What Goes Around Comes Around: CHEF Intern Gives Back

Homeownership changed Mariah Triplett’s life, which is interesting considering she is now a CHEF Intern for Fahe, an organization that works and advocates for home ownership in Appalachia. As a child, her life was a series of moves, first from Hawaii, and then around Appalachia, until her mother acquired a first time homebuyer loan. Mariah commented, “It brought my family much needed stability.” She continued to say that when she finally did get settled down, the lifestyle change brought unanticipated difficulties. “When I started school, all of the other kids, their parents, and the teachers already knew each other. I was just kind of there, and I didn’t know anyone yet.” However, she grew to have close ties and loved growing up in Appalachia.

Mariah has already gone to earn her Associate’s degree from Northeast State Community College where she graduated magna cum laude. She said that she wanted to further her education to see how it would work with her passion for cosmetics (in which she is licensed). Now she attends East Tennessee State University in Johnson City, aiming to get her Bachelor’s degree in Human Resources. She is a constant presence on the Dean’s list as well as a first-generation college student.

Mariah’s work at her internship includes the development of an annual report for her internship site, Kingsport Housing and Redevelopment Authority (KHRA), as well as evaluating their procurement policies to make sure that practices accommodate state and federal regulations. Along with all of this, she is available as needed for KHRA’s community events. These projects play to her broad interests, as they will give her experience engaging with specific skills. The question is, what will she do with those skills?

Career-wise, her dream would be to run a cosmetics company, although she is also very interested in Public Relations and Communications work. She wants to get as much work experience as possible so that she can hone in on what her long-term career goals will be and how to get there, as her current interests are so broad. After her internship, Mariah would like to work with ARCH—Appalachian Regional Coalition of Homelessness— to help the homeless population in the area of Johnson City or a similar organization. She is also working to better her community by being a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) volunteer, working to be a stable presence for children affected by the court system.

Among all of this work, where will Mariah make her home? While she does like to serve in her current community, she is not sure if she will remain in Appalachia. “I’m in-between, “she says. “I wouldn’t mind to stay. I mean, I keep moving away, but I always seem to come back.”