Donald Morgan (Alabama A&M University)
The Internship Advantage of Smith Scholar Donald Morgan Transforms Knowledge into Professional Competence.
The Smith Scholarship Foundation knows that academics are one of many important elements that go into preparing students for fulfilling professional and civic lives. In fact, the transition from college to professional career hinges much more on demonstrated job preparedness than academic perfection.
According to a 2009 survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers’ 35% of employers’ fulltime, entrylevel college hires came from their internship programs. Among other development activities, The Smith Scholarship Foundation encourages all of its scholars to take advantage of internship programs relevant to their career goals. Donald Morgan, leading up to his May graduation, has recently accepted an internship for course credit with the City of Huntsville’s Planning Division. Donald, a 2010 Smith Scholar from Attalla is interested in using his passion for urban quality of life to plan healthier growth for cities. He is completing a degree in Urban Planning at Alabama A&M University.
We asked Donald to explain what this internship will entail:
City of Huntsville is currently making preparations for the 2035 Long Range Plan. A long range, comprehensive plan is allencompassing
and covers every aspect of a city. I will be performing demographic analyses, research on design standards for complete streets and other vital processes to assist with the compilation of this plan. As part of the City of
Huntsville Development Review, I have already revised the MLS Housing List to measure real estate growth.
career goals: I am interested in rigorous research— like the research I’m doing right now— that alleviates the issues of poverty, discrimination and inequity. Above all, it is my ultimate goal to ensure that low income families are afforded the opportunity to enjoy adequate housing, able to pursue higher education, and given the tools that are needed to advance,
both physically and mentally, out of their undeserved situations. I’m committed to this goal as not only a matter of personal interest, but also of religious faith. This is not Donald’s first internship; in fact, he has established a clear trajectory with two previous extracurricular
experiences. In 2012 he worked with Geographic Information Systems at the Etowah County Commission. And in 2013 he participated in the National Science Foundation’s Research for Undergraduates program, researching “community geography.” Donald sees all of these experiences as bridges to a successful career.
“If I passed on one thing to college freshmen, it would be that coursework is a precursor of success, but it’s the way that you take advantage of all of the other opportunities to complement your degree that makes you capable,” said Morgan. “There are things that I’ve learned in my internships—how to network, how to communicate with professional peers, and how it really feels to be a professional planner—that you can’t learn anywhere else.”
After graduation, Donald plans to pursue dual master’s degrees in Urban Planning and Public Administration.