Leadership Skills for a Better Tomorrow

D.J. Murphy
Public safety and community service have always been a big part of D.J. Murphy’s life.

Growing up and spending time with his late grandfather, who served the Harrells Volunteer Fire Department in Sampson County, Murphy wanted to make a similar impact in people’s lives — even trying to join the same fire department at age 13, though he had to wait a few years to officially become a “trainee” at age 16.

As a student in the UNC School of Education’s Human and Organizational Leadership Development (HOLD) program, Murphy is building upon his academic and professional interests through interactive experiences that cultivate his leadership skills and knowledge in public safety.

In spring 2023, Murphy began as a Thorpe Undergraduate Intern with the Chapel Hill Fire Department. In the role, which continued into the following summer, Murphy took on the project of centralizing the department’s different data sources into one easy-to-access location. By organizing this data and creating centralized repositories of information, Murphy helped improve information sharing and collaboration across the department.

“This internship has allowed me to see how a small-town fire department operates compared to bigger towns and cities like Cary or Durham, and it allowed me to see how a fire department chain of command works,” Murphy said. “It was very informative to see the different decisions that are made within an organization from the top leaders.”

During his time in the HOLD program, Murphy has garnered valuable insights that will enable him to develop a foundation in leadership, organizational theory and making data-informed decisions within his career. In the program, Murphy has had the opportunity to engage in meaningful collaborations with his peers, further enriching his learning experience.

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