The John Fraser Ramsey Premier Award: Derek CarterBy Paige Henderson | 04/01/2015 10:39pm
Derek Carter, a junior from Joplin, Missouri, has been awarded the John Fraser Ramsey Premier Award for his academic and philanthropic performance. CW | Amy Sullivan
Carter said he was very happy to get the award and join the “Ramsey family,” a group of past winners that Carter said he heard from almost immediately after winning.
“It really is like a family, they have been so nice and welcoming to me and when I first won the award, I got about 40 emails the first night. This is something that I’m going to carry with me for my whole life; being apart of this group of people who are honoring John Ramsey, who was such a remarkable individual,” he said.
Carter began working in Marion, Alabama, last fall through the University’s 57 Miles program, a program that engages UA students with the citizens of Marion in hopes to improve the quality of life there.
Eventually, he moved to Marion to deepen his commitment. Carter still commutes for classes two days a week, but most of his time is spent working on economic development and job training projects.
“I currently work with a group of juniors in high school trying to help them figure out their post-graduation plans, and figure out how to get jobs,” he said. “That has been really meaningful for me because they’re in the same situation that I am. We’re both juniors, just at a different stage in life.”
Bob McCurley, an honors college and law professor, has taught Carter each year. McCurley said in 30 years with the University, Carter is one of the most impressive students he has seen.
“He is goal oriented with a sense of urgency, and he’s not afraid to fail. That is my definition of a leader,” he said.