A Christian Liberal Arts University, Est. 1846

Taylor Grads Thriving in Highly Competitive Orr Fellowship

  • By: Emily Kozlowski
  • Published: Dec 12, 2019 12:00PM

Have you heard about the Orr Fellowship Program? With an average acceptance rate of 6%, fellows are recruited from universities in Indiana and beyond. The mission of the two-year fellowship program is to equip recent college graduates with the skills and experience they need to build a foundation for each individuals’ success story. 

Last year, three seniors from Taylor were accepted into this prestigious fellowship in Indianapolis. Another Taylor grad, Katherine (Fritzeen) Wolgemuth ‘18 studied Economics during her time at Taylor and transitioned into the Orr Fellowship after graduation. 

Wolgemuth heard about the fellowship early in her senior year at Taylor. Her senior capstone class and other class presentations introduced Wolgemuth to the opportunity. With much encouragement from a close friend, Wolgemuth made a last minute decision to submit her application. She was invited to the first round of interviews and then the next. Wolgemuth said, “The doors kept opening and I just kept walking through them.” 

A Life-Changing Opportunity

The Orr Fellowship was described and explained by Wolgemuth in four words: career, curriculum, community, and commitment. These words provide a four-pronged look at what the fellowship has to offer.

Career: The Orr Fellowships partners with Indianapolis host companies where recent grads begin their first full-time career. Within each host company, Orr fellows participate in a rotational program which allows them to gain experience in different areas of the organization. 

Commitment: The program is a two-year commitment to an Indianapolis host company and the responsibilities within the fellowship. Fellows demonstrate commitment to their work and to their peers in the fellowship. 

Curriculum: The Orr Fellowship offers its own programming. Orr creates opportunities for networking, mentorships, and workshops on topics including diversity, mental health, and personal finance. 

Community: Orr Fellows join an instant community of about 100 people of the same age in the program. Fellows get to know each other well and build friendships with each other. 

The Orr Experience 

Working for her host company, Federal Home Loan Bank of Indianapolis, Wolgemuth is a project coordinator. From medium to large scale projects, Wolgemuth touches every project request that comes in and manages each from beginning to end while focusing on process development and improvement. Her work often involves managing timelines and stakeholder expectations. Although each day may not look the same, Wolgemuth uses communication and relational skills daily and works with new people on a regular basis.  

On top of the experience Wolgemuth has gained from her host company, the Orr Fellowship opened the door to numerous opportunities for involvement as it is a fellow-run organization. Wolgemuth is a co-leader for the mentor family program within Orr. She explained that this program helps make the fellowship feel smaller starting out and breaks it up into little “families” like how Taylor has wings within each hall. Wolgemuth also built the project management team for Orr and was part of the recruitment team early on. 

Takeaways From Taylor 

The community and curriculum components of the Orr Fellowship are Wolgemuth’s favorite aspects of the program. She said, “I have some really incredible friends in the program that challenge me and make me want to do more and dream bigger. All of those people have been incredible to be surrounded by in such a new and unique season right after college.” The Orr Fellowship has given Wolgemuth opportunities to learn and has exposed her to things she didn’t know she’d be interested in. 

Taylor prepared Wolgemuth very well for these diverse components of the Orr Fellowship. The liberal arts curriculum has exposed her to all sorts of majors and classes that she may not have taken by choice. Wolgemuth said that she gained so much knowledge and so many skills from her liberal arts education that have been very useful in the long run. She believes that Taylor helped give her a grounding sense of purpose in her work beyond making money or climbing the latter. Taylor’s philosophy of ultimately doing everything to honor and glorify God was instilled in Wolgemuth during her time in college and has greatly benefited her experience as an Orr Fellow.