The Columns

My W&L: Ferrell Carter ’16

— by on September 5th, 2016

Ferrell Carter '16

“Both my academic and extracurricular involvement have fostered an interest in entrepreneurship, which has led me to work for a startup through Venture for America next year.”

Coming into W&L, I knew how involved students were and how much people valued leadership on campus. But, to be honest, it took me some time to find my footing in extracurricular involvement my freshman year. It seemed like a lot of my friends were applying for and earning leadership positions on campus and I just wasn’t finding those same opportunities. I became connected to the Nabors Service League through volunteer work at Waddell Elementary, and I decided to apply to their contact committee in the spring of my freshman year. Community service had been a huge part of my life prior to W&L, so I knew this would be a great fit for me.

What I didn’t know was how many other opportunities I would run into as a result of that first leap. My sophomore year, two senior friends of mine started a campus non-profit called FeelGood. FeelGood is a social enterprise run by college students at over 25 universities around the US. We sell grilled cheese at pop-up delis and send 100% of our proceeds to four different global hunger and poverty relief organizations. At the end of the year, they asked me and my friend, Anna, to take over in leadership. After one trip to Colorado and several meetings with professors and university faculty upon our return to campus, we geared up for FeelGood’s second year at W&L. Working closely with both FeelGood and Nabors, I was able to make extensive connections on campus that not only contributed to the success of FeelGood, but also helped me develop leadership skills that I had not had before. Running a social enterprise, I refined skills in marketing, entrepreneurship, finance, and event planning. And as FeelGood grew bigger, so did our network of other organizations that we worked with throughout the year.

My experience in Nabors and FeelGood helped shape my academic interests as well. I deepened my involvement with the Shepherd Program by becoming a Poverty Studies Minor, which led me to take several classes in the Williams School that applied economic and political theories to complex social issues. It was as if things started to click; I was taking classes that I was genuinely interested in while furthering that education with leadership positions that allowed me to put them into practice. Both my academic and extracurricular involvement have fostered an interest in entrepreneurship, which has led me to work for a startup (not sure which) through Venture for America next year. Over the course of four years, I have been able to develop genuine interests that have not only shaped my college experience, but my post-graduate plans as well.

The opportunities for leadership and growth here are innumerable, and the support system within this community creates an environment that wants to see students succeed, in whatever way that may be. I feel extremely lucky to have had such a personalized experience during my four years here.