Two Saint Mary’s seniors, Bailey Shrum and Sam Moorhead, and one recent Belle graduate, Clare Maher, as well as one Notre Dame senior, Brooke Kovanda, were recently named incoming fellows in The Governor Bob Orr Indiana Entrepreneurial Fellowship.
“The Orr Fellowship is holistic,” Kovanda said. “It gives me even more real-world skills, a chance to hone my business education from all sides and the opportunity to create a new network.”
The Orr Fellowship was established in 2001 and offers recent graduates the opportunity to work for select Indiana-based host companies for two years. The program ultimately allows students to build professional networks, receive mentorship from leading executives and refine their skill sets, according to Saint Mary’s Director of Media Relations Gwen O’Brien.
The Orr Fellowship website defines its fellows as students who have demonstrated strong leadership skills throughout their undergraduate career and who take interest in business, entrepreneurship or technology.
“My parents’ greatest wish for me is to ‘love what I do, so it’ll feel like I’ve never worked a day in my life,’” Kovanda said. “I think the Orr Fellowship combines these values of doing what you love and knowing that there is more to your life than just your career.”
For the incoming class of 2015, 45 new fellows have been selected out of a record 724 applicants to work at 32 host companies.
This is the fourth consecutive year Saint Mary’s students have been selected as Orr Fellows. O’Brien said four College alumnae have served as Orr Fellows since 2012, including current Orr Fellows Nichole Clayton ’13 and Sara Napierkowski ’14.
“Essentially, it’s a two-year, postgraduate opportunity, regardless of what your major is — we’re just interested in people that are really willing to do really good work,” Clayton said. “It does have an entrepreneurial feel to it, and it really builds on future business leaders.”
Maher, who has worked in Indianapolis since her graduation in fall 2014, said she first applied for the fellowship due to a visit by Clayton and Napierkowski to her senior seminar course. She said the women’s positive experiences inspired Maher to look into the opportunity. Maher said she was grateful for her Saint Mary’s education as she went ahead with her application.
“Saint Mary’s as a whole gave me the the education and experience I needed to present myself as an asset to the companies I interviewed with, knowing I had the qualifications to back me up,” Maher said. “It’s not a coincidence that Saint Mary’s produced three Orr Fellows this year and has had past success with the program; a Saint Mary’s education absolutely gives you everything you need to succeed, and the Orr Fellowship is one example of the outside world recognizing that.”
Maher is currently the head of the Human Resources Department for CloudOne, a company that specializes in the Internet of Things, personalized cloud data analytics and Software as a Service.
Being an Orr Fellow, Maher said she not only gets to interact with CloudOne’s CEO and COO daily, but she gets to be an integral part of the rebuilding of a new and innovative HR system to fit the company’s growing needs.
“Really, you couldn’t ask for a better first job out of school,” Maher said.
Both Shrum and Moorhead said they are looking forward to the many opportunities this fellowship will present, along with the occasion to showcase and utilize all they have learned the past four years.
“The diversified education that a liberal arts curriculum provides will allow me to approach issues from a variety of different perspectives with knowledge gained from a many fields,” Moorhead said. “I am most looking forward to being challenged on a daily basis in my first job and meeting all of the new Fellows who will form a great community for the next two years.”
Shrum said she is grateful to be chosen out of a group of so many qualified individuals, and she is going to take the opportunity to both grow as a leader within an unrivaled network of peers and give back to the community.
According to Shrum, it is essential for students to recognize these types of opportunities that strengthen and support the way that college can transform students into leaders.
“Programs like Orr are looking not only for talent, but driven individuals willing to lead, something Saint Mary’s is known for helping to foster in its students,” Shrum said.