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2013–14 GOLD Scholars

Michael Nelson ’16

Michael loves the challenge of reaching new heights—whether scaling the climbing wall or in his future pursuits. “I want to develop my own leadership and empowerment institute.” In doing that, he hopes to teach people three things “how to discover their passions, develop a strong sense of empathy and expand their emotional intelligence so that they can both ‘know thyself’ and know how to better work with those around them.”

An economics major from Centennial, Colorado, Michael comments that he had originally thought he might become a tech entrepreneur. “My first year, I began a startup with a small group of freshmen that ended up getting us second place in Hamilton’s Annual Pitch Competition.” An internship with a small tech company, however, helped him realize another direction. “I still want to be an entrepreneur, but it is a must that I’m working towards something with a clear social goal. I want to help people, and I don’t think I’ll ever be happy in a job where profit is the only agenda.”

He has found a special mentor in Assistant Director of Outdoor Leadership Sarah Jillings. “Sarah, like many Hamilton faculty and staff, knows how to listen to students and help them find what they are passionate about. ... When a student comes to her for support, she helps them realize the steps they should take for their own personal journeys and understand why following their heart is more valuable than following a norm.”

A member of the Hamilton Outing Club and the Levitt Leadership Institute, Michael has had ample opportunities to prepare for the future he envisions. “My biggest take away from Hamilton is that success comes from pursuing something that excites you. And that’s why every day I try to continue reinforcing/redefining what I’m excited about.”


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2013–14 GOLD Scholars