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Holy Cross senior awarded prestigious Orr Fellowship

| Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Being first is nothing new to Holy Cross senior Lucy Campos. She is a firstborn child, a first-generation Mexican American and the first in her family to attend college.

Campos recently added another first to her resume as she became the first Holy Cross student to be chosen for the prestigious Governor Bob Orr Indiana Entrepreneurial Fellowship, more commonly known as the Orr Fellowship.

Courtesy of Lucy Campos
After a lengthy two-month application process last fall, Holy Cross senior Lucy Campos won the Orr Fellowship and landed an opportunity at Ascend Indiana.

The Orr Fellowship was established in 2002 and centers around a two-year position at one of 63 partner companies in Indianapolis, with additional workshops and mentorship opportunities included in the program. Upwards of 1,200 graduating seniors apply every year, with an average acceptance rate of 6%.

For Campos, an Elkhart, Ind., native, the fellowship will also be her first foray into the business sector. As a double major in English and psychology with a minor in political studies, she initially planned to pursue graduate school upon graduation in May. But in the summer of 2020, Holy Cross Director of Career Development Adam DeBeck recommended the Orr Fellowship.

Even though she didn’t have the traditional business background that entrepreneurship might be most commonly associated with, she possessed a lot of other qualities that seemed to make her a very successful candidate,” DeBeck said.

DeBeck noted Campos’ extensive track record of leadership and involvement. On campus, Campos currently serves as the Holy Cross chapter president for Psi Chi, the International Honor Society in Psychology, and is part of a group creating a new publication from the English department called Core Chronicles

But her activities reach far beyond campus. Campos spent the summer of 2019 in Washington D.C. as part of the Leadership and the American Presidency program run by the Fund for American Studies and the Ronald Reagan Institute. She has also presented psychology research at the Midwestern Psychological Association Conference in Chicago and had research published in a Polish psychology journal.

In addition to her scholastic achievements, Campos is employed at the Holy Cross Development Office, for which she helps plan special events on campus. She has also worked full-time off campus throughout college to pay for her tuition.

Despite her lengthy resume, Campos said she was initially hesitant to pursue a business fellowship due to her lack of experience in the field. However, she eventually came to view this as positive.

“I love learning about new things and I also love to take opportunities when they come,” Campos said. “I saw this as an opportunity to step into something that I had very little familiarity with.”

In September, Campos embarked on a two-month application process with multiple essays and several rounds of interviews. After advancing into the top 100 candidates, she interviewed with four partner companies on Nov. 13 as part of the culminating “Finalist Day.”

At the end of the day, Campos was not offered a job.

“I’m not gonna lie, it was a little discouraging,” Campos said. “I’d spent so much time preparing for it and getting excited for it. And I felt like I failed the people who had helped me along the way.”

However, one company reached out for a follow-up interview shortly afterwards. A week after that, Campos was offered a position as a manager of recruitment for Ascend Indiana, an Indianapolis-based staffing and recruiting services firm.

Campos said she is excited to begin work with Ascend and is grateful for all the assistance she received throughout the stressful application process.

“None of it would have been possible without the help and support I received from my family, my friends and all my mentors, especially those from Holy Cross College,” Campos said.

She also mentioned DeBeck and Jodie Badman, her boss at the Development Office and associate director of marketing for special events and cultivation.

DeBeck said he is “very proud“ of Campos. 

“I feel she very well represents some of the best of what our student body has to offer,” DeBeck said.

At the end of the two-year fellowship, Campos hopes to eventually obtain a doctoral degree “in something.” However, she said she is open to remain at Ascend if the opportunity for a permanent position arises, as is often the case for Orr Fellows.

Campos said the general advice she would give to students weighing options for post-graduation opportunities — as she was a year ago — is to be open to different possibilities and stay positive.

“Stay open-minded,” Campos said. “Instead of being filled with dread over not knowing where you could end up, take the more positive approach and be excited about things that could come up. You never know what opportunities could just fall into your lap or what change can lead into something better than you ever imagined.”

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