Scholarship winner Charles Wood looks forward to improving his community.

Charles Wood ('20, '23 M.P.A.) came to UNT for its thriving theatre department and envisioned a career as a stage manager. But his priorities shifted when the COVID-19 pandemic struck.

He started volunteering with organizations in the area, including going door to door to encourage vaccine signups for the Denton Medical Reserve Corps' Texas Motor Speedway Vaccination Clinic.

"I realized how much I wanted to be a part of making my community better," he says. "Public administration offers exactly that."

Wood earned a $40,000 Rotary Global Grant to pursue his dream of leading local government and community efforts to address the growing need for affordable and accessible housing. He is now studying for his second master's degree in urban management and development with a concentration in urban housing and land justice at Erasmus University Rotterdam in the Netherlands.

While a student in the College of Health and Public Service, he served as president of the UNT Public Administration Student Association and worked as an eviction prevention specialist for United Way of Denton County in 2021.

He hopes to find a position in local government where he can work in housing and urban development.

"I've always wanted to experience the world and learn from a large diversity of people, and I feel like that's something that's always been encouraged at UNT. My education has been shaped by having a diverse group of friends and professors and being able to draw from opinions that I never even considered growing up."