Our Stories

Learning How to Make Her Own Space

Accelerator helps aspiring social entrepreneur see new possibilities

Lauryn Poyser
Investment Banking Analyst, Goldman Sachs

Vanderbilt Accelerator 2018

One of the lessons that Lauryn Poyser took from her freshman year at Colgate is that “it is more powerful to make space for yourself than to ‘fit in.’” That led her to think about where, down the road, she would like that space to be, and that thinking continues to evolve. While she plans on working in the corporate world after graduation — before pursuing a joint degree in law and public policy — Lauryn doesn’t see herself staying in just one industry or on one career track. Ideally, she says, she’d love to become a social entrepreneur and to own a for-profit company that connects pro bono lawyers to people who cannot afford legal advice.

At this relatively early stage in her college career, she chose to apply to Accelerator because courses in business fundamentals aren’t offered at her small, liberal arts university during the academic year. In addition, she says, “I liked the idea of being able to put theory into practice — not only learning business fundamentals but applying them in a supportive setting.

Like many Accelerator students, Lauryn found the experience to be “transformative.” Not a day of the program went by, she recalls, “that I did not write down a note or quote that sparked a new idea that I would like to incorporate into my routine.”

But she also found Accelerator to be transformative in ways that went beyond new skills and knowledge she gained. The program opened her up to a world of new possibilities. “As a rising sophomore, hearing about all the opportunities that I didn’t knew existed before Accelerator ignited a special kind of motivation in me,” Lauryn says. “When I hear about the paths that Accelerator alumni took after their Accelerator experience, it reassured me that I, too, can pave my own path — one that, to some, may not follow a traditional route but that feels right to me.” In other words, she is discovering how to make her own space.

Fun Fact: On her own initiative, Lauryn is studying Swahili.

“Not a day went by that I did not write down a note or quote that sparked a new idea that I would like to incorporate into my routine.”