentional communities in Europe were living, really studying about all sorts of different communities. And as for my, my final thesis, I put together a plan to create an intentional community, which is, which is a community that kind of has a set, group of systems has very strong intention plans. It’s kind of like a business, but with a business plan overlaid with a community. And so I created this plan. And when I, when I graduated, I decided I was going to start a community and I took various steps and kind of fast forward a couple years, and I ended up in Costa Rica, and with a group of five people, and we bought a piece of property in Costa Rica, and we built a community and Learning Institute. When I say we built it, it was very grassroots simple step by step, we didn’t have a lot of money, we got  we sold most things we had, we got some loans from family and friends, and basically started with a raw piece of land, and start to build  small little structures  an outdoor kitchen, and basically started step by step. And from there, that’s where, kind of the beginnings of turn nature began, that was the true nature community and Education Center in the small village off the coast to Costa Rica. And that was in 2003. And that was really, really the beginnings of the company. And from there, you know, we, we slowly slowly started to have visitors that came, and, and they started to come in slowly. From there, we decided we were going to start having groups. And, and that’s kind of where  the sprouts, began to come forth of, of where I am today  with being on this land, having groups come, and then naturally I was on I was on the land, so I turned into  the guide or the educator, because I needed to show people what was going on in the land, what they can do to help we started intern program. And that was their very beginnings. 

David Earnhardt 12:37

So alright, so I’m envisioning you  in, in Costa Rica, on a small piece of land with five of your either closest friends or new acquaintances  building this community in with the goal of, of what I mean, what was it? I mean, more than just community obviously, right, anything like you had to, there had to be something there. I would imagine that that drew you to Costa Rica, that  drew you to that particular piece of property? Like what, what? dig into that kind of decision process? A little bit?

Joshua Canter  13:06  

Yeah, um, well, I think  when I left Los Angeles, and I, and I just left and I, and I started to travel, I started to realize that there’s many different ways to live our lives. And I was specifically fascinated with sustainable living. And I think coming from the big city in Los Angeles, I saw utilization of resources, just urbanization. And, and then when I left there, and saw, I started school at University of Oregon, in Eugene, Oregon, and it was just totally different landscape and lots of farming and just  vast  green lands in Oregon. And I was like, wow  this, this feels so much more in alignment with how I would like to live. And, and so then when I went  when I took a break, went back to school and switched my major to sustainable community development, and started studying other other communities. I really felt like, wow, this, this calls to me, and then going to Costa Rica was, was, I think a product of me just wanting to like to take a leap and, and just prove to some people or prove to myself that I could live, I could live in alignment with nature, and I could live a sustainable life. And Costa Rica happened because we were looking to do this in the US and at the time, financially, it just wasn’t feasible to buy a piece of property with water and land when I was 20 years old, 22 years old.  It wasn’t feasible, but, but folks, were doing this in Costa Rica, there were a lot of Americans going over there. So um, yeah, we set it up as a model of a different way of living. And also again, a model not only to learn about sustainability of the land, but also to learn about how to sustain ourselves.  Individual and do this kind of personal true nature exploration. Yeah, that was the beginning. 

David Earnhardt 15:15

That’s cool. That’s a, that’s a very, that’s a brave leap to take to go from  concrete city, concrete island that is Los Angeles and say, I’m going to pick as close to the exact opposite of that as I can. And that is, it takes a lot of that’s a pretty brave decision. I mean, you had to really get out and get outside of your comfort zone really quickly, I would imagine and be totally okay with that.  I can imagine that’d be kind of challenging.

Joshua Canter 15:38  

Yes, it was definitely, it was a leap. And  looking back, it was one of the best decisions and one of the craziest decisions at the same time, but I feel like that is a that’s a lesson  sometimes  you just you got to feel it. And you got to  like, I like the quote that Bob Marley uses, who feels it knows it. And on our life’s journey, I feel like sometimes we just feel things, we feel the passion, we feel the call. And even if there’s folks saying, This is nuts, like my parents, were definitely saying, “This is nuts”. You know, some of some of my friends back in Los Angeles, like, “what are you doing”, but I just felt that I feel like I needed to do this. And looking back, it was, it was a huge, huge step, a huge chapter of my journey. And  we might talk a little bit more about this, but I feel like  in life in career, especially as an entrepreneur, and maybe a cool jobber often it’s it’s a series of steps, it’s not a clear path, it’s one step. That step  leads to another step leads to another step. And that’s really how how my birth, my journey has been, it’s been a organic grassroots journey of entrepreneurial visionary, who didn’t have a lot of background in business, didn’t have a lot of background in, you know, in program development, or creating my own business, but  one step at a time.

David Earnhardt 17:08  

Well, and that’s the  is something that has been a theme that I have noticed in the in the podcast series is these ideas of, to borrow the career Center’s mantra, which is “what’s next,” right? It’s not about necessarily knowing where you’re going, it’s about knowing where you going next. And  the idea of kind of small leaps of faith of kind of  what I can do this, this is, and at the same time, I have to do it to jump off the  jump off the cliff a little bit, and the net will appear. So, so tell me a little bit about that when you decided, all right, I’ve lived in Costa Rica, I’ve done the communal living thing, and it’s time for me to take my next kind of step, my next move of faith, however, we would want to describe it, and start a business and move back to the United States.

Joshua Canter  18:03  

Yeah, so um, so I mean, that was also  a step by step process. You know, what happened was  first, we were starting this community, and  we were having people there, we’re living on the land, and then then we really realized, Alright, great, we’re living on this land, we need to support ourselves, right. And we started some small cottage industry businesses, we did some, we started a dried fruit company for a period of time where we  there’s a lot of tropical fruit, so we were drying mangoes and papayas, and bananas, and tried that for a while, I was still doing some my glass work, I was doing some jewelry out there. And  small things. We were doing this intern program, we’re receiving a little bit of income from interest, but really wasn’t sustaining us. And so first, we  I had a vision, I said, Hey  let’s start, let’s start holding groups, let’s start holding some kind of retreats and courses. And so you know, I have this great idea. I was like, Oh, this is it, this is going to be the key. And so  I helped to build this website. You know, back in the day, it was a big deal that I’m building a website, we put up all these programs like these are going to be you know, this catalog of programs like this is it people are going to come? And no one came in.  And we’re like, oh, no  what’s  you know, why aren’t people coming like this place is amazing. People would love this place, but people didn’t come. So that was that was frustrating. And, but about six months after this, I got a call. And it was from one of my professors from from the university. And she said  we’re looking for an abroad program on community living, and we want to, would you be interested in co-leading it with me, and we would send 13 students down for three weeks, and we want to do it on your property. And we’re like, Wow, that sounds amazing and is scary and intense and all of it. But I was like, Alright, there’s the key, there’s the door there, there’s the opening. And so we opened that door. And it was a few months later, we had these 12 students come down. And we hosted this three week program. And it was really the the door opening one for us to have the crash course, in how to host groups how to be hosts on our land. And also it set up a light bulb that that basically illuminated the importance of partnerships, and the importance that like we couldn’t really, we didn’t have the market yet to basically fill these programs, but we needed to partner with universities, other organizations that already had a built in market. And that was really a key and still is a key in our company today.

So that was the first program. And  in that kind of set off  several different partnerships and several different programs that happened on the property over the next several years. And then at a certain point, (you know, I’m kind of answering your question how it got back to the States,) at a certain point, the next chapter was upon was upon me, and a lot was  led by my wife, who also felt like, hey, it’s time to move away from this small farming village in the middle of Costa Rica, and kind of get back to our culture, and move back to the States. And naturally, the next evolution of the company began due to  the need to sustain ourselves financially on a greater level here in the States, but also, naturally, the company just began to evolve. And, yeah, I’ll pause, I could speak more to that or go in a different direction. 

David Earnhardt 21:41

So it sounds like there was some familial interest in changing the scope of the business and let’s go above the work we’re going to be doing. So tell us about what took you back to the United States and then maybe, into the, into the Asheville region? 

Joshua Canter 22:06  

Yes. So we  we were in Costa Rica for seven years. And, and it was an amazing place to be. And  again, we’re living in this small farming village, way up in the mountains in Costa Rica, living a very simple and sweet life. And, but at the same time, we were far from our families were far from  some of the community and culture that that resides that we’re familiar with here in the US, and also  wanting to start a family. And we just  we felt we felt the next chapter is upon us. So, how we got to Asheville was another another story. My wife is a musician and a recording artist. And at the time she, she was doing some touring. And so we went back to the States. I set up a tour for for us across the US. And we were going to stop in various cities were interested in living in. And so we started in in LA, and we went, we were in Northern California, we were in Oregon, we’re in Colorado, New Mexico, made our way across and Asheville was our last stop. And we landed in Asheville. She played a couple concerts, and the community really embraced her music. And we felt really supported. Someone gave us a house to house it. And we, we thought about it. We’re like, well, Asheville feels so great. So we went back to Costa Rica for another few months. And then the whole time we were thinking Asheville, and then we said, right, Asheville is our spot, and went back and moved ourselves here. And we’ve been here about 13 years. 

David Earnhardt 23:51

So I was anticipating like, Asheville was our last stop, and we got here and we ran out of gas. 

Joshua Canter 23:55

And that could have been Asheville, I think calls everyone in its own unique with way like, there’s so many stories, you could do a whole podcast on how people are pulled to Asheville. 

David Earnhardt 24:01

But that’s one of the things that I’m noticing too, in doing the podcast is that there are there’s something kind of special and unique about Asheville as far as having that connection, interconnectedness amongst people who are here, but also interconnectedness with the with the, with the land and with the surroundings and with water. And there’s just a lot of reasons that people are choosing to be here that have very little to do with the traditional things that you know, high speed internet access, or you know, the highways or specific jobs, like it’s almost intrinsic reasons for people to be here, which I think is very hard to put on a brochure if you’re in the tourism market, but it definitely is the reason why people stay 

Joshua Canter 24:54

Yeah, and I would say one thing that kind of  reminds me of another piece of my journey that I feel like maybe your listeners would be interested in is I i’ve always pretty much since that time when I lived in Lake Tahoe, teaching snowboarding. I’ve always felt like the location of where I am, is so important in my life, and that I am going to create whatever I want to create, and you know, talking about jobs, so career Wherever I am, so I know some people are LED  they’ll get a job opportunity in some place, and they’re going to go to that place because of the job opportunity. I kind of saw saw things in the opposite way, I said, I’m going to go to a place because I want to live in this kind of place. And I’m going to create my life, in my career in that place.

Because  this is where I live, this is the setting the environment, the community that that I live in. To me, that’s, that’s a top priority. So I know, I know, obviously, it’s everyone is not capable of that. And I think  we can create beauty and community wherever we live. But for me, that was another important piece of my journey. 

David Earnhardt 25:50

I like the idea that you’re committed to this to this area, because you chose it in almost in spite of the job, right? I mean, you chose it. Yeah, for the reasons that are not necessarily around your career and around how much money you can make in a specific place in a specific time. Like that’s, that’s a very forward thinking and potentially more satisfying way of thinking about yourself in your career and being able to make your life and have this kind of life design in mind, where you’re kind of working around things that are not necessarily the traditional avenues that folks think about. 

Joshua Canter 26:32

Yeah, I mean, I see, I see, I still see a lot of people who live in Los Angeles that, um  make a lot more money than I make. But they are  they, they’re talking about the traffic or the  the air pollution, or just the congestion, or just the stress of living in LA, and they’re like, Oh  but, but this, but for me, that’s not what it’s all about, it’s all about where  where we are, where we live our quality of life  and so that’s an important piece, when we think about career  because it’s easy to get persuaded, and I think pulled into  having a job that pays really well. And because that’s kind of how our  how, somewhat of the thinking in our culture is it’s like all about productivity and about  what is our salary? And not as much about Oh, like, what is our What’s our lifestyle? Like, what’s it, you know? How do we feel every day in our, in our bodies and our minds when we’re working.

And that, to me, is really important. 

David Earnhardt 27:30  

It’s that intersection of living to work versus working to live. And  I like the, as your, as you’ve chosen that work to live model. 

I think that it will, hopefully lead to more satisfaction, long term, fewer collateral problems, there be fewer issues with  health and mental health and wellness  the idea of

success looks different to a lot of people. And it sounds like your idea of success is not always geared toward how much money you can make, and a lot more here to how much how many lives you can impact and how many, how many opportunities you can give for folks to make their own decisions around their success and what it looks like. 

So you touched on this a little bit earlier, but I’d like to dig in a little bit, because I think there’s a lot of value for folks too, to think about successes and failures. And then you touched on it a little bit of this idea around, people coming to  you set up a website, and if you build it, they will come and people will come and be a part of your your community. And that didn’t work out. And so I wonder if you can expand a little bit on that, and maybe why you think it didn’t work. And also maybe why you thought it would why you had so much kind of invested in and then maybe an idea that you didn’t  think it was going to be very good or you thought you can try it but didn’t have a lot of expectations, and then found out that it actually worked out pretty well. 

Joshua Canter  29:12

I feel like I don’t look at it as much the journey as success and failures I look at more, they’re all just lessons on the path. We all I think need to take our leaps on our journey, we also need to stumble and fall. And so often when we stumble and fall is when we have the greatest lessons. And so I think you know, that initial, you know, lesson early on in the company where we just set up a website needed to happen. And, and I think it needed to happen for us to, you know, that directly understand the importance of partnerships. And I think like I said, that’s been a key a key in our company and I think in the key, a key in in many companies and especially when you’re starting a company, realizing that there, there’s actually a lot of support out there, and there’s a lot of ways to collaborate in a healthy way. And, and so those directly  the collaboration with the university, and then now  we collaborate with  various different organizations, that  we tap into their market, and we are providing the services, and they’re providing the  the students or the travelers that want to travel with us 

Still to this day, you know, we, there’s a lot of competition in various industry, as there is in travel, we, we’re in a  a specific niche market of this specialized group travel with  universities and with yoga and wellness. But still, even in this, there are other companies that are doing similar. So it’s important  for us to connect with  other groups in and that already have established clientele have established  population  for instance, with universities, we make a partnership with a university, they, they have trust in us  we providing a service to their students, and they have a large student base that they can support  coming to us. Um, another piece that I think is really important, is to realize  when we make mistakes that we do not need to reinvent the wheel, when we are in, in any part of our life, but especially in business and career. 

And so I really began to understand that early on. I thought, at first, oh, I’m this  this visionary entrepreneur, but you know, I’m 20 years old, and I’m like, I can figure this out myself. But then I  slowly flopping, I realized, whoa, what other you know, what other groups have done similar before, what other communities have started before, what other travel companies started before I really starting to read  really started to reach out. And  as podcasts began, like this, really started to listen, and there is so much information out there, that of those that have done the same thing, have had visions have fell down and have got up again, what they’ve done wrong, what they would do differently. And so I’ve really relied on that element too, so you know, collaboration in various ways, from collaboration to helping to bring in business for collaboration, helping to direct me as a founder, director, CEO of this company.

David Earnhardt 32:42  

Yeah, I like the idea that  collaboration gets a little lip service, for lack of a better word. And so  I think that what is at the core of being collaborative is not only figuring out what you can offer, but not what someone can offer you, but what you can offer them and  what is an opportunity for you to be reciprocal, in your, in your relationship, and in your engagement with that person to actually build trust and build collaborative feelings, or between you and whatever organization or group that you’re a part of? 

Joshua Canter 33:18

Yeah, I mean, I use the word intentionally healthy collaboration, because collaboration can be a slippery slope, too. I think we live in a very  more and more, I feel like individualized culture. And, and there’s a lot of  emphasis on being a strong, independent individual. And I don’t think there’s as much focus on collaboration. And because of that, I think collaborations can be complicated, and they can easily at times go south. So I think having a healthy collaboration is really important. And to me, that’s  has fundamental elements, as you know, with like, clear communication  open, open, honest, communication relationship and also, like you said, like, mutually beneficial collaboration. So, we’re all in this to support each other. And so easier said than done, but something I’ve  I have learned to embrace and enjoy for my, my career.

David Earnhardt 34:29

I found too integrity through you know, honesty, I think is  sometimes a polite no is the right thing to say. And sometimes  asking someone for something that may feel outside of your comfort zone to do it is the right thing. 

I mean, there’s a lot of feeling it out, working with someone to be collaborative, but I think having an understanding of your of your boundaries and also kind of where others might might feel a little boundary as well makes for a good collaborative relationship. 

David Earnhardt 34:55

You’ve got some news to share with our listeners about something that’s pretty new going on at True Nature Travels, so why don’t you tell us a little bit about that? 

Joshua Canter 35:03 

Yeah, definitely. So over the last  over the last few years, we’ve been planning, brainstorming, visioning, how we can make our programs even more accessible to the population  we realized that  traveling internationally is a is a great privilege. And not everyone has the capability means to to travel. So we’ve been thinking about ways in which we can share our passion, and the values and the information and knowledge that comes from our programs to a greater population. And so  during this, this period of COVID, that has happened over the past year, where travel was not happening, we have the time and space to create a virtual program. 

And we’re really excited about it, we’ve actually rolled out two different virtual programs, one for our student population, which is called the True Nature Global Ambassador Project. And then we have another part virtual program called True Nature Online, which is for our adult, non student travelers. And it is really setting programs that basically  infuse some of the different elements of our travel experience,  for instance, community, and service and mindfulness and what it means to be a global citizen. And  we’ve these different areas, and we’ve infused them into these virtual programs, we have an international teaching team, so you get to connect with  faculty from around the world. And  you don’t get to travel, but you get to experience  many of the components, which we, we talked about earlier, which we believe helped to inspire one’s true nature. And, and that’s really the goal is to  create a more well rounded leaders and citizens and provide a resource that is accessible for for many. 

David Earnhardt

Also, it sounds like a neat way to to think about your work in a completely different way. It’s kind of like  how do you make ice cream without milk? Right? You know, it? How do you do travel education without international travel? Right? Yeah. And so I can imagine that that was a fun thought experiment for you.

Joshua Canter

Yeah, I’m really, I’m really excited. And yet, it’s also been a challenge. And some  again, another step on the journey, another chapter, it’s like, how do you do this without, without the travel component, but I’ve also began to realize that actually, a large part of our travel component has been the people and has been  our leaders, and has been the groups and those pieces are still available in the virtual training. And, and also, like, there’s even more potential because I kind of feel like the world is at my fingertips, and in different way, now that we’re virtual  that we don’t, there’s a lot that goes into trying to send a group to Peru, but you know, the, the  the ability to connect people with Peru, and, and learn from the culture there and learn from our team there  just with  at our fingertips, I’m like, wow, that that feels really exciting, inspiring, and it feels like really right for the time right now. 

David Earnhardt 38:15

It’s awesome. That sounds like a whole new set of challenges to come and also can feel really fulfilling, I’m sure you see the different types of reflection that people do and their own growth, I can imagine it would feel very different in a virtual environment. But it also might feel better for some folks who aren’t quite ready to  hop on a plane and smell the Sistine Chapel, or to go to Peru, and they’re not quite ready to do those things yet. It’s kind of an entry for folks, {that’s for sure}. So I’m really excited for you, that sounds like an awesome opportunity to folks to join you, virtually until we are able to join you in person. 

And so I wanted to finish up The Cool Jobs Podcast with a question for you. Who is someone that you think has a really cool job? And why? 

Joshua Canter 39:05

All right, that’s a great question. You know, I might give kind of a you know, not so traditional answer, which is kind of a part of my journey, but I feel like anyone that is doing what they love and loving what they do, to me, has a cool job. And so I look around all the time. And I feel like I see cool jobs. And you know, sometimes those jobs could be flashy jobs, like sometimes I’m like, wow, I’d love to be a  a professional athlete or professional snowboarder, or  a National Geographic photographer, but sometimes I see  professors in university, and I think, Wow, that is a really cool job. Or  sometimes I even see politicians and I think, wow  that is a really cool job. And so to me  I feel like there’s, there’s so many cool jobs out there and, and every day, I have my eyes open in appreciation for what everyone’s doing out in the world. And just following their own calling. And that’s my hope is that I can inspire others to do the same. Because that’s, i feel like an important element of our lives.

David Earnhardt 40:20

Thats awesome, and finally, how can folks learn more about True Nature Travels?

Joshua Canter 40:20

We have our website which is, all spelled out, you can also find us  on facebook, find us on instagram, email us if you want at

I’m also accessible and happy to connect so if you’d like to reach out to that email and say you’ dlike to connect with Joshua, I’m happy be there to support any ofyour listeners on their journey, and I’m just grateful to hang out with you David.  

David Earnhardt 41:05

Thank you very much, that’s awesome, well thank you Joshua for sharing your time, you expertise and your cool job with us, we really appreciate it.

Thanks for listening to The Cool Jobs Podcast, a service of the Career Center at UNC Asheville.  Like what you heard? Give us a like, share with a friends, and subscribe.  Next we’ll be talking with Greg Garrison, Professional Ice Cream Taster, so be sure to check it out.

Transcribed by

SECU Fellowship Interns (1)

In the summer of 2020, 10 UNC Asheville students participated in the SECU Public Fellows program, working full-time jobs and using their liberal arts education to benefit high-quality nonprofit and government organizations focused on improving life in rural North Carolina for a diverse array of residents. The program, which provided UNC Asheville a $50,000 grant to fund the internships, is designed to connect interested, talented undergraduate students with local leadership in order to obtain meaningful on-the-job experience with a local agency or organization, while providing a unique learning opportunity to allow students to give back to his or her community.

Read below to learn more about our 2020 Cohort and the incredible work they did!

Senuri Fernando, Mountain BizWorks

“My name is Senuri Fernando. I am a junior, pursuing degrees in Accountancy and Business Management and a minor in Economics. I was born in Sri Lanka and I live in Lincolnton, NC. This summer, I interned at Mountain BizWorks, a non-profit organization located in Asheville, N.C.  I wanted to participate in the SECU Public Fellows Internship because I wanted to use my skill set to do meaningful work in my community. This internship gave me the opportunity to network, accomplish impactful projects that demonstrated a commitment to the community, and continuous engagement in my learning experience. 

Lee Hill, ASAP Connections

“Hey, my name is Lee Hill. I’m an economics major and an environmental studies minor. My passion lies in solving socio-economic issues and sustainability. I originally grew up in Charlotte, but my heart now lies in Asheville. This summer I am interning with ASAP Connections. This organization does amazing work with farmers and food providers to increase access to sustainable agriculture and support farmers in the many ways they may need. I was super interested in the SECU Public Fellows Internship program because it has allowed me to do meaningful work and complete an internship while maintaining financial stability. All of the sites seem to be doing incredible things here in Asheville, and I would have been lucky to work with any of them. My experience with ASAP has been very enriching, and I’m super lucky to be a part of this program. “

CT, Asheville Humane Society

“My name is CT and I’m a Health and Wellness Promotion major. I will be graduating in the fall. My internship site was at Asheville Humane Society in the Community Solutions department. We travelled throughout Buncombe County to work with people at their residences, among other tasks. It was similar to social work. We often visited those in housing authorities and other low income areas to assist with pet needs. Our goal was to keep the pets in the homes despite people struggling in various capacities. Many of the resources we provided ensured a better quality of life for pets and their owners. My interest going forward will likely encompass some non-profit social justice work, and mental health advocacy. This internship lined up with my future goals and was a wonderful stepping stone on my path forward.”

11/30/20 Cool Opportunities

Cool Jobs
Air Monitoring Chemist at WI DNR Division of Environmental Management
Robotic Process Automation (RPA) Consultant at Roboyo
Employee Communications Specialist at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
KSCS Midday Air Personality at Cumulus Media – Dallas
Associate Director of Transfer Admissions, Office of University Admissions at Kean University

Cool Local Jobs
Patient Service Specialist at Mercy Urgent Care
Chief, Education and Interpretation at South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation & Tourism (Columbia SC)
Registered Environmental Health Specialist at Alamance County Health Department
Cafe Workers at Covelli Enterprises/Panera Bread
Sales and Route Coordinator at Sunshine Beverages, LLCAssistant Community Manager at Hawthorne Residential PartnersSeasonal Package Handler at FedExGrants Manager for Blue Ridge National Heritage Area (Part time)

Cool Internships/Fellowships
Advancing Black Pathways Program at JP Morgan ChaseSummer Marketing Internship at Thermo Fisher Scientific
Spring 2021 Intern Opportunities: Remote at Democratic Attorneys General
Entertainment & Influencer Marketing Internship at Hollywood Branded
Internship at Gingrich 360
Human Rights, Education, and Empowerment New Business Intern (Paid) at Winrock International
Undergrad Intern – Global Brand, Sponsorship, and Innovation Marketing at Visa, Inc.
Conservation Fellow at Montana Conservation Corps
Production Intern (In-Person Summer 2021) at Seacrest Studios (Charlotte NC)
Intern – NASA Goddard Applied Sciences Lab at Science Systems and Applications, Inc.
Kayak Guide/Interpretive Naturalist/Retail Intern at Outside Brands (Hilton Head SC)
Gallery Internship at Kapoor Galleries Inc.

Cool Years of Service
Playworks Utah AmeriCorps Recess Coach at Playworks
Non-Profit Service Corps Position at Blue Ridge Service Corps

Fun links this week
What do you think this monolith is?  Found in the Utah desert, it looks otherworldly to me!
What is “slow work”?  Check it out here.

My thoughts for the week:

After today, the Cool Jobs Email will go on hiatus for the rest of 2020, and I wanted to take this opportunity to look back at the year of uncertainty, change, and hope, and highlight a couple of things that have stood out to me this year.

First, I would like to recognize the resilience of everyone on this email for taking a year full of lemons and making some pretty awesome lemonade.  I’ve heard remarkable stories of fortitude as the job market has moved some readers out of their previous roles and others have landed new opportunities.  I’ve connected with new faculty and staff members I didn’t know previously as a result of this email, and I’ve loved getting to know you all better.  This email has also given me the opportunity to learn from you about how much 2020 has thrown your worlds upside down, and I appreciate your candor, your strong spirit, and humor along the way.
Our offices have welcomed new children and grandchildren this year, have seen engagements, marriages, zoom costume parties, retirements, and virtual happy hours.  We’ve worked with our students in new and innovative ways this year, and built relationships with new members of the UNC Asheville community that will last a lifetime.  

While this year has lead to undeniable hardships for many in our world, I hope you’ll look back at the year with your minds trained to find the silver linings in the clouds of 2020, and look to 2021 with the same optimism as I– that we will find even more ways to innovate, build on successes, learn from failures, and emerge from the holiday break with a renewed sense of purpose. 

As we look to all the holidays celebrated at the end of the year, I wish you all peace, positivity, and possibility.


11/23/20 Cool Opportunities

Cool Jobs
Talent Acquisition Assistant at Nolan Transportation Group
Range Technician at Bureau of Land Management
Assistant Director Marketing & Communication – DE&I at Florida International University
Contracts Administrator at Lumbee Tribe Enterprises, LLC (Pembroke NC)
Search Quality Rater at Sykes
Academic Coach-Educator-Vail, Colorado at Ski & Snowboard Club Vail
Coordinator, Business Strategy & Inclusive Content at Lionsgate
Microbiologist Specialist at Colgate-Palmolive
Post Bachelors Internship- Computing and Analytics (NSIP) – Summer 2021 at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

Cool Internships
UX Design Summer Intern at Converse
GIS Technical Intern Changing Landscapes Initiative at Smithsonian Institution
Communications and Engagement Intern (Remote) at Libraries Without Borders
Podcast Production Spring Intern (remote/online internship) at The World Music Foundation
Spring 2021 Internship at TMZ
Summer Undergraduate Research Program (SURP) at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
Audience Development Intern at Young Hot & Modern

Cool Local Jobs
Park Interpreter at South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation & Tourism
Weatherization Program Technician at Blue Ridge Community Action
Executive Assistant to President/COO at Tanger Outlets (Greensboro NC)
Seasonal Sales Associate at Nike, Inc.Movement Builder at TOSS
Mechanical Engineer – Production at Haakon Industries
Software Engineer  at nCino (Wilmington NC)
Volunteer Program Specialist at HelpmateBrand Manager at Wicked WeedBlack Bear Research AssistantField Instructor with the New Vision Wilderness Program

Cool Local Internships
Intern at Clark Eustace Wagner, PA
Animal Care Intern at Appalachian Wildlife Refuge
NASCAR Diversity Summer Internship Program at NASCAR
Marketing Internship at Keystone Labs (Local, well paid!)

Cool On Campus Jobs
Frontline at UNC Asheville – Campus Recreation

My thoughts for the week:

As we approach the Thanksgiving holiday, I wanted to take this opportunity to thank each of you for reading The Cool Jobs Email, sharing the email with others, and giving feedback.  I hope it has brought some interest into your Monday morning inbox, and some inspiration during a trying year…I know it has given me purpose to start the week off with, and I appreciate your readership!  

Please stay safe and keep other safe during this holiday season,