Volunteer Spotlight: Michelle Vergara

Michelle Vergara grew up in Florida, studied behavioral economics at Stetson University, then moved to Washington D.C., whereupon she began volunteering with Learning Life in the summer of 2014.  Michelle and Learning Life founder, Paul Lachelier, overlapped at Stetson University over two years, but never met there.  Nonetheless, Paul and the rest of the Learning Life team are very happy to have Michelle on board as she ably helps us with planning, analysis and marketing.  Michelle kindly took a little time out of her schedule to answer the following questions about her.      

Thanks to Learning Life writer, Craig Gusmann, for help with editing Michelle’s profile.  

Where were you born?

Manila, Philippines

What did you want to be when you were a child?

I was an avid reader as a child, so I wanted to be a creative writer with the dreams of one day writing the novels that I loved reading. As I grew older (and more disenchanted) I realized I also wanted to make enough money to eat everyday and so I pivoted my ambitions to be a journalist.

Michelle VergaraWhat is your current occupation?

I’m a Sales and Marketing Associate at the Advisory Board Company.

What are your hobbies?

I like reading, museum-hopping, attending the finest and cheapest comedy shows and concerts that DC has to offer.

Do you have any secret talents?

In college, my main mode of transportation was via longboard. I used to be a huge longboard fan until I broke my wrist my freshman year. The longboard traffic also increased as frat boys also picked it up, and so I just avoided it altogether.

What talents or skills do you wish you had or hope to someday learn?

Bartending and making craft cocktails

What is your fondest childhood memory?

My favorite childhood memory was having sleepovers at my friend’s house. Her dad is an architect and her house was designed to have lofts and spiral staircases leading to multiple levels of the house. I was young, so I never really knew how big it was, but her house seemed like an endless adventure to me.

What is your dream vacation?

A jaunt across countries in Southeast Asia like Cambodia, Vietnam, and Thailand. And then a pit stop in Hawaii.

Are there any other interesting tidbits about yourself you would like to share?

I graduated from Stetson University (same university where Paul worked as a sociology prof), where I graduated magna cum laude with a BA in Behavioral Economics. I was the commencement speaker for the class of 2014, and while I can’t remember what I talked about to save my life, I’m sure there’s a video of me floating around somewhere. I currently live in Rosslyn, down the street from the Iwo Jima Memorial and the Netherlands Carilion. The first time I was in DC was a field trip my junior year in high school and I absolutely fell in love with the place. I loved the Metro system and how everyone was running all the time. I came back for a semester program at American University and I can proudly say that I now live and work in the DMV full-time.

What do you want to become in life?

I’m at the inevitable crossroads in my 20’s where I don’t really know what I want to be in life and I’m just trusting myself and the universe to know it when I see it. Right now, I work at the Advisory Board Company where I’m looking to work either as a business analyst or dedicated advisor in the higher education field. But in the long-term, I would like go back to school for an advanced degree in economics or business.

Why did you choose to volunteer with Learning Life?

I chose to work with Learning Life because it marries my two interests in start ups and education.