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Embracing the ‘Think and Do’ Philosophy in Community Engagement

“Think and Do” is not merely a motto at NC State; it’s a mindset embraced by countless current and former students. Stacie Kinlaw, an alumna, has exemplified this philosophy both during her time at NC State and in her role as the current community engagement manager for Robeson County Partnership for Children. Kinlaw embarked on her educational journey at NC State, earning her B.A. in Psychology in 2001 and later her master’s degree in Youth, Family, and Community Sciences (now known as Family and Community Sciences) in 2020. In 2016, she also acquired a graduate certificate in Family Life Coaching.

Reflecting on her time at NC State, Kinlaw conveys, “I believe that individuals learn best by doing, and it has been a true privilege to be a student of this same ‘think and do’ approach at NC State University.” She continues to put this principle into practice in her career. Throughout her professional life, she has been deeply involved in community health, directed and managed a small children’s museum, served as her county’s 4-H youth development agent, and worked in the field of early childhood education and support. Her position with the Robeson County Partnership for Children enables her to continue her learning journey while positively impacting her community.

In her present role, Kinlaw’s responsibilities revolve around building community impact and engagement, with a primary focus on spearheading collaborative and coordinated efforts to raise awareness about Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and nurturing resilience within her county. She collaborates closely with other community members through a stakeholder group known as Robeson Overcoming Adversity through Resilience (ROAR) to provide education and resources.

ROAR members share the vision that every individual in Robeson County should possess the tools necessary to recognize, process, and overcome their own adversities. They aim for individual, familial, and community resilience to flourish. These members undergo training to better comprehend trauma and stress, the impacts of childhood experiences, and how to rekindle hope. Once trained, they have the opportunity to share their knowledge with the broader community.

Kinlaw with members of the Down East 4-H Club that participated in a STEM challenge at NC A&T State University

Kinlaw asserts, “It is evident that we cannot prevent all adverse experiences that affect children and adults, particularly those stemming from climate or culture. However, I firmly believe that we can empower our community to provide support and mitigate the negative impact.” Her current role empowers her to educate and inspire her community.

Kinlaw describes her career path as being significantly guided by her commitment to the community, her innate talent for building connections, and her unwavering belief in others. While she received support from everyone at NC State, she especially recognizes a few faculty and staff members who have been instrumental in her journey. Notable figures include Kimberly Allen, Annie Hardison-Moody, Maru Gonzalez, Harriett Edwards, and Diana Urieta

Upon graduating from NC State, Kinlaw was resolute in her desire to return to her community and make a positive impact. Despite the diverse opportunities in larger cities, she believed her influence would be more profound in a rural setting. When asked about her choice of career path, Kinlaw explains, “I love North Carolina, I love rural North Carolina, and I am committed to ensuring that my children and all children have a better environment and greater opportunities here.”

Kinlaw has developed a deep passion for mitigating the impact of Adverse Childhood Experiences. Through her work, she continues to nurture her commitment to improving the lives of others in her local community and aspires to collaborate with professionals across the state and nation to advance this cause in the years ahead. Overall, she is focused on her personal mission to improve the lives of children and families in her community and surrounding communities surrounding.