Reflecting on how The Furman Advantage has Shaped my Future
Hi guys! My name is Claire Gillaspy, and I am a senior at Furman from Conway, Arkansas! I am an Applied Mathematics major with a minor in Data Analytics. As a prospective and current student at Furman, you hear a lot about “The Furman Advantage”. Since I started at Furman, I’ve seen The Furman Advantage in action in several different ways. I’ve participated in numerous campus organizations, undergraduate research, Study Away, and an internship all driven by this “Furman Advantage.” Looking back as a senior, these experiences were so formative in my personal and professional development.
On campus, I am involved in the Furman Student Activities Board (FUSAB) which plans events for the entire student body. Through this organization, I have met the coolest and most hardworking group of people who have put on large-scale events like Homecoming and annual concerts. During my freshman and sophomore year, I was in the Shucker Leadership Institute which is a two-year program focused on leadership development on the individual, group, and societal level. I was also on SGA, the Student Government Association, during my sophomore year. These organizations are unquantifiable in how much of an impact they have had on my teamwork and leadership skills.
Another part of the Furman Advantage includes guaranteed access to high-impact, engaged learning experiences through research, internships, and study away.” I have had the opportunity to participate in all three. I did undergraduate research with the Furman mathematics department the summer after my sophomore year. I did data analytics with English Premier League soccer data that was presented to ESPN. This project solidified my love for telling stories with numbers and I declared the Data Analytics minor shortly after that summer. In the Spring semester of my Junior year, I had the opportunity to study abroad in Nice, France at an International Business school. I also found a study away program, and I was able to have it approved through Furman so I could still apply my Furman scholarships. I was the only student on my program from Furman and this allowed me to get out of my comfort zone even more, forcing me to make new connections. My semester abroad was the first time I had left the United States, and I was able to travel to over 1o countries in the 3 months that I was there. Between traveling on the weekends, I was taking courses with other international students related to my Data Analytics minor.
During my Junior year, I was awarded the Furman Metropolitan Fellowship, which is a program run by Furman Alumni to support a student pursuing an internship in New York City (read more here). This fellowship has impacted my life more than I could have imagined. The board of directors helped me with professional development and assisted with my internship application process. With their support and guidance, I received an internship at Bloomberg in their Global Data department. I spent the summer for 2022 outside NYC as a Data Analyst intern, and I fell in love with the company and data analytics! I loved the internship so much, and, apparently, they liked me too because I received a return offer at the end of the summer for a full-time job after graduation! Of course, I said yes, and my Senior year at Furman has been a lot less stressful because of it. I would have never had this incredible job at my dream company if it were not for the constant support from my Furman professors and Furman alumni!
As I’ve reflected on my journey, I’ve realized that so many, seemingly random decisions, have completely changed the trajectory of my future. Furman has cultivated a culture of vocational exploration and an unmatched alumni network that has set me up for success for many years to come! I cannot exaggerate my gratitude for all the opportunities this University has allowed me to pursue- that’s the Furman Advantage.