Former Honors Wednesday Memo editor serves as planning manager of Summerfield

By Kistler Hunt

Former Honors Wednesday Memo editor Brad Rentz ‘20 ‘21 currently works for the town of Summerfield, North Carolina, as a planning manager and is happily married to his wife, Jenny. The lessons Rentz learned from his time as editor have served him well, even after graduation. Rentz was the second editor of the Memo, serving from January 2018 to August 2020. He served after inaugural editor and Memo creator Kelly Dancy (August — December 2017), before Lakin Stevens (August 2020 — May 2022), and the current editor, Kistler Hunt.

Rentz joined the Honors College in the spring semester of his first year at App State as an internal admit. He graduated in May of 2020 with his Bachelor of Science in political science with a concentration in public administration and a minor in community and regional planning. He completed his thesis, “Amicus Curiae Briefs In The United States Supreme Court,” under the mentorship of Dr. William Hicks, associate professor of political science and assistant chair of the Department of Government and Justice Studies. Dr. Mark Bradbury, professor of public administration in the Department of Government and Justice Studies and associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences served as his second reader. After earning his BS degree, Rentz continued at App State completing his Master of Public Administration in the spring of 2021.

Rentz remembers fondly his experiences as Memo editor and his time in the Honors College. He reflected,

“The Honors education paired with the HWM editor responsibility forced me out of my comfort zone, regularly. It gave me the structure of a future (post-college) job where I had deadlines that several people depended on me to make. The Honors College also exposed me to a different population of students at Appalachian. I went into many scenarios cold or without preparation, which helps with my current position as citizens come in randomly throughout the day and their questions or requests of me are almost never the same.”

The Honors Wednesday Memo is a coveted hallmark of the Honors College, one that is steeped in tradition now in its eighth year. The Memo serves as the key source of information for Honors students. It is carefully curated and crafted in order to empower students to take advantage of the opportunities it presents, furthering their Honors experience, and enriching their overall undergraduate education. Despite the changes in editorship since its inception, the mission of the Memo remains the same: advance students’ holistic development by providing them with tools, information, and inspiration.

Rentz explained that his skills and experiences as editor are still relevant today and applicable in his current work. In particular, he employs the writing skills he developed in his role as editor regularly in his work for the town of Summerfield. He explained, “My work now with the Town places a lot of emphasis on the written word. On a weekly basis, I create letters to be mailed to citizens, packets for our Boards to review cases, or emails to citizens or other governmental agencies that can be complicated or require several paragraphs worth of background to get everyone up to speed. So, the consistent practice of the written word, I think, helped shape that skill that I still use and likely will use for the rest of my career.”

Rentz further reflected on all he learned and the skills he gained as editor, which continue to advance his current work: “I would say that the editor role, and the variety of responsibilities it offered at that time, afforded me a variety of experiences and skills that I still use today. For instance, I have improved in public speaking (although it is still nerve-racking), I find that I enjoy it more. Personally, the memo helped with scheduling. I think I’ve always been organized but having a weekly, looming, deadline forced me to manage my time in great detail.”

Rentz also noted that from his role as editor, he learned to represent an organization (or town) bigger than oneself. He said, “The editor role encouraged me to become more outgoing. I’m certainly an introvert, but working as the editor you also become a representative of the Honors College.” The role of editor now also includes the periodic responsibility of writing on behalf of the Honors College at the top of the Memo, which even further hones these skills.

The Honors College is invested in the holistic development of students, equipping them with the skills and knowledge they need for long-term success. We are excited to be building a deeper network of Honors alumni like Rentz who are invested in the Honors College. 

Top photo features Brad Rentz hiking in the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park in Gunnison, Colorado. Photo submitted.

Published: Nov 29, 2023 9:44am