Past scholars have some sage advice for upcoming graduates

Published 10:27 am Thursday, April 20, 2023

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By Nikki O’Brien

Davie Community Foundation

When Erin Deadmon wrote her essay for the Crosby and Rotary of Mocksville scholarships in 2011, she laid out detailed plans of becoming a doctor.

She earned a bachelor’s in biology from Boston University while studying biology and pre-medicine. She then worked in clinical healthcare for Massachusetts General Hospital and in client services at a healthcare technology company.

Erin pursued her master’s of business administration degree from Boston College, and accepted her current role in corporate finance at Fidelity Investments. She resides in Boston.

Erin elaborated more on her change of heart regarding her journey. “While I was attending BU, I survived challenging biology and chemistry classes, pulling the occasional all-nighter studying for exams. This was all in pursuit of the ultimate goal I initially set while attending Davie High. After I graduated from BU, a few things happened in my personal life that challenged me in ways I never could have anticipated.

“Suddenly, medicine was no longer my passion. I took some time, went back to school, and found other career interests. I never could have anticipated how happy I would be taking a completely different path than the one I had planned for and worked towards.

I learned a lot about myself during this process, but the biggest thing I learned is sometimes plans can change and there’s no shame in following where the new ones take you.”

Her advice to rising seniors or incoming freshman: “There are many career paths available to you. Make sure you explore any and everything you find remotely interesting. Keep an open mind. Utilize friends, classmates, teachers, professors, neighbors, etc. to help you determine what may be interesting. Keep in mind that you can always pivot to something different in the future. Be your whole and true self.”

Kara Deadmon has been busy pursuing her dreams and passions since graduating in 2005. Kara was the recipient of the Davie County Crosby Scholarship from the foundation and attended Wake Forest University. She transferred to Pfeiffer University and earned a degree in history. She pursued her master’s degree in public history at University of North Carolina Wilmington.

Kara’s graduate work focused on the interpretation of race and gender in historic spaces. She joined the N.C. State Historic Sites as the assistant site manager at the Charlotte Hawkins Brown Museum just after graduation. She is the museum curator of the N.C. State Capitol. The Capitol serves as the office of North Carolina’s governor and is the historic home of the state’s General Assembly.

Kara’s role focuses on a more inclusive historic narrative by interpreting stories of enslaved people who constructed the Capitol and emphasizing marginalized voices through exhibits.

In 2013, she won the Margaret T. Burroughs and Charles H. Wright Fellowship at the Association of African American Museums conference. In 2019, she attended the Smithsonian Institution: Interpreting African American History & Culture Workshop, and she is a Certified Interpretive Guide with the National Association of Interpretation.

Given all of Kara’s unique experiences since her early high school days, I asked what would be her best advice to give to our community youth.

“Study and live abroad. Take advantage of study abroad programs that your university or college offers if you’re able. I studied abroad in the United Kingdom when I was a college senior, and the relationships I made during that time are still some of my most fulfilling. Living on my own abroad also taught me resilience and self-reliance. The world is big, but it’s not scary.

“As much as possible after I left Davie County, I have tried to travel, learn from unique experiences, and interact with varied perspectives. I think this makes me well-suited to interpret different stories at the Capitol and other historic sites.”

Kara resides in Durham with her husband Matt, and their daughter Florence.

Suggest a past scholar to be featured by calling 336-753-6903.