Expanding Horizons and Opening Minds
Town offers internships to local students
This fall, the Town of Hillsborough has welcomed three interns who are bringing their skills and enthusiasm to support various facets of local government.
Interns help the town meet the needs of the community while also enabling the town to engage and train the next generation of local government employees and leaders. The current group will end their internships in December.
Wastewater Treatment Plant
Alex Lapina, a Kernersville native, works at the town’s wastewater treatment plant. He is a senior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill studying environmental science.
The Wastewater Treatment Plant removes nutrients from wastewater, disinfects the water with chlorine, and removes the chlorine before discharging the water into the Eno River. The Eno River is part of the Upper Neuse River Basin, an ecologically sensitive area with strict discharge rules.
Lapina supports Wastewater Laboratory Supervisor Corwin Hess, testing water before, during and after the treatment process, as well as water in the Eno River.
“I enjoy being down by the river and taking water samples. It is great to be outside,” Lapina said. “It is also impressive to see how the Wastewater Treatment Plant works. It’s a service you don’t think about as a resident. This internship has really opened my eyes to the opportunities in public service.”
Nik Lawson, currently living in Mebane, works with the Public Works Division. He graduated from Cedar Ridge High School in May.
The Public Works Division provides residential solid waste and yard waste collection, maintains town-owned streets, and oversees operations and burials at the Town Cemetery.
Lawson rotates through supporting different aspects of the Public Works Division, riding along in the division’s various vehicles and assisting in their work.
Lawson enjoys the comradery with his fellow public works employees and the ability to do something different every day. He gets to see different aspects of the services public works provides, and he builds friendships with his team along the way.
Public Space and Sustainability
Simrin Agans, a Hillsborough resident, works in the Public Space and Sustainability Division. She is a senior at Cedar Ridge High School with a dual enrollment at Durham Technical Community College.
The Public Space and Sustainability Division develops and maintains facilities and grounds available to the public, including parks, greenways, cemeteries, sidewalks, streets and urban spaces.
Agans assists Senior Administrative Support Specialist Lindsay Rhew and does a variety of work for the town — from watering and weeding in the parks to taking inventory of items in the town’s public spaces.
“I really enjoy being out in nature,” Agans said. “That’s not something you can get at every job. This internship has shown me how involved local government can be, and I love it.”
Human Resources Analyst Eli Valsing said the town plans to continue to provide internships to keep younger people engaged and to help them consider local government as a career path.