Carrying the Ball

Red Devils quarterback Cole Ahnell '15. Photo by Ned Ahnell.

Red Devils quarterback Cole Ahnell '15. Photo by Ned Ahnell.

Cole Ahnell ’15 

On the field and in the classroom, this quarterback and academic-scholarship awardee gives it his all, and he gets impressive results. But you wouldn’t know it to speak with him. Cole is as modest and people-oriented as he is driven—and he’s never happier than when meeting new people or surrounded by friends in the Caf. Here, Cole discusses why his toughest class is his favorite, what he learned from a risk-management internship and the sheer joys of Caf-sitting.


International business & management and economics.

Clubs and organizations:

Football team, Alpha Lambda Delta and international business & management department (teacher’s assistant).


John Dickinson Scholarship, Football MVP 2013, Football Co-Rookie of the Year (2011) and CC Player of the Week (2014).

On choosing Dickinson:

I decided to go to Dickinson because I wanted to go to a good academic school where I could play football. Three schools of that type were recruiting me. The first time I really looked into Dickinson was during December of my senior year of high school, and as soon as I took a tour of the campus, I knew this was where I wanted to go. As it turned out, I was able to start on the football team for all four years, playing the position I love—quarterback—while also getting a great education.

Favorite class:

Without a doubt, Managerial Decision Making. This may come as a shock to most people, as it is considered one of the hardest classes in the college, and it was tough, to say the least—in preparation for some exams, I spent over 24 hours throughout the week studying. But this class inspired me to push myself to work harder in and out of the classroom, and it also introduced me to new people on campus. The next semester [Associate Professor of IB&M] Steve Erfle, who teaches [Managerial Decision Making], asked me if I could be a teacher’s assistant for the class. I agreed, and I got way more out of the experience than I could have imagined. I got to meet new people and gained the ability and confidence to speak in a room full of my peers. Since the class, Steve and I have become good friends and have worked together on several projects. I currently TA for his intro microeconomics class as well.

On studying abroad:

I did the summer-immersion program in Málaga, Spain, between my sophomore and junior years. This five-week program offered the opportunity to have the study-abroad experience while being able to stay on campus for both semesters [of my junior year], so I could play football. Through this program, I was able to meet different people from Dickinson whom I would not have encountered in my everyday routine, many from different backgrounds. The highlight was immersing myself in another culture and really getting to know my host family. I loved spending time with them, cooking with them, eating their traditional Spanish and Argentinian food, and getting to know them on a personal level. The relationships that I made during those five weeks are the most important souvenir that I carry with me.

Favorite place on campus:

The Caf. It’s a great place to relax and connect with people. (I don’t know how many people will say this, but I love Caf food. However, if you don’t like what they are serving for the day, you can always make yourself a quesadilla.) I probably Caf-sit five times a week.

Little-known talent:

People on the football team make fun of me for this: I am currently learning how to slap the bass. I picked up the bass this summer and have been practicing ever since. I don’t think I’m that good yet, but I practice all the time in my room. I think it drives my roommates crazy. This semester I’m going to continue taking electric-bass classes while also learning to play the guitar. Now that football is over, I need to find a new creative outlet.

Biggest influence:

My parents. They have sacrificed so much for me and my brother, and I am truly blessed for the opportunities that they offered me and the childhood that they gave me. They have supported me through all my years of college—sending me to Spain for five weeks, coming to 39 out of 40 football games, and just generally being there for me. I love them very much.

About my internship:

After a quasi-internship working for my grandfather’s land-surveying company, I interned for a satellite-operations company called Intelsat. This internship appealed to me for several reasons: first, it was local, so I could stay home for the summer; second, it was in D.C., so I could get a city experience; and third, it was for a big, name-brand company that is an industry leader. Finally, it was out of my comfort zone, so I had to adapt to a new environment and a new line of work. (I worked in risk management and had never done anything in that field before.)

What I learned:

Probably the most important thing I learned was preparation and hard work. Many people in the office were not prototypical corporate-America employees with high levels of education. Many took unorthodox paths to be in the positions that they were. However, they were able to leverage their dedication and work ethic to get into their respective posts. I will carry those attributes with me when I go into the workforce.

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Published January 30, 2015