First-year growing pains behind them, the six alumni who created the Furman Metropolitan Fellowship are poised to financially and professionally assist another Furman junior who commits to a 2017 summer internship in New York City.
After 50 phone interviews, the applicant pool of approximately 90 has been pared to 14 finalists. They are:
- Grayson Ashby, Columbus, Ohio (Biology)
- Aneesh Borah, Guwahati, Assam, India (Studio Art)
- Crystal Brockington, Conyers, Ga. (Political Science)
- Sarah Byrd, Fairhope, Ala. (Philosophy)
- Tucker Erdmann, Portland, Maine (Business Administration)
- Moriah Ivins, Cypress, Calif. (Mathematics/Economics)
- Emma Jackson, Birmingham, Ala. (Political Science)
- John David Mitchell, Maryville, Tenn. (Mathematics/Economics)
- Gigi Nally, Greenville, S.C. (Communication Studies)
- Jackson Pearce, Charleston, S.C. (Psychology)
- Stefan Rhodes, London (Accounting)
- Casey Ryan, Jupiter, Fla. (Communication Studies)
- Drake Shadwell, Dalzell, S.C. (Theatre Arts)
- Matthew Storie, Pendleton, S.C. (Saxophone Performance)
Each was interviewed in person recently on campus, and the recipient is expected to be announced this weekend.
Last year’s inaugural grant winners were Sarah Saba ’17 and Martin Eguiguren ’17, and in addition to $8,000 to cover living expenses they received professional assistance in creating resumes and improving interview skills as they pursued internships of their choice. They were also introduced to many of the 600 or so Furman graduates who live and work in the New York metropolitan area.
Eguiguren, an economics major, landed a position with Entrepreneurs Roundtable Accelerator, a company that invests in startups, while Saba, a piano performance major on a pre-med track, interned with JDRF while studying piano under a professor at Julliard. JDRF is an organization that raises money to provide funding for type-1 diabetes research, and Saba received a standing job offer to work alongside scientists in its research department.
“The offer does not tie me to a specific position but is an incredible opportunity I am seriously considering,” Saba, a native of Charlotte, said. “I still am waiting to hear from medical schools in the meantime.”
The Furman Metropolitan Fellowship (FMF) was founded in February of 2015 by Jeff Broad ’12, Peter Griffin ’11, Roe Morris ’11, Philip Mabry ’11, Max Dutcher ’12, and Zach Rosen ’11. After graduation the six ended up in New York, and after fighting to make their way individually against well-connected alumni from other schools they felt it was imperative for Furman alumni to have their own support network.
FMF’s mission is “to create a bridge between Furman University students and New York City internship connections and community.” All juniors are eligible to apply.
Dutcher, who graduated magna cum laude from Furman with a degree in business administration with a concentration in Asian Studies, is a senior consultant at FTI Consulting’s Capital Markets and Special Situations group. He also serves at the FMF liaison director with the University and said that little has changed from last year to this—except for the decision to go back to the original goal of awarding a single fellowship instead of two.
“It’s been formalized, streamlined a little bit, and we’ve rolled back the timing to get things done earlier. But really the spirit is the same,” he said. “Our original strategy was to only have one, but it just came down to last year that we really could not decide between two.”
Griffin, who graduated with an economics degree, provides pension funds, mutual funds, and hedge funds equity sales coverage for Bank of America Merrill Lynch and is also the FMF development director. Two of the biggest challenges at the outset were advertising the Fellowship to students and raising money to fund grants, but both have been easier than expected.
“There’s marketing around campus in a lot of different channels, from Facebook to professors talking about it, emails going out to all the juniors,” he said. “Raising money really hasn’t been an issue. We were pleasantly surprised last year when we very easily raised $16,000.”
Fundraising has proven to be an effective means of uniting alumni in New York, Griffin added.
“Obviously, we need to keep talking about the program, but I think through word of mouth a lot of donors have come forward without us even asking and have been eager to support the program,” he said. “Through our fundraising efforts it gives us the annual opportunity to spread our network as new alumni come up and are interested.”
For more information or to become involved, visit the FMF website.