Business at Moore brings opportunities, makes dreams come true

Attending Business at Moore while she was in high school was more than a summer camp experience for Aerialle Crawford; it changed her life.

Crawford, who earned her undergraduate degree from the University of South Carolina in 2013, is now interning with Boeing in Long Beach, Calif. In December, she will earn her master’s degree in human resources from the Moore School.

During her junior year of high school, she misplaced a packet of information one of her teachers gave her about Business at Moore — a five-day summer program that accepts 30 outstanding minority students from across the country. Within the same week, the university had mailed a personal application packet to her home in Mullins, South Carolina. Crawford saw this as a sign to apply.

At Business at Moore, rising seniors in high school get the opportunity to explore the world of business through classes and activities.  The students learn about essential areas of business and how to work as a team. The program staff includes Moore School faculty, students and Business at Moore alumni.

Tom Hughes, the program’s director, says the students receive faculty guidance and education in the various disciplines of business and conclude the week with entrepreneurial presentations.

“The opportunity to live and work together fosters many friendships and associations, which long outlast the week here,” Hughes says.

Crawford says she realized the impact the program had on her during the last day of camp when she cried. “It was a week, but it changed my life and it made me want to do more,” she says. “It made me not only believe in myself, but want to be supportive and push others to chase their dreams.”

Crawford was the first member of her family to attend college, and she credits Business at Moore for this opportunity. At Carolina, she received the Business at Moore scholarship, which is granted to five to eight students who attended the program and have outstanding academic achievements.

“The program not only enabled me to see my potential, but financially, provide me sustainability to be the first in my family to go to college,” she says. “Prior to that I was not planning on going to college at all.”

She also remembers feeling inadequate as a high school senior at the summer camp because of her background and upbringing. She even asked if she could go home early. Crawford reached out to Cynthia Parker, who still works for the summer program as the coordinator. Parker told Crawford that this is why the program was created, to give students like her the encouragement and opportunity to learn about business in ways that she had never experienced before.

Crawford has since returned to the camp several times to give back. This summer, she arranged a Business at Moore almuni reception and gave a workshop on personal presentation to the students, in memory of her Business at Moore teammate Dexter DJ Monroe.

Her experiences have inspired Crawford to start her own career services business, PINK Portfolio, to help prepare clients for the workforce. Crawford hopes to continue working in the field of human resources, with a focus on staffing, diversity and inclusion, along with corporate citizenship and giving back to the community.

She believes mentoring opportunities, similar to what she gained from the camp, are essential in educating minority students about the opportunities available to them. Crawford credits her own success to the mentoring she received both during and after the program from what she calls her “BAM family.”

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