In May, the John William Pope Foundation welcomed 2019-2020 John Blundell Fellow Branson Inscore to our staff. A recent college graduate and native of Iredell County, Inscore will be with us for one year working as a program assistant, exploring options for future employment or graduate study, and completing a special project. The John Blundell Fellowship was established in 2015 for recent graduates that have an interest in advancing freedom and pursuing a career in public policy, academia, journalism, philanthropy, or public service. Previous fellows have gone on to pursue additional education, work in state government, and work in philanthropy. We asked Inscore to share more about himself in a brief Q&A.
Q: Where did you attend college?
“After much deliberation, I first enrolled at Mitchell Community College, in Statesville, NC. Even with scholarship money, it was going to be much more affordable for me to attend community college, so that’s where I went. I often felt like I was missing out on the “college experience” while my high school friends were off at school. However, if I had to do things over, I would definitely go to community college again. This period really gave me an opportunity to spend time alone, and to see what young adulthood was like before going to University. I graduated from Mitchell in 2017 and transferred to UNC-Chapel Hill. I spent two years at Chapel Hill before graduating this past May with a degree in Communication Studies, concentrating in media and technology studies, and minors in Music and History.”
Q: What was your favorite college course and why?
“At Mitchell, one of my favorite courses was Introduction to Business Management, taught by Phil Holleran. This class really sparked my interest in the fields of business and economics. At Carolina, my favorite course was History of the Old South, taught by Dr. Harry Watson. Dr. Watson is the former director of the Center for the Study of the American South at UNC, and currently Atlanta Distinguished Professor of History. His primary area of research centers in the Age of Jackson. As one who has held a lifelong interest in early American history, this class was near the top of my list by default; however, Dr. Watson is a gifted lecturer with a wealth of knowledge which made the course exponentially more enjoyable, engaging, and rewarding. This course challenged me to think even more critically about some of the most compelling questions of American history, and the historical texts which we studied shed new light on the complex human existence in early America. Understanding this period in history is critical to understanding the state of our state and country today. And, of course, being a Southerner, understanding the history of the American South is essential to understanding oneself.”
Q: Of the Pope Foundation’s four giving areas — public policy research, higher education, human services, and the arts — which interests you the most?
“Coming from a family filled with educators, I have acquired a passion for the field of education. It is education that equips one to make their way in the world. It is also an essential part of the health of a free society. I am excited to play a small part in helping to facilitate opportunities for individuals to learn and discover. I look forward to learning more about these areas in the coming year.”
Q:What particular skills or qualities do you hope you acquire throughout your year in this role?
“This position provides me with an incredible opportunity to grow intellectually and professionally, expounding upon the education I received in the liberal arts, with practical application and exposure to new information. I hope to make the most of that opportunity. Fundamentally, I hope to continue to develop my skills as both a leader and a thinker. Likewise, I hope that my work at the Pope Foundation helps to create a better North Carolina. I believe one changes the world for the better by changing oneself for the better. If my work here contributes to such for myself, and possibly for someone else as well, it will have been time well spent.”