Episode Notes | Episode Transcript | AskTheGuest

 Hi Fives (5 Highlights)   2-Minute Listen

Carson Crochet is an amazing student entrepreneur. Carson is a graduating senior at Davidson College majoring in German Studies and Arab Studies.

Her mother’s illness motivated her to start Cancer Buddy (CA’Buddy) - as a way to raise money for cancer research. Her venture just won $25K in the Nisbet Venture Fund competition organized by the Hurt Hub.

In addition, Carson was involved in the College Crisis Initiative, did immersive Arabic studies in Amman, Jordan, and was part of the Bridge Builders to help kids from under-resourced communities.

Hi-Fives from the Podcast are:

  1. Overall Experience
  2. Why Davidson?
  3. The Classes
  4. The Hurt Hub Impact
  5. Advice to High Schoolers

Episode Notes

Episode Title: Carson Crochet on Davidson College: German Studies, Arab Studies, CA’Buddy and The Hurt Hub.

At 14, Carson started carrying an Invention Book in her backpack to doodle & jot down ideas for innovation. If she got bored in a class, she would escape to her invention book to think of problems and come up with solutions.

Carson Crochet is a graduating senior at Davidson College majoring in German Studies and Arab Studies. Carson started the CA’Buddy venture at Davidson.

In particular, we discuss the following with him:

  • Choosing Davidson College
  • Entrepreneurial Pursuit & The Hurt Hub
  • Majoring in German Studies, Arab Studies
  • Advice to High Schoolers

Topics discussed in this episode:

  • Introduction to Carson Crochet, Davidson College [0:50]
  • Hi Fives - Podcast Highlights [1:52]
  • Overall Experience [4:34]
  • Why Davidson? [6:06]
  • High School Interests [8:03]
  • Transition to Davidson [10:45]
  • The Classes [13:58]
  • Active Campus Life [16:16]
  • The Hurt Hub [21:37]
  • How did The Hub Help? [23:55]
  • The Hub Impact [28:10]
  • The Business - CA’Buddy [30:00]
  • Summers [33:10]
  • COVID Impact [37:00]
  • Post College CA’Buddy [43:58]
  • Advice to High Schoolers [45:37]
  • Memories [46:55]

Our Guest: Carson Crochet is a graduating senior majoring in German Studies and Arab Studies at Davidson College. Carson is building CA’Buddy. She recently won the $25K award in the Nesbit Venture Fund Pitch competition at The Hurt Hub.

Memorable Quote: “But if there is any part of you or an itch inside of you, that is questioning perhaps what you major in, or what sort of environment is best, I would just say, explore that and go to a place where exploration is really encouraged.” Carson’s advice to College-bound High Schoolers.

Episode Transcript: Please visit Episode’s Transcript.

Similar Episodes: College Experiences


Episode Transcript

Transcript of the episode’s audio.

Carson 0:15

So my business is called CA’Buddy, which stands for cancer buddy. It is essentially a care package company that provides a plus treatment body to cancer patients while donating a portion of profits back into insufficiently funded cancer research. I originally had this idea as a way to solve a problem in the sense that my own mother was diagnosed with a rare brain tumor that hasn't been researched and there is no cure for it.

Venkat  0:50  [Introduction to Carson Crochet, Davidson College]

That is Carson Crochet, a graduating senior at Davidson College majoring in German Studies and Arab Studies.

At the age of 14, Carson started carrying an Invention Book in her backpack to doodle & jot down ideas for innovation.

If she got bored in a class, she would escape to her invention book to think of problems and come up with solutions.

In high school, Carson was the President of the Anatomy Club, volunteered at the animal shelter, played lacrosse, and loved to paint.

Venkat Raman  1:29

Carson joins us on our podcast to share her experiences at Davidson College & The Hurt Hub.

Before we jump into the podcast, here are the High-Fives,  Five Highlights from the podcast:

Carson  1:52  [Highlights - Hi Fives]

[Overall Experience]

I would say that the best thing that I know I'm walking away with after graduation is the community that I've built and have been with.

[Why Davidson?]

So when you apply to Davidson, you have to answer the question why Davidson as one essay, and you also have a peer or friend from high school write a recommendation for you. And this was the only school I applied to that asked for those two items. And I really liked that.

[The Classes]

And I love the liberal arts teaching system, especially my one of my classes, my freshman year only have five students in it. And that was my German course, instead of being able to be especially in a language course where there's not that many students like you learnt a lot and you practice a lot. And you're really you're really known and that helped me just I think change from the high school mindset right.


[The Hurt Hub Impact]

The beginning, I used to say that The Hurt Hub, with its grants and student outreach enabled me to take an idea and put it into physical practice, which has been amazing. But since then, the hurt hub is honestly the place in the community and the people that I will miss the most when graduating.

[Advice to High Schoolers]

There is any part of you or an itch inside of you, that is questioning perhaps what you need you're in, or what sort of environment is best, I would just say, explore that and go to a place where exploration is really encouraged.

Venkat Raman  3:32

These were the Hi5s, brought to you by College Matters. Alma Matters.

Venkat Raman  3:43

Now, I'm sure you want to hear the entire podcast with Carson. So without further ado, here is Carson Crochet!


Venkat Raman  3:52  

So we wanted to spend some time today talking a little bit about your Davidson experience, your experience as an entrepreneur, a student entrepreneur at that, and how The Hurt Hub has been instrumental or helpful along that journey. So I want to cover a fair amount of ground here. So maybe we should just get started.

Carson  4:14  

No, of course I'm ready. Okay,

Venkat Raman  4:17  

so maybe let's start with a little bit of your overall impressions. So far with Davidson. I mean, you're coming to the end of that journey soon, right?

Carson  4:28  

Yes, I'm graduating this May.

Venkat Raman  4:30  

Yeah. So tell us a little bit about that.

Carson  4:34  [Overall Experience]

Awesome. Well, I have had a pretty grand experience at Davidson thus far, excluding COVID as that was a hard time for all college students. I would say that the best thing that I know I'm walking away with after graduation is the community that I've built and have been with dances. I feel like it's been really intentional about that starting that our first week when we get God here. There There's just a lot of programming done for first years. And so I've been able to meet a lot of people. And I still have a lot of the same friends and more that I met during my first week of school, which is crazy to think about. So that's my favorite. And now as I'm about to graduate, I'm also learning what the alumni network looks like. And I've interacted with so many different alum, and have been able to start to build community of where I'll be moving afterwards that are also Davidson students or former Davidson students. So that's really cool. I would say that was really hard was COVID. And the being in a place where academics are a priority for most people, and then having to be sent home and do class online, in an already pretty stressful environment. That was tough. But I would say I think a lot of students have felt that across a variety of different places.

Venkat Raman  6:00  

Maybe you could share why you picked Davidson and why did you end up going there?

Carson  6:06  [Why Davidson?]

That's a good question. I actually was looking the other day through one of my essays, I had a summit. So when you apply to Davidson, you have to answer the question why Davidson as one essay, and you also have a peer or friend from high school write a recommendation for you. And this was the only school I applied to that asked for those two items. And I really liked that. And I remember like writing my essay, there was a superficial level of Oh, I could go to Davidson and be a Wildcat. I've always wanted to have my mascot be a cat, but is that there's a lot of traditions that every Davis and Wildcat is familiar with. For example, the Honor Code is very important on our campus. And I loved hearing and knowing about that, in the sense that you can walk in the library or the dining hall and see that in place and people leave their stuff everywhere. And trust, there's so much trust in this community. But I also knew there were really fun traditions, we have a cake race every year where the community, a neighborhood surrounding Davidson bake cakes, and all the freshmen race around campus. And depending on how you place you get a choice of cake, the dining hall goes out for they cook these like magnificent cakes that could go on Cake Boss or something. So that was a big part of what first engaged my interest in Davidson, just wondering how there was this overlap between community in the school. And then when I did hang out with some students. But when I was touring, I realized that like volunteerism is really big, and a lot of individuals here morally stands and care for something. And I feel like they're just talking with you as the students, you get that impression right away. So I really liked that as well. So that kind of led me to choosing Davidson.

Venkat Raman  7:58  

What were you like in high school? What what kind of things interested you?

Carson  8:03  [High School Interests]

Yeah, so up to, up to the point of me deciding to go to Davidson.

In high school, I was a very science and math heavy student, which is really interesting given where I am now. So I came into Davidson thinking I was going to be a biology major in high school, I was president of the anatomy club, I was taking a lot of different high level science courses. I had a huge interest in animals. So I spent a lot of time at the local animal shelter, and I volunteered at the zoo all throughout high school. But I was also an athlete, I played lacrosse, and I was very social, with my friends and many interests in terms of hobbies, such as painting. And innovating. I would say I had a little invention to walk on the side all throughout high school. So that's been pretty constant. But yeah, I came into high school with this interest. And some of them I kept in some of them I totally changed.

Venkat Raman  9:02  

So um, no, that's that sounds awesome. I mean, tell us a little bit about the invention book that you'd mentioned.

Carson  9:09  

Yeah. So I would say since I was maybe 14. I've always been big in doodling in journals and writing in journals. In one day, I almost combined them by drawing pictures of like innovations and inventions that I could do in my surroundings. So for example, when I was 14, I adopted a bearded dragon. And if you don't know what that is, it's a lizard. Large Yeah. And my bearded dragon actually was missing a leg. So as a rescue bearded dragon, and I remember sitting in my room one day and looking at my lizard and thought, why don't I build it a prosthetic leg.

And I started by doodling what that would look like and then big and then started writing about it and my ideas down and eventually that became my high school science fair project, right did in fact build a prosthetic foot and arm? For my little bearded dragon? Yeah, it was really fun. Um, but that's a great, great example.

And so throughout high school, I would always keep a journal in my backpack. And if I got bored, which did I'm not going to lie commonly happened in my classes, I would go in my own world, I would start finding issues and problems and think of ways to fix them. And then that would go in my book if I thought it was good.

Venkat Raman  10:27  

Wow, wow. That's pretty creative way of approaching it. Excellent.

Venkat Raman  10:36  

you come to Davidson. And how was that transition from high school to Davidson?

Carson  10:45  [Transition to Davidson]

I'd say the biggest transition I had at first, which I already somewhat mentioned, was that I did come in as a intended bio major. And I remember sitting in my first bio class and thinking this is absolutely not for me, it was an environment that I just didn't felt like I fit in fit into in terms of it was just basic bio, and the how I want it to be discussing and debating and learning about others around me, but said, we're learning about biology, which is the point. And so that kind of first is when I realized that maybe I didn't have my entire plan figured out yet. Yeah, that was tough. But at the same time, I was taking a variety of classes. So my freshman year I took a religion class, called God loves sex, it was about sexuality in the church, I took biology, I took beginner Arabic, as I had right before I graduate high school, gone on a trip to Egypt, and was super interested in just learning the language because it was beautiful. And that was simply a. And then I also was taking a German course on, I believe, as on migration, but taught in German. And in the diverse amount of courses I was taking, and having experiences my ball biology course, I was uprooted and what I thought I wanted, but then quickly found what I liked. And those were languages and learning about a new culture. And that's what drew me to my eventual mate, my eventual majors of German Studies and Arab Studies. So I would say that transition was a little, it wasn't too bad. Given that it's okay to make a lot of change and change around in a liberal arts setting. I would say the other great thing about coming to Davidson is we have an outdoor pre orientation program, where you go with a group of incoming freshmen on an outdoor trip for about a week, and you get to know some upperclassmen and also your new peers. And so I had done, it's called Odyssey, I had done an odyssey backpacking trip. And so before the start of school, I already knew students that were I was going to see on my first day, and given that it is a small school, you will run into these individuals in the dining hall, at least some point within your first week. And so that made the transition into a new community where I knew absolutely no one and to community where at least I knew a few people. And that was that was really great. Um, I would say a lot of students at Davidson come from all over we do have a group of international students and students from the east, the North, the West, the South. And so that was really nice, just trying to find similarities that weren't just based on location, whether that be through interest or views online for what our summer plans were. So it was really easy to meet everyone because everyone was coming from the same place where they didn't really know anyone else there.

Venkat Raman  13:52  

So how were the classes? How were they? How was the teaching? How were the professors? How was that transition?

Carson  13:58  [The Classes]

I was really impressed when I walked into my first class, it was an ATM. And we had students that were first years and also students that were senior sitting in that class. And I remember being so just taken aback that it didn't really matter what age or experience you had, especially for more of these entry level courses. But it was open to everyone. And that was really made clear in the classroom to like there was no judgment on whether you had been in college for four years are only four days. And I felt that from the professors. Given that it is a small liberal arts school, you are taking small classes. So the most of the professors that I had my freshman semester, I still see around and they know me by name today. And so that was really nice, just as a transition to know that there was someone that was not just a student, but that was looking out for my future that knew who I was. And I love the liberal arts teaching system especially My one of my classes my freshman year only had five students in it. And that was my German course. And so to be able to be, especially in a language course, where there's not that many students, like you learnt a lot, and you practice a lot, and you're really, you're really known, and that helped me just, I think changed from the high school mindset, right was bored easily. And like I was saying, I was wasting my time to fill in left out if I were to ever miss a class and feeling that my voice was actually heard and actually needed and that if I were to learn, I'd have to be there and buy in and give totally in order to learn. So I really have nothing to complain about that transition, especially coming from high school. And even four years later, I would say the older you get, the more niche your classes become, you begin to know more individuals that are on a similar track as you but still, then you'll be a senior sitting in a class with a first year. And there may only be seven people in that class or 20 people and you'll get to know so many different types of people. So that's something that I've really, really enjoyed.

Venkat Raman  16:11  

Tell us a little bit about the dorms, and then all the different activities you were engaged in.

Carson  16:16  [Active Campus Life]

Of course. So Davidson is on. It's not that large, we only have 2000 students in our student body, and majority of students live all four years on campus. So immediately next to our academic buildings, you have dorms are predominately first year dorms. And then the next set of dorms would be sophomores. And as you move further away from that main central, I would say just like hub of academic activity, you go further away in dorms what your your so I currently live in a senior apartment, which is the furthest distance, I would say it takes me at most seven minutes to walk to the library. Large and it's really nice though, because just living on a campus, you get familiar with faces. And there's a coffee shop on campus that everyone frequents, and students work at the coffee shop. And there's one main dining hall. And so you see when you ever whenever you eat in the dining hall, you'll see a variety of different people you know, and it's a really easy place that I would say if you want to be alone, you can be you can go Take your own time in the library. We have a nature preserve that has miles and miles of hiking and cross country running, saying go out there and take a break. We have a lake, a Lake Campus, which sits on Lake Norman, you can go there and sit by the lake. But if you also want to be with people, there's a variety of different places, whether in our Student Activities building in the coffee shop, and the social floor of the library, even hanging out in the grass in front of our main academic building chambers. You can really go anywhere and not be alone. We're also situated right on Main Street for David cents. And if you've never been or have heard of Davidson, North Carolina, it is a adorable quaint little small town. I like to say that I sometimes live in a fairy tale living on the spot. There's a cute little shops and food and retail stores. There's a really low amount of chain stores such as there's no McDonald's or Chick fil A like in downtown Davidson, you will have to drive to a neighboring small town if you want that. But I really like it. It is such a community and is such a distinct place. I do remember going there's a coffee shop on Main Street where I was there one day and an alum that lives in the area recognized my Davidson sweatshirt and started talking to me. And it's things like that where you do feel like you're living in the community but you're also a college student. But outside of that I'll hit your when I was involved with clubs, social activities question. I came in my freshman year interested in everything. There's an extra piece fair at the beginning of the semester, and I signed up for I would probably say 20 clubs, there are reservations clubs, I was in club lacrosse, and I decided to join Club climbing. I did club crew for a little bit. Then there's also like there's a bee team where you can go and take care of bees. There's a farming group. Really anything you can think of we probably have it here. I predominantly stay up to Davidson outdoors, which is the largest, this largest club but also as our outdoor recreation. I also joined the Honor Council my freshman year so that is a student elected group of individuals where if someone breaks the Honor Code, you figure out what happens in that situation. And that is based on the code uplifting that individual uplifting the code itself, but it stands for and also uplifting the community. So as a freshman that was incredibly humbling to be on and see the inner workings of what honor actually means on this campus. Yeah, I also became a tour guide, which our tour guides are a volunteer base position, but really desirable, just because you're advocating for the school because you want other people to know about it, and to come here because it is a really meaningful and cool place that promotes a lot of growth and exploration. So that's also where I put a lot of my time. And on top of that, I think the best thing about Davidson with there being so many activities and clubs, you can join in a small campus where doesn't take much time to navigate is that you can dip and choose where you spend your time. So I remember jumping in between a lot of different religious clubs, and exploring that and between some different cultural clubs. And especially as I tried to figure out my studies, I like would go to an anthropology club meeting or I'd go to like Middle Eastern Northern Africa, Students Association, clubs of that nature as well, which is really cool.

Venkat Raman  21:12  

So I guess it's not a surprise that you found the Hurt Hub, and started doing some interesting stuff there. So tell me a little bit about, you know, how you got into this whole idea of innovation, entrepreneurship, and all that, and how the Hurt Hub has been sort of part of that.

Carson  21:37  [The Hurt Hub]

So I originally, well, for those of you that don't know, because you have not been on our campus, the hurt hub is a building that is situated about a five minute walk off of campus. And it's in a really old warehouse used to be a part of a cotton mill. And so there's exposed brick everywhere and really cool beams in the ceiling. But there's also whiteboards and colorful seating and technology just everywhere. And it's a space where students can study anytime a day, and have rooms and computers to use. But it's also a space where entrepreneurs from the community have co working or have their own offices, and a variety of events are out there. So I began going as a freshman to just study in that space, it was such an energizing space of all the colors and everyone working around you. And then from there, I started learning of more of the programming. And I would say even like grants and events that I could attend, that had to do with innovation, going to the school where there's not a business program of any sorts. I remember being surprised by that. But I did see how it was almost this bridge between the students and the community. Because you could go there and you could ask, you could apply to be a mentor with an entrepreneur in the area. Or sometimes I would be at the coffee bar, and the hurt hug getting coffee. And someone would walk up and ask me, like, what are you studying as a student? And then I would ask, well, what's your job? What are you working on here innovating? And through that you just hear a lot of cool ideas and passions that come out of that. So I've been familiar with that since I was a freshman. And slowly, I wouldn't say became more involved, but saw how the hurt hug grew. Especially during COVID. That was a really great space to go and study as well. Just as it wasn't, I don't know, your standard library, your piece of scenery.

Venkat Raman  23:45  

What How did you get involved further? What kind of things did you bring to Hurt hub that they helped you with? Maybe?

Carson  23:55  [How did The Hub Help?]

Oh, yes. So I think I'm trying to figure out how to say this. I was aware of the different opportunities financially with the herd up. And that was the predominant idea on my radar when it came to being a student trying to innovate with all these great ideas. So when I was a sophomore, I had this one invention that I don't even remember entirely HOW IT function, but it was essentially this mess free. Bug by itch. Whiteman applicator, and I had this idea, and I applied for this grant, and I didn't get it. My idea wasn't really fleshed out. It wasn't tested. I also wrote the grant on last minute, but this was my sophomore year. And I knew that if I had an idea that I was fully bought into it, and I loved and I thought I had a lot of growth that I should take this opportunity as a student to apply for this grant again before I graduate, and that is what I did. That wasn't my main intention though. I mean up with my own small business, which I'm have now started, and am launching soon. And so with that I had this idea over the summer. And I didn't know if it was a good idea. And so I contacted the hurt hub. And so I'm like, Hey, can we have a zoom call, I have an idea. I want to see if there's any way the hurt hub can help me. And so Kevin Cook, who's basically in charge of student engagement, reached out to me and we had a phone call. And he thought my deal was great. And he immediately connected me with all these resources. He said, I'm available for questions, here's someone else, you can ask with questions. Here's a grant, you should apply for to get off your feet, which is called the Triumph Fund, which is essentially $1,000 to help you get started, however you want with your mentor. And then he also connected me with links and more resources to look into as I grew this idea to see if I wanted to create something with it. And that was, I would say, my first like, dive into truly been a part of the heart hub. Since then, I fully don't understand actually everything they do, because they do so much. The student I've been able and any student can do this, whether you have a venture startup or not, is they have these classes and workshops that you can attend for free. So community members also attend them, they generally have to pay a fee. But it's a really diverse group of individuals from different stages of life, different stages of entrepreneurship, or business coming together to learn something. So this past semester, I had enrolled in a lean startup class. Yeah. So this was a eight week, Wednesday night course, where people came in with ideas, all at different stages, whether just thought of, or in pre launch variety. And we just met every Wednesday and had an instructor and learned all about the idea system between having a lean startup. And there's also workshops that you can go to I know there's a fundraising and campaigning workshop that's been taught in a few weeks, there was a business Canvas model workshop recently. And activities such as this are open to all students, and it's always free. And I love that it's inclusive in that way. But also you can meet community members, individuals that are older and have had a lot of the experiences you're about to go through. So there is not Yeah, there's that community aspect. There. Also, I don't want to say it's a meetup, but there are times where there's a meet and greet, or where one select entrepreneur will give a pitch or even a presentation that you can go and attend and just meet these people. It's really a great place for networking, and learning. Which is it's awesome. It's just not like a it's a space, but it's a space for a variety of groups of people.

Venkat Raman  28:03  

So how is it making a difference for you? What do you think, How do you think it has impacted you?

Carson  28:10  [The Hub Impact]

So from the beginning, I used to say that the Hurt Hub, with its grants and a student outreach enabled me to take an idea and put it into physical practice, which has been amazing. But since then, the hurt hub is honestly the place in the community and the people that I will miss the most when graduating. It has become a space where I am there so frequently, and have so many questions, especially with Liz variogram. She's the director. And she's one of the she's my main mentor. And so we meet quite commonly. And I always can ask or say whatever I'm thinking or doubting or feeling or wanting to perhaps try and I'm always met with really great feedback. On top of that, though, the not the Hurt Hub been seen familiar faces that are outside of the student body has been really great because I can transition from being a stress student in the library, to being a business owner in the heart hub. And that has been amazing in terms of just my own mental health of there's a space you can go where you don't always feel like you're a student, but you can be an adult in this Davidson community as well. And so yeah, I would say that how it's made a difference for me has been the biggest in boosting my confidence as a business owner allowing me to ask questions since I don't know anything about running a business and being alongside me as I learn the entire way, as well as connecting me with the resources that will really helped me out.

Venkat Raman  29:53  

So what is this business? Are you able to share or are we...?

Carson  30:00  [The Business - CA’Buddy]

I can share, I knew we would get there eventually. So I didn't want to. Um, so my business is called CA'Buddy, which stands for cancer buddy. It is essentially a care package company that provides a plus treatment body to cancer patients while donating a portion of profits back into insufficiently funded cancer research. I originally had this idea as a way to solve a problem in the sense that my own mother was diagnosed with a rare brain tumor that hasn't been researched and there is no cure for it. And the only way that I could seem worth wild anything do it, the only thing that I could see worthwhile doing for her would be fundraising to some extent and making a change. But the same time, I'm a college student in a different state, I was away from her and I was missing this vital moment where she was going to treatment and I just wanted to be by her side. And that's where I came up with the idea to give a plush treatment buddy to her to be with her when I come in and to support and love her when I cut it. And additionally, as a business, I know that millions of others are experiencing the exact same thing that I am. And to make this actually attainable and accessible. And for other college students that can't afford to send an $80 bouquet of flowers brought me to this idea. And so that's essentially confetti. Um, the main star is actually a naked mole rat. And so if you are unfamiliar with that neck, and Mora is a hairless little rat that lives in burrows underground. And so not only are they hairless, which is generally what most chemo patients experience throughout the treatment process. But naked mole rats, they're also known to be resistant to cancer and are used in biomed. Research today in discovering that overall cure for cancer. And so that's just really important. The whole message and identity of my business CA'Buddy.

Venkat Raman  32:09  

Sounds really great. How's your, How's your mom doing?

Carson  32:13  

She's doing actually really well. Thank you for asking. It's been a really emotional experience, as I'm sure you can imagine. But having also this really cool and fun idea to talk to has been a really cool, I would say distraction to some extent, but also cool thing to talk about, because if this hadn't have happened, we wouldn't be even closer. And we're really close, honestly talking like I call her and it's always something good to update her on with your body. So it's been a good change of scenery. And yeah, she's doing really well, though.

Venkat Raman  32:51  

That's good to hear.

Venkat Raman  32:56  

Did you, what do you do the different summers? How did you? Did you do more Inventing and innovating or did you...? Yeah. Were you able to do some internships outside of campus?

Carson  33:10  [Summers]

Yeah, so I'll start with my first summer. My freshman year after I had taken Arabic My first semester, and then my second semester, I took a gender studies class focusing on the Middle East. I was really intrigued about becoming an Arab Studies major. And I was talking to the Arabic professor, and she told me, Hey, there's this study abroad program we have funded by Davidson, why don't you go study Arabic immersively. And when you come back when you decide if you still want to be a major, and so that's what I did. I went to cossitt, which is an Arabic teaching school that's in Amman, Jordan. And a few other days since students went as well, it pulls from students all over the nation. And so that first summer, I was studying abroad in Jordan. I also came back and was a trip leader for that pre orientation program, Odyssey. And I led a camping trip for some incoming first years. And so that was that first summer. And then I decided to be an Arab Studies major, of course, um, the next summer, I had gotten a grant to do research in Germany. So I was actually studying abroad when the pandemic broke out, and I had to leave Germany to come home. And I cannot use that grant or do that research as the pandemic was still happening. So instead, I talked to some individuals at Davidson. And there was an organization called Bridge Builder, Charlotte, which is an interfaith organization that was innovating during COVID. And it's really funny as I'm thinking about this now, but the project I was put on, was creating these boxes that were being delivered to different kids, especially From under resourced communities to learn and engage with different religions. So they're essentially like crafts boxes or their little crafts you can do in games and there and different things you could read. That's really funny those almost like a care package. Yeah, exactly. Yeah, I hadn't even realized that. But so I worked for this interfaith nonprofit that summer as an intern. It was predominantly remote work, but it was still really engaging. And I was able to be financially supported through a grant at Davidson for that. And then this past summer is when I came up with an idea for Cook, buddy. And I was interning at a church in Chicago. And I had gotten this internship through the chaplains office here at Davidson. So there's something called the congregational fellowship. And it's meant for individuals that could go into the ministry, but aren't quite sure if that's a fit for them. And so I went to church to basically discern if I want to become a pastor or not. And so that's where I was this past summer. And that was also funded through Davidson as well, which is really great. I will say, if you're looking for abroad, summer abroad, experiences or any summer experience, Davidson, is really good about grants and funding for allowing anyone from any economic background to do that. And so that's what I was doing this past summer. And that's when I came up with kabaddi.

Venkat Raman  36:31  

Awesome, awesome. So you've had a pretty eventful for years now. And we haven't even talked about COVID yet. So.

Venkat Raman  36:46  

I mean, I understand the impact, from a school point of view, how did you handle it? And what, what kind of things did you do to sort of keep stay positive, if you will.

Carson  37:00  [COVID Impact]

Um, I would say the COVID transition was quite different for me, as I have heard from other students here at this campus, but also my friends in college elsewhere. I was physically in Berlin, Germany, when the pandemic began, I was supposed to be studying abroad for 11 months. And I'd only been there for about four weeks before. The talk about going home and borders closing, and everything forgotten. And so that was a really weird transition to see from a foreign country that Davidson and all the other universities in America had been shut down, and everyone was sent home and moved to school online. And here I was in Germany, our university didn't even begin until April. And we were supposed to leave in March before we even begun school. And so that was tough just in itself being told one day that I could stay because because I had a visa to stay there a long time. And logistically, it would work out for me to stay. But then there's the threat of borders closing and the study abroad program I was on also had a liability. So I had to leave. And that was crazy. getting on a plane landing in Atlanta, where I'm from, I mean, the CDC come on the plane in hazmat suits. And like using the temperature little gun device on everyone's right. So that was pretty, I thought the world was in danger. And also, I was disappointed that my study abroad got cut short. So the transition for me did look a little different. I came home and had a quarantine. But I didn't have class to go to for two more weeks versus all my friends were all everyone was transitioning to that online world. So instead, I ended up getting a few different jobs. I spent that summer and that semester of quarantine is what it's called just working. I was doing jobs remotely. And then I also picked up some jobs in the food industry. That was just such a work shortage that it wasn't. So that was bad. I will say though, when it comes to Davidson and that experience, because I was removed from that transition, given that I was studying abroad. So I was going to the German university and doing that remotely, eventually. There were some ways though, that Davidson tried to engage students and I remember one of them being the art professor. I haven't even taken art but the art professor reached down said, Hey, you're interested in being in a remote art club this summer. We'll send you some art supplies fill out this form. And I did and I remember opening, getting a package one day it was this huge box of just canvases and paint and all of these materials and I hadn't done art since I was in high school and Then I got on a zoom call with this professor and just students from all across campus. And we did art that summer. And it was just essentially, I would say almost a therapy group where once or twice a month, we would jump on a zoom and show her artwork, but just check in and see how people were doing. And these were people that never met before. And that was, that was something big for me. I picked up a lot of hobbies when those been painting because of that art kit been sent to my house. Also, cooking became really big on my house as it everyone rethread. But then I also worked and got that interfaith remote internship and everything there. So that's really what I would say COVID looks like for me, which is interesting. I would say something else I haven't mentioned is that because of COVID, one of my professors that I that I had had started something called the college crisis initiative. And it's a group that researches how different higher ed institutions reacted to COVID. Now that research is being turned more towards not being sent home because of COVID. But what is the vaccination status needed or the mask mandates? And so over that summer, that Professor reached out to me and he said, Hey, because of COVID, I started this initiative. We're trying to research schools abroad, you speak German and Arabic, can you help us research schools in those regions? And I said, Absolutely. And that was, I would say a silver lining for sure was, I was able to work at dish additionally remote with that, but since then, CTI has become C twice short for the college crisis initiative. I has been a place of constant income as a student worker here at school, but also a fun group where I'm not an education major or minor. And data research is not my specialty. But I am able to engage and work with all these higher institutions and do this research. And it's been really cool.

Carson  42:00  

And also the crossover where I can research in German and Arabic when I first started, it was awesome. So that was something else that came up during the pandemic that was Davidson related. And that has stuck around because CTY is now a full fledge organization. And it's still going right now. And so that's been also really cool. But I wouldn't say it was easy. I think everyone experienced, you know, mild depression and not being able to interact with others and missing your communities and not feeling productive. And online school is not the same, especially at first when professors are learning how to use Zoom for the first time. Yeah.

Venkat Raman  42:41  

No, no, but it sounds like obviously, in that situation, though, you were able to stay productive and do things that were uplifting and inspiring, and also more energizing, at least for you, and hopefully for others.

Carson  42:59  

And I do remember during that time, I am generally optimistic like you can probably tell that from listening to this. But I do remember working I was working in a bakery and one day one of my friends and I we created this whole taco truck idea what we would name it and all these different recipes we come up with. And then I remember another time just going on a hike and just being like, wow, I never would have this opportunity to spend a whole Tuesday outside hiking when I should be in school right now. But classes a synchronous, so I can. So there's definitely good things that came out of that that. No, I would never have done as a 20 year old before during that stage of life.

Venkat Raman  43:51  

I'm sure you're looking forward to graduating and onto your next. Do you know what you're going to do next?

Carson  43:58  [Post College CA’Buddy]

That's a great question. I have an idea. Yeah, so I could buddy is my love and joy right now. I would love to continue that as a business. It will be a side hustle for a while but hopefully my full time job financially. I am also a semifinalist, currently for Fulbright, which is a English Teaching Fellowship in Germany. So I'm waiting to hear back from that. And I'm also applying to jobs in the nonprofit sector. I would love to go into nonprofit management. With my end goal being I would go back to grad school and a few years, something I do really enjoys a lot of students here take gap years to either work or travel or figure out more what they want to do for the rest of their life and if grad school is actually the answer for them, and so I'm gonna do that as well and I'm excited for that. I don't have a job lined up. I don't know if I'm doing Fulbright. I don't know if I'll get into a startup accelerator. So there are a lot of I'm blanks right now. But I'm excited for it for sure.

Venkat Raman  45:05  

Well, think of it this way, there are lots of opportunities and I'm sure something or one of them, or many, maybe many of them will click. So it's going to be for you to pick. So good luck had really good luck with all that. And I'm sure it'll turn out great.

Venkat Raman  45:25  

You've obviously had a very rich experience here at Davidson. What would you tell aspiring students, students who were in high school who are in high school right now?

Carson  45:37  [Advice to High Schoolers]

Yeah, I would say, if you know what you want to do, and where you want to go, follow that. But if there is any part of you or an itch inside of you, that is questioning perhaps what you need you're in, or what sort of environment is best, I would just say, explore that and go to a place where exploration is really encouraged. I certainly found that here at Davidson and enjoyed being able to jump in between different majors, like starting out as a bio and going to aerospace studies is an entirely different ballgame. But I do think, going to an institution and finding a place where there are different different channels that you want to explore whether that be business or perhaps history, and seeing what's really well rounded for what you think you want to experience is what I would recommend.

Venkat Raman  46:40  

Okay, so as we wind down here, Carson, any anything you want to share maybe a memory tradition or something from Davidson that you want folks to hear about?

Carson  46:55  [Memories]

Yeah, I think this is a oddly specific example. But when you come to Davidson, you have to do the Myers Briggs test. And they use that test to match you with a roommate. But then they also have career counseling sessions, according to your Myers Briggs strengths. And they also have lectures where you can learn how that test should and shouldn't be interpretated. And throughout all of that, um, my roommate and I repaired and our freshman year, we're still roommates. Now it's been four years, she's one of my best friends. And I think that is one of my favorite memories is being paired with her and later realizing I think I completed the Myers Briggs test wrong. So I actually don't have the correct Myers Briggs that they that I tested for coming in as a first year. And just kind of looking back and thinking about that reaffirms how things change. And you also don't know, you don't have to know exactly who you are when you come in, because I would never never imagined that I'd be in the place I am today. I'm about to graduate with the routes I'm about to go down. So I would say that.

Venkat Raman  48:08  

That's pretty funny. Okay, well, such as life. So hey, Carson, thank you so much. This has been really truly inspiring. And I think you're doing wonderful stuff. Love the spirit, love the energy. And I wish you all the best and hope you continue in this win. And sure I want to keep track of what you do. But for now take care. be safe. thank you.

Carson  48:34  

Awesome, thank you.

Venkat Raman  48:36  

Yep. Bye


Venkat  48:32  [Close]

Hi again!

Hope you enjoyed our podcast with Carson Crochet about Davidson College & the Hurt Hub.

Carson is an amazing student entrepreneur who had rich college experience despite COVID interruptions.

Her mother’s illness motivated her to start Cancer Buddy - as a way to raise money for cancer research. Her venture just won $25K in the Nisbet Venture Fund competition organized by the Hurt Hub.

The Hurt Hub mentorship, the community and funding opportunities really helped her venture grow.

In addition, Carson was involved in College Crisis Initiative, did immersive Arabic studies in Amman, Jordan, and was part of the Bridge Builders to help kids from under-resourced communities.

I hope Carson’s experience motivates you to research Davidson College for your undergraduate and entrepreneurial pursuits.

For your questions or comments on this podcast, please email podcast at almamatters.io [podcast@almamatters.io].

Thank you all so much for listening to our podcast today.

Transcripts for this podcast and previous podcasts are on almamatters.io forward slash podcasts [almamatters.io/podcasts].

To stay connected with us, Subscribe to Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts or Spotify or visit anchor.fm forward slash almamatters [anchor.fm/almamatters] to check us out.

Till we meet again, take care and be safe.

Thank you!

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