Connor Flanagan, ’18, is a New York native with a small, liberal arts high school experience. He attended Regis High School in Manhattan and enjoyed its tight-knit community. Therefore, as he began his search for a college, University of Richmond was at the top of his list. The emphasis on the liberal arts, dedication to civic engagement through the Bonner Center and a strong business school led Flanagan to apply before he had the chance to visit campus.
Flanagan is a double major in finance and psychology. His dedication to civic engagement as an Eagle Scout led him to become a Bonner Scholar. Through the program Flanagan has been working with Envision the James, a partner-led initiative created in 2011 which is focused on conservation and recreation of the James River Watershed. His first major project with the organization was designing and implementing a trail maintenance and restoration project at Deep Bottom Park.
Since then, he has turned his focus to the long-term project of engaging the Richmond population with Envision the James. “I truly think the Bonner Center for Civic Engagement has helped me mature more than expected over these past two years. It has given me the opportunity to serve a population and in doing so reflect on where I fit and how I can serve the world,” Flanagan expressed.
Flanagan is only half way through his undergraduate experience, but has made the most of his time. The summer between his freshman and sophomore year he interned with Defy Ventures Inc., a New York based entrepreneurship training program for individuals with criminal histories. Defy’s efforts help former prisoners gain successful re-entry into the workforce by facilitating the creation of their own small businesses.
His role was in the program department managing each Entrepreneur-in-Training’s (EIT) process through Defy’s Entrepreneurship course. Flanagan also helped manage the EIT Business Pitch Competitions where each EIT competes in a ‘Shark Tank’ style pitch event. “Over the course of my freshman year, I wondered how I would incorporate my interests in both entrepreneurship and social impact work into my future career plans. My time spent at Defy gave me insight into working in a creative, thought-provoking environment. Furthermore, I was able to assist in grant research and writing as well as speaking to potential donors, both important skills for my future career aspirations,” he explained of his experience.
The Robins School of Business has helped Flanagan further develop his interest in business. “I have been able to rely on professors to advise me on career and networking choices. Q-camp has played an influential role in my life, allowing me to meet a current mentor that I now contact regularly,” he said. He hopes to work in the finance world for a few years before returning to school for a master’s degree and starting his own non-profit organization.
When Flanagan is not volunteering or studying, he serves as a member of the Richmond College Honor Council, men’s rugby club and Sigma Phi Epsilon Fraternity. Upon his return to Richmond in the fall, he will also be working as a Psychology Teaching Fellow. There is no doubt that Flanagan will continue to be successful in his final two years at Richmond.