Q: How did you choose to attend Harvard and how did you pick your major?
A: I actually thought I was going to go to Stanford growing up. I’d never been to the East Coast before, but I saw the Harvard campus and it just felt like I’d gotten home. I knew it was right.
I chose to major in government, thinking I was going to be a politician. After about a year, I realized there were a lot of other ways I could contribute, but I stuck with government because I loved the theory behind it and how to use that in modern times.
Q: What have you been up to since graduation?
A: Right out of college, I worked for Abercrombie & Fitch as a financial analyst and then moved over to being a real estate analyst. After a year and half, I needed a change so I moved back to California and took a job with a software company called School Pathways. I’m still working there, and it’s been really great. It was founded by two teachers who care about education. We get to see innovative ideas and have watched so many schools get started. It’s been an incredible experience to get involved in education. I just got into Business School at Duke so I will be heading there in the fall.
Q: What did your ENF scholarship mean to you?
A: To be honest, it’s a little difficult to put into words. My ENF scholarship was a very unexpected public recognition of seeing a potential in myself that I thought I had but didn’t know if anyone else saw it. To have a group like the Elks find something in me that they were willing to give me a scholarship for was a profound experience. It solidified a confidence in myself and made me realize that dreams do come true and they are something to believe in.
Q: What was your favorite memory from attending the Elks Convention?
A: We traveled to St. Louis. I think all the stories I heard were so incredible. Listening to the Elks’ outlook on life was amazing. Everyone had a humility and a sense of gratitude about them.
Q: What does being an Elks scholar mean to you?
A: I think it’s a great group to be a part of. It’s more meaningful in a way then going to a specific college or club, because it’s not about a score on a test or being valedictorian. This is probably the best group of people I’m going to be a part of. It’s really a privilege.
Q: What advice do you have for other Elks scholars?
A: Try to enjoy the moment. I got caught up in “I have to find a job or have to go to grad school,” and I don’t regret it, but I realized late in the game that there are more options. It’s really important to think, “what do I want to do, what’s something that’s meaningful to me.”
Q: What is an interesting fact about you that most people would find surprising or unexpected?
A: I think people would be surprised that I am a movie fanatic. My collection spans everything from really terrible movies that I never want to see again to movies I’ll watch once a week.