Governor’s fellows named

Published 5:50 pm Thursday, June 30, 2016

Two men from Buckingham and Prince Edward counties have received the prestigious Governor’s Fellowship through Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s office.

Though Cainan Townsend and Brandon Hatcher began their educations here, this summer they are working at the state capitol in Richmond.

Both men will work through July, along with 27 other fellows. The opportunity is open to rising junior and seniors at the undergraduate level, as well as graduate students, according to the fellowship application.

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According to the governor’s website, the students are placed in different agencies of the governor’s office where they are given assignments according to their background, interests and future goals.

Townsend, 22, is working with Secretary of Education Anne Holton, her deputy secretaries and staff on various project regarding educational issues in the commonwealth.

Brandon Hatcher

Brandon Hatcher

Cainan Townsend

Cainan Townsend

He said, “My favorite part about the fellowship is … being immersed in state government, and being treated like a colleague … They do not create work for us to do, and that speaks volumes of everyone in the office to have that much trust in us to do a good job.”

Meanwhile, Hatcher, 24, who received his bachelor’s degree from VCU, is working in the Health and Human Resources Secretariat with Dr. William Hazel.

Hatcher said he gets to experience first-hand how decisions are made at the state level, watch how issues are dealt with and research current issues.

“The entire experience is very interactive and hands-on,” said Hatcher.

Hatcher said his favorite parts about the fellowship are being submerged into real-world issues and being in a place surrounded by knowledgeable and experienced individuals.

Townsend — a Longwood University graduate — said his childhood in Farmville helped to fuel his passion for education.

“Living in an area that closed down its schools for five years to avoid integration has made education all I (was) interested in,” said Townsend. “My family was here during the time of the school closings and suffered because of it. My goals have always been to help the students of Prince Edward County, and they will continue to be.”

Hatcher was also inspired by his hometown roots.

“I have an amazing support system coming from Buckingham County, whether it be my family, friends or teachers who pushed me to do and be better all the time,” said Hatcher.

“I am the first one to do a lot of things and my family has made many sacrifices for me, so it’s been important to show my gratitude by setting the bar high. It’s true when they say it takes a village to raise a child, and I like to think that I came from a great village.” Hatcher said.

Hatcher emphasized the importance of taking advantage of the opportunities that came his way.

“I am hoping that this opportunity will be the doorway into a bright career path involving lots of service to the public,” Hatcher said.

Both Hatcher and Townsend are graduate students in VCU’s L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs.