Thank You

Madison Sampson ’14, ’17 MPA

Miss Madison Ann Sampson ’14, ’17 MPA excels at doing her best: UNCG BA in anthropology; a master’s degree in public affairs; volunteer teacher in American Samoa; graduate assistant for UNCG’s Office of Leadership and Civic Engagement; North Carolina Teaching Fellow; and crowned Miss Black North Carolina USA 2017.

Her heart for those who face adversity – especially children and refugees – led her to intern for the Black Child Development Institute of Greensboro and the National Conference for Community and Justice, and with the Children’s Defense Fund.

Sampson experienced significant adversity en route to success, including family financial hardship and intermittent homelessness in Charlotte, North Carolina. Her current confidence plays counter-weight to the painful social narrative she recounts from her past:

“…the narrative I believed about girls that grow up without money or lots of opportunity, that I will never be able to be better than that, that I will always be another poor black girl from the South.”

UNCG mentors, challenging professors, and opportunities helped Sampson defeat that negative narrative. Financial assistance came from scholarships: the Greensboro Foundations MPA Fellows Program, established with a gift from the Cemala Foundation; the May Davidson Political Science Scholarship Fund; and the Pamela A. Wilson Memorial Scholarship Fund.

Pamela Wilson also excelled at doing her best.

For two decades, Pamela Wilson touched lives through her work as director of multicultural affairs before her untimely death in 2002. Daniel Todd “J.J.” McEachern ‘92 and Monique McEachern ’95 established the scholarship to honor Wilson’s tireless dedication and keep her memory alive. Wilson and Sampson not only share a strong commitment to advocacy and mentorship, but also membership in the same sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc.

“Someone told me about how selfless she was… and how proud she would be of me,” Sampson stated. “I just wish I could say thank you. This whole idea of legacy – I feel like now I’m part of hers. I’m just so honored.”

Sampson is creating her own legacy.

Her supervisor in UNCG’s Office of Leadership and Civic Engagement, Lauren Cunningham, describes Sampson as a champion:

“I witnessed Madison inspire a champion mentality in our classroom, in her relationships with others, in our office, in the local community, and in her faith community.”

As Miss Black North Carolina USA, Sampson wields influence as another kind of champion: role-model.

Sampson was recently hired to be the special assistant for national organizing and intergovernmental relations at the Children’s Defense Fund in Washington, D.C., where she will doubtless be a champion for children.

Story by Zoe Dillard, Donor Relations


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P. Kevin Williamson

Associate Vice Chancellor