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Devon Carlson ’20

Devon Carlson

Donor Q&A

Tell us about your Dickinson experience. 

I graduated (virtually) in May of 2020, with a degree in political science and educational studies. I loved my experience at Dickinson—I made lifelong friends, took fascinating classes, and grew academically and emotionally during the past four years. I made it a habit to push myself both in and out of the classroom: I double majored, took classes completely out of my comfort zone, joined a sorority, led my a cappella group, studied abroad and more. I really wanted to take advantage of all that Dickinson had to offer, and because of the small and supportive nature of Dickinson and its prestigious faculty, I was able to do so in such a rewarding way.  

Can you speak to how Dickinson’s useful liberal-arts education impacted your life?

I feel prepared to enter a wide variety of industries. I have found that I am able to think critically about the world around me, write succinctly and effectively, and articulate myself thoughtfully, all of which I can apply to any future career. Especially with the uncertainty that the coronavirus has brought to our professional and personal lives, it’s comforting to know I will succeed in whichever career path I choose because of my liberal-arts foundation.

What inspired you to give to Dickinson as a student and now as a recent graduate?

I am a double legacy (my dad graduated in '89, my uncle in '99), so Dickinson has always been a huge part of my life. I also participated in the Presidential Fellowship last summer, so I met with almost 50 other alumni to talk about why they loved (and often gave to) Dickinson, and how their four years deeply impacted their professional and personal lives. Unsurprisingly, Dickinson has meaningfully touched and shaped so many lives, and I am no exception. I wanted to and will continue to give back to the institution that made me who I am today.

Why did you decide to join the Mermaid Society, and why do you feel that it is important to give back to Dickinson?

Philanthropy has been a huge part of my upbringing, and it was further emphasized during my time at Dickinson. My parents instilled in me the importance of giving back, so I want to get into the habit of giving back to the places and organizations that mean the most to me. The activities and organizations I treasured most during my time on campus continue on, thanks to generous donors. When I give, I try to designate my contribution toward enhancing the college in some way, whether it be for scholarships, more recently the Emergency Response Fund, and for specific student activities that will create a more inclusive, well-informed student body.

What is your favorite memory from your time at Dickinson?

My experience studying abroad was one of my favorite experiences from my time at Dickinson—I spent my junior spring in Bologna, Italy, and I had the opportunity to travel throughout Italy and across Europe while exploring what Bologna had to offer. Through the Internship Notation Program, I completed an internship at several high schools in the city center of Bologna, assisting in English classes and facilitating a conversation club with Italian students. That experience confirmed for me that, one, I wanted to pursue a career in education, and two, I wanted to travel as much as possible.

Can you tell us about what you do for fun?

I have taken the time during these past few months to volunteer for causes that matter most to me: I’m writing grants for a nonprofit that gives students from low-income backgrounds one-on-one coding tutoring. I’ve also phone-banked for Democratic candidates around the country in toss-up districts and states. In my free time, I watch soccer and baseball with family and run with my dogs.

What advice would you give to incoming students?

Get involved! There are so many ways to immerse yourself into life on campus (even if it’s virtually, at first). I tried out many different classes and activities so I could figure out the majors and extracurriculars that I actually wanted to continue with. I’d also say that if you don’t get something the first time, keep trying—perseverance and hard work will get you to where you want to be.


Published January 11, 2021