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BY [Domonique DAVIS]

The Story of

Ferrisa

CONNELL

Stressed about how she would be able to afford her classes, Connell took a leap of faith that would eventually change her life and the lives of many others. “I had to think of a hustle,” Connell said. “I didn’t want to go back home to Tampa because I knew I would just fall into that place where you just find a job and work there for the rest of your life never doing anything more. So, I applied to what seemed like every internship there is and I finally got one.” That summer, Connell sought out her first of many internships, but began feeling discouraged after facing numerous rejections because she was only a freshman. Eventually, Connell obtained a paid internship with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service through a partnership with the Student Conservation Association, where she was given the opportunity to work at an office in Alaska. “That was my first initiation into what internships were,” Connell said. “From then on I was just in work mode like, ‘What can I do next?’ So, through campus ambassador programs and doubling up on internships each semester, I’ve completed 19 internships.”

Connell said that seeking paid internships was not only financially beneficial, but also helped her to tap into her passion for helping other students and showing them how to navigate the college experience, including introducing them to the companies that she formerly interned for. Now, Connell has turned her knack for nabbing competitive internships into a consulting business, Internsation, helping to connect hundreds of students with professional work experience opportunities by strengthening their resumes and conducting strategic internship and employment searches on their behalf. While running her company, the socialprenuer still manages to stay active in student government, work in student media, plan numerous empowerment conferences, and obtain internships for herself. Though it’s rare to catch Connell on campus without a big smile on her face, heading to class or networking at an event, she said her journey to earning

her degree hasn’t always been easy. In particular, Connell refers to 2015 as the year of “discomfort.” Last year, Connell suffered from two family tragedies that rocked her to the core. After mourning the death of her slain cousin in January, Connell’s seven-year-old niece died in a car accident in May. “Nothing mattered. I wasn’t thinking about school, I wasn’t thinking about internships, I was just thinking about my family,” Connell said. “Funerals either bring people together, or they expose brokenness, and this time around, for us, it exposed brokenness.” Merely a week prior to the accident, Connell had accepted a summer internship opportunity as a counselor with Kids Across America. While navigating through one of the most emotionally trying times of her life, Connell decided to complete the internship.

Looking back, she said it was one of her most rewarding experiences to date. “The day after the funeral, I was on a plane heading to my internship,” Connell recounted. “Though my niece was taken away, I was able to work with girls from 14 to 18 years old who were just as broken, who were going through so many different things.” As she prepares for graduation and to enter the workforce, Connell said her vision for her future is becoming even clearer. Through her work with Kids Across America, Connell said her true purpose was revealed — working with women and youth from urban communities. “I used to always say, ‘I want to help people.’ I didn’t know how, but I knew I wanted to. Being at FAMU has really helped me focus on what matters most -- using your talents and experiences to uplift others,” Connell said. With her time at FAMU coming to an end fall 2016, Connell said she is proud to have made a difference. And as she transitions to the next chapter of her life, she stands ready to impact as many lives as possible. “Going through everything I’ve been through this past year, I’ve learned that life is about more than material things, it’s about what you can do for others,” Connell said.

A&M MAGAZINE // SPRING 2016 // 33

Profile for FAMU Communications

Spring 2016 A&M Magazine  

In this issue of A&M Magazine we tell the story of FAMU’s rich tradition of empowerment. Our cover story, “Planting Hope,” chronicles the...

Spring 2016 A&M Magazine  

In this issue of A&M Magazine we tell the story of FAMU’s rich tradition of empowerment. Our cover story, “Planting Hope,” chronicles the...