I’ll admit it now. I applied to the George F. Baker Scholar program because of a boy.

He was perfect. We could have been this perfect college couple. He, like me, was an English major. He, like me, was from a tight-knit, little-known community. He, like me, spent Tuesday and Thursday afternoons tutoring for D.C. Reads. I had to be proactive. I couldn’t resign myself to sit in the back of the Volunteer and Public Service van while he and a fellow tutor, who happened to be a blonde senior, chatted about people I didn’t know. I was desperate to be involved in the conversation.

Such was my introduction to the Baker Scholar program, which is designed for liberal arts students in the College who have an interest in both business and community service. The program is grounded by the mentoring relationships formed between past scholars who are now leaders in the corporate world and the current junior and senior scholars.

Although business was the furthest thing from my mind as we drove two days per week down the Lady Bird Johnson Parkway, I promised my new love interest and the blonde senior that I would apply when the announcement went out at the end of sophomore year.

I had applied to Georgetown as a biology major, pleasantly misguided by an “ER”-image of the medical profession. Three weeks after arriving at Georgetown, I had secured my status as “undecided.” And while I ran the gamut of liberal arts majors, from Interdisciplinary Studies to even constructing my own before settling on English, I never once seriously considered business before arriving on the Hilltop.

It seemed so far removed. It seemed impersonal. While I was decidedly undecided about my future, I knew that I needed to be connected to both a public and private community. I needed to be able to communicate and see the results of my professional choices reflected in the lives of others. I needed to work with people, not dollars.

My perception of business changed dramatically throughout my first two years here. I had left my romantic memories of D.C. Reads behind and was working at the American Bar Association’s Center on Children and the Law. I began to realize that for every lofty and successful aspiration in combating our social inequities, there was a smart and savvy business plan serving as its foundation. Just like the liberal arts majors I had toyed with for a year and a half, there were a large range of business opportunities – from finance to brand management to the business of the law, not just accounting.

While unrequited, I am forever thankful to my freshman-year crush. I dutifully filled out the Baker Scholar program application and happily was accepted after an intense interview process with several of the program’s trustees, who themselves had been scholars.

During my first year in the program, Baker has afforded me wonderful professional opportunities. This summer I worked in my mentor’s office, as an editorial assistant at family.com, Disney’s online parenting magazine. Throughout this year, the scholars have traveled to Chicago and New York to meet with the companies and individuals who comprise the current face of business, whether it was a project coordinator at Gatorade working on marketing the company’s new flavored water, a teacher in the Inner City Teaching Corp. in her second year at a Catholic grade school or the president of Estee Lauder.

However, I am most thankful to the program for affording me an even greater opportunity to talk. The Baker program produces a deeply committed network of Georgetown alumni who are passionate about their careers in business and about instilling that passion in future business leaders.

Standing at a crossroads in my life, I’ve come to depend on the experienced opinions of those who have paid their dues; those who have failed, picked themselves up and stumbled upon the greatest success of their lives; those who have taken the road less traveled.

Despite busy work schedules and even busier personal lives, the trustees and former scholars have taken great measures to make time to speak with me at great length. They assure me that while the future is daunting, to say the least, ambivalence and choice are not negative but rather immensely positive.

Like any successful business venture, the voices and faces of the Baker Scholar program are its greatest asset. Regardless of the romantic motivations or outcomes, it is my most valued Georgetown investment.

Kate Moran is a junior in the College.

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