For most college students, the week after graduation includes sleeping in, trips to the beach and catching up with friends.
Brandon Waller of the University of Richmond football team is doing the opposite.
Waller was unable to attend this weekend’s graduation ceremonies because he was on a flight to Myanmar in Southeast Asia.
Vacation? Trip with Friends? Not even close.
The Ardmore, Pa. native will be working with the DeBoer Foundation, a non-profit organization that he has been connected to over the past year.
“It was really an opportunity of a lifetime,” Waller said. “I just had to pass it by my mom because I know how important the graduation ceremony is to parents, especially, so I wanted to clear it with them, but no matter what my future holds, I knew this opportunity was something that I couldn’t pass up.”
Waller credits his relationship with Dr. Dan Palazzolo in the Political Science department with opening up doors that led him to this opportunity.
“We’re told how important it is to build relationships with our professors and at Richmond, it’s much easier because we have the classroom setting that allows us to do that,” Waller said. “I had a class my freshman year with Dr. Palazzolo and we’ve had a great relationship ever since, he’s one of my mentors on campus and got me connected for this internship with the DeBoer Foundation.”
Last summer, Waller not only spent time hitting the weight room, he also worked two jobs, an internship at OrthoVirginia four days a week and one day a week worked with the DeBoer Foundation.
Part of the mission of the DeBoer Foundation is a leadership academic in Myanmar, located in Southeast Asia.
Each year, the DeBoer Foundation selects forty fellows to go through leadership training that will teach them best practices through intensive personal growth and reflection and will allow these fellows to be citizen leaders throughout the country of Myanmar.
Waller will be a part of one of three yearly Fellow Events that bring together all forty fellows at once in one location. He will be in charge of organizing and the behind-the-scenes work at the event, while seeing first hand a different culture and hearing leaders from around the world speak to the fellows.
“I’ve never been anywhere close to this side of the world, so I’m excited to experience an entirely new culture while getting first-hand work experience,” Waller said.
Not only does it seem that Waller, who earned All-CAA accolades last fall, has a bright future on the field, but the double major in Political Science and Leadership, seems to have a pretty bright future off the field as well.