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John M. Belk Impact Fellowship, Higher Education Administration Program Prepare Graduate Student Jamison Lowery ’22MED to Meet Goal of Serving Underrepresented Students

NC State College of Education graduate student Jamison Lowery with staff at the Hunt Institute

Jamison Lowery ’22MED, a student in the NC State College of Education’s Master of Education in Higher Education Administration program, is one of 15 students who has been selected for a competitive John M. Belk Impact Fellowship.

The Belk Impact Fellowship offers a 10-month internship to college students who demonstrate an interest in educational equity and a commitment to serving others, with the goal of developing future social impact leaders. 

“I was definitely excited when I found out about being selected,” Lowery said. “It was something that was a little bit out of my wheelhouse that involved doing work I hadn’t previously done before.”

As a Belk Impact Fellow, Lowery has been working since August at the Hunt Institute, a nonprofit organization that brings together people and resources to inspire and inform elected officials and policymakers about key issues in education. 

Lowery’s work as part of the Hunt Institute’s Higher Education Team involves analyzing information related to ongoing issues higher education institutions are facing, such as FAFSA completion rates or COVID vaccine mandates, and presenting that information to policymakers in an easy-to-understand way to help inform legislation. 

He also had the opportunity to engage with the Hunt Institute’s ElevateNC program and was able to attend a program conference with legislators, county commissioners, higher education administrators and K-12 school representatives. 

“They brought them all together to have conversations about issues related to higher education. That was an experience that was really cool, to see how people talk about these issues affecting higher education and what folks are trying to do to address them,” Lowery said. 

Although Lowery is currently pursuing a Master of Education in Higher Education Administration, he did not initially intend to work in the field of education at all. 

As an undergraduate student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, he had hoped to pursue a dental or medical degree, but he soon realized he was not as passionate about that line of work as he thought.

His experience working with a mentor who, like Lowery, was a member of the Lumbee Tribe, inspired him to shift his focus and pursue a career in education instead. 

“I saw the work that he did and it inspired me to want to act in that same kind of capacity for other Native students or other underrepresented students. That’s what drew me to this work,” he said. 

As a Native American student, Lowery said it was important to attend a graduate program where he would feel a sense of community. The Higher Education Administration program’s cohort model and the ability to work closely with his peers is what drew him to the College of Education.  

Since coming to NC State, Lowery has been involved with the Native American Student Association and has worked with Multicultural Student Affairs to help plan programming, specifically for Native students. He also serves as the regional advisor for Phi SIgma Nu, the oldest and largest Native American fraternity in the United States, where he oversees four chapters in the state of North Carolina. 

Although Lowery said he is not yet sure where his career will lead once he graduates in May 2022, he is certain that he wants to be able to serve students in whatever way he can.

“I want to be able to work in a capacity where I’m able to help students, whether that’s through mentorship or programming or providing access or working in admissions,” he said. “I feel like the Higher Education Administration program is helping me out by providing professional development and professionals that I admire and look up to.”