From his first days on campus, Dwayne Foster, ’12, knew he wanted to volunteer in the greater Richmond community.

He is one of many Richmond students who spend several hours each week in Richmond’s public schools. The reason, he says, is simple.

“I’m here because of scholarships. I’m here because my parents worked hard and were able to pay for me,” Foster says. “So I want to be able to do the same for others around me.”

Specifically, he works with middle and high school students through two mentoring programs. Foster estimates he’s on site for at least four to six hours each week between both programs — and that doesn’t include time spent planning and organizing.

At Henderson Middle School, Foster volunteers with Future American Men of Excellence (FAME), a program started by his friend Ron Pritchett, ’13, to provide positive role models to boys in middle school. He also mentors students at George Wythe High School through his fraternity, Alpha Phi Alpha. The men involved with both programs seek to help young males at troubled schools find a positive way forward.

“I think some people look at fraternities as nothing more than drinking and lounging,” Foster says. “But that’s not us at all.”

During his sophomore year, he helped establish Richmond’s Alpha Phi Alpha chapter, the University’s first historically black fraternity.

Alpha Phi Alpha’s mentoring program enables the brothers to talk to the students about the importance of academic achievement and of personal responsibility. For the high schoolers, there’s a special focus on preparing for college life or the workforce.

On campus, Foster keeps just as busy.

“From day one, Dwayne stood out as unique and special,” says Joe Boehman, dean of Richmond College. “He demonstrates dedication to the University through his involvements, such as the Richmond College Judicial Council, Alpha Phi Alpha, and mentoring young people in the community. He is truly an exemplar of a student who has made the most of his opportunities here.”

To help give back this year, he’s co-chairing his senior class gift committee.

“I wouldn’t be at Richmond without the help of others,” Foster explains. “So getting seniors to give right now and into the practice of knowing how important it is one of the most rewarding things.”

After graduating, Foster wants to continue giving back to the University, especially since he secured a job even before his senior year began.

Last summer, the Career Development Center (CDC) helped Foster prepare for interviews and secure a summer internship with the consulting firm Deloitte. There he worked in business development and researched new services the company could provide.

His performance led Deloitte to offer him a job after graduation. Foster credits the CDC and his interdisciplinary major — politics, philosophy, economics and law (PPEL) — as two key factors that made him an attractive candidate.

“Richmond is very big on thinking critically and writing very well,” Foster says. “Employers look for students who are critical thinkers, who can write well, who can express themselves well. And I think my major definitely helped me.”