As the Fletcher Fund for Equality and Education begins to look forward and review applications for the upcoming 2021-2022 scholarship recipient, we wanted to take this opportunity to reflect and look back. For the 2020-2021 school year, the Fletcher Fund presented its inaugural scholarship to Daisy Ferrell, a graduate of Mattie T. Blount High School in Prichard, AL, and currently an undergraduate at Dartmouth College in Hanover, NH.
“We’re exceptionally proud of Daisy’s accomplishments this first year, and honored to be able to provide her with support during her collegiate studies,” says Christian Fletcher, CEO of LifeBrite Labs in Atlanta, GA, and co-founder of the Fletcher Fund for Equality and Education.
The Fletcher Fund team had the chance to sit down with Daisy to discuss her time thus far at Dartmouth, how the assistance from the Fletcher Fund has helped her focus on school and not be concerned about necessary finances, and what advice Daisy might have for future Fletcher Fund scholarship recipients.
Fletcher Fund: Daisy, how was your first semester at Dartmouth?
Daisy: Although academically challenging, I felt prepared, and I didn’t have any financial worries, which truly made a difference.
Fletcher Fund: Were there any surprises, and if so, how did you adjust to them?
Daisy: I knew Dartmouth was remote, and I knew that the term only lasted 10 weeks. However, I was surprised by how the seclusion and fast-paced nature of campus affected me. There was nowhere to go, and I didn’t see a chain restaurant until week seven. Adjusting was hard, but I found that there is peace in being still. Sometimes, I would simply have to sit still in my dorm to feel grounded.
Fletcher Fund: That’s interesting. What was it like meeting other people outside of your hometown?
Daisy: I knew going into Dartmouth that there would be very few Alabamians as there were only three students from the entire state in the class of 2025. So I was a bit apprehensive about meeting people outside of my bubble of familiarity. Be that as it may, the people at Dartmouth are truly what makes the community feel like home. Every person I met was polite and loved my accent. Furthermore, I was able to foster real relationships with my peers because of the small class sizes. I would consider myself thriving in the social aspect.
Fletcher Fund: Before and after attending Dartmouth, did your perception of financial assistance change?
Daisy: Absolutely! I had no idea how expensive college was outside of the cost of attendance (tuition, meal plan, etc.). A pack of gum in our campus store costs close to $5. Professors expect students to purchase the books that they have written, and those books cost well over $150. Without the Fletcher Fund, I would not be able to attend Dartmouth and receive the full experience of my education.
Fletcher Fund: We’re glad we’ve been able to make that happen. Did you receive any support or mentorship from Amber or Christian Fletcher during this time?
Daisy: The Fletchers always gave me the inclination that if I ever needed anything from them, all I needed to do was reach out. However, I felt that since they were doing so much for me that I shouldn’t bother them with my trivial problems. I have since realized after my first term that there is no shame in asking for help. I can’t do this alone. Going forward, I will not hesitate to use the Fletchers as a sounding board for ideas or as a listening ear.
Fletcher Fund: What do you look forward to while finishing your first year of college?
Daisy: I look forward to having academic fun. For the first time in a very long time, I am being challenged academically, and I want to take as many classes that interest me as possible. Because of the Fletchers, that is possible for me.
Fletcher Fund: What words of advice do you have for a graduating high school or rising college student?
Daisy: Forge relationships with your peers and professors. Your peers are just as new to campus as you are; you are all on a level playing field. If you aren’t the type of person to go up to people and introduce yourself, that is okay. However, don’t shy away from opportunities to make an acquaintance or a friend. Exchange numbers with the person you sit next to in your class. Sit down with people in the café.
Your professors are there to help. Go to office hours even if you don’t have a question. Introduce yourself. Ask for tips on how to succeed in the class. Talk through your process for studying the material. Also, attend class even if it is not mandatory. It makes a difference.
Fletcher Fund: That’s great advice. What words of wisdom do you have for someone applying for scholarships?
Daisy: Apply for them all. It gets tiring, but keep applying. All the money adds up!
Fletcher Fund: Did your perception of your career or college major change during this time?
Daisy: It has. I still am majoring in government; however, it is modified with politics, philosophy, and economics. I am also double minoring in public policy on the health policy track, and African and African American Studies. I know the goal after graduation is law school, but I am still undecided on a career. In the future, I plan to use the Center for Professional Development on campus and Women in Law and Politics to help me decide on what to do with all of my interests.
Fletcher Fund: How do you feel like you’ve changed as a person during this time?
Daisy: I have realized that the world is so much bigger than Mobile or Alabama. It’s multifaceted, and I didn’t know how close-minded I was until I started talking to people from around the world. Additionally, I would say that college has opened my eyes to the resources available to me. I don’t have to do everything on my own.
Fletcher Fund: How has receiving the scholarship allowed you to better focus on your academics and pursue your goals?
Daisy: The pressure of a financial burden has been lifted. I don’t have to worry if my tuition will be paid. I don’t have to worry about loans. I am free to be a college student, and I am forever grateful. I hope to one day give someone else the freedom that the Fletcher Fund has given me.
The mission of the Fletcher Fund for Equality and Education is to invest in exceptional students, from underserved communities, as they pursue opportunities in higher education.
“Daisy is a great example of our mission, and we look forward to meeting future students we’re able to assist,” says Christian.
For more information about the Fletcher Fund for Equality and Education, contact [email protected] or call 251-591-6135.