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 Kelley Mulfinger

Year: 2007
Concentration: Marketing

1. Tell us about yourself post-McIntire. How did you arrive at where you are now, and what drove you to it?

During my fourth year, with a double major in commerce and art history, I suddenly realized that I didn’t want a typical marketing job. I wanted to be challenged and out of my comfort zone. Most importantly, I wanted to interact with others throughout the day to make a tangible, positive difference. As a result, I accepted a position with Teach For America (TFA), teaching first-grade students in a high-poverty, inner-city Atlanta school. Soon thereafter, I moved on to teach in Africa as well.

Teaching in a lower-income community in Atlanta, I discovered that there are inequalities in access to quality education, as well as inequalities in access to quality health care. My students constantly suffered colds, ringworm infections, and lice, for lack of proper hygiene and access to proper medical care. Because of this observation, I became more interested in health care and spent the second half of my teaching year training to learn HIV/AID education so that I could teach the topic the following summer.

My experiences as a teacher in inner-city Atlanta and in Africa crystallized my desire to pursue a long-term career in medicine. Upon returning to the United States, I immediately took action and began working towards my goal of becoming a doctor by enrolling in a pre-medical post-baccalaureate program at Agnes Scott College. Serving as an assistant to a doctor at Peachtree and Pine homeless shelter in Atlanta on a weekly basis since fall 2010 has further opened my eyes to the opportunities to make a meaningful, positive difference in the lives of others through medicine.

2. What is the most important lesson that McIntire taught you that prepared you for “the real world”? How do you use this in your current role and day-to-day life?

As a teacher in Atlanta, Tanzania, and Uganda, I put to good use many skills I learned at McIntire. Specifically, I felt extremely prepared to organize material, research and write lesson plans, and collaborate with more experienced colleagues. Most importantly, I felt confident in presenting lessons to my students in a clear, concise, and engaging way.

3. Who was your favorite or most influential professor at McIntire? Why?

I really enjoyed George Sampson’s arts administration class that was offered as a joint A&S/McIntire class. This class was particularly interesting because it delved into topics at the intersection of my two majors. Specifically, I learned real-life business skills (e.g., fundraising, development) that could be applied to the arts world, which proved incredibly helpful when I worked as the Head of Development for the Akilah Institute for Women.

4. What is the one piece of advice you would give to this year's McIntire graduating class and third-years?

The best advice I received happened when a minister came to my classroom on career day. Instead of telling my first-grade students to become a minister like him, he asked them what they loved to do and told them they should pursue a career in which they are doing things they enjoy on a daily basis. No one had ever said that to me, and I would encourage McIntire students who are pursuing their first jobs to really think about what will make them happy.

5. What is your favorite outside-of-work activity that fulfills you?

I really enjoy being active—I’ve run a few half marathons and my first full marathon recently in Paris. I also love to paint and do hot yoga.

6. Whom do you admire? Who best embodies your definition of success?

As cliché as it may sound, my parents embody my definition of success. While they are very different in many ways, they both have taught me by example the importance of working hard, maintaining my values and integrity, and always genuinely treating others with respect and dignity.

Lightning Round:

1. What is your favorite book?
I have two: The Giving Tree, by Shel Silverstein, and Leaving Microsoft to Change the World, by John Wood.

2. What was your favorite childhood television program?
“MacGyver” and “Saved by the Bell”

3. What are your favorite memories on Grounds?
The Lighting of the Lawn was one of my very favorite things I looked forward to every year.

4. If you could have any superpower, what would it be?
The ability to transport myself anywhere in seconds.

5. What is one of your favorite quotes?
“I wake up every morning determined both to change the world and have one hell of a good time. Sometimes this makes planning the day a little difficult.”—E. B. White