Hogan Medlin pursues public service career

With a new master’s degree in public administration, the former student body president wants to lead behind the scenes.

Hogan Medlin poses for a portrait outside of the School of Government wearing ceremonial robes.
Hogan Medlin poses for a portrait outside of the School of Government. Medlin is graduating in December with a master’s degree in public administration after earning an undergraduate bachelor of arts degree in political science from Carolina in 2011. (Photo by Johnny Andrews/University Communications)

Hogan Medlin always felt called to public service.

Growing up in Rockingham County, Medlin was raised by service-oriented parents. His father served as the city attorney of Eden, and his mother was a dedicated public school teacher. Medlin says he felt the University’s statewide impact long before he ever set foot on campus, through his parents’ own Carolina education and the training his father and other city officials received through the UNC School of Government.

Inspired by the University’s service to the public, Medlin enrolled at Carolina. He was a Morehead-Cain scholar, a member of the Clef Hangers and student body president in his senior year. After graduating in 2011, he went to South Korea on a Fulbright scholarship and to Washington, D.C., to serve as a staff member in the Obama White House and the U.S. House of Representatives. A stint as a consultant at Deloitte affirmed for him that public service was his true calling.

“Going into the corporate world reminded me how much I really care about working in a public organization, something that’s more mission driven rather than profitability driven,” said Medlin.

Wanting to return to both public service and his North Carolina roots, Medlin joined UNC Health as an internal consultant. He took on a new challenge navigating large-scale system projects within UNC Health’s expansive network of hospitals and its over 45,000 employees across North Carolina.

When the pandemic hit, Medlin suddenly found himself at the heart of UNC Health’s crisis response. “Everyone became a hospital operator,” he recalls. “It was all hands on deck.” He worked within UNC Hospitals to address the pandemic’s impact on hospital staff and operations.

That period was a turning point for Medlin, who credits the experience with his decision to pursue a Master of Public Administration at the UNC School of Government.

“It was an incredible lightbulb moment that, in such a dark time, I got to be part of an organization that was the frontline defender,” Medlin said. “I was inspired by the leadership of people stepping up and doing things way outside of their requirements to just serve. Stepping up in that moment, I realized that I wanted to grow my leadership skills in public service.”

Since his return to the state, Medlin has sought other ways to serve the Carolina community. He is a founding board member of the Carolina Pride Alumni Network, Carolina’s first official LGBTQ alumni organization, and served as the board’s president for two years. He helps the organization with connecting LGBTQ students to the alumni network and ensuring that they feel welcome on Carolina’s campus.

After he receives his MPA degree at Winter Commencement on Dec. 17, Medlin sees a future in public service, not as a public figure but as a behind-the-scenes leader.

“I don’t necessarily need to be in the spotlight,” Medlin said. “I’m interested in leading teams to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of public service. What I value and love about the MPA program is that it has given me so many tools and resources to continue my leadership journey.”