Fellow Spotlight: Barry Conrad, University of Oklahoma


Name:   Barry Conrad

Hometown: Louisville, CO

University: University of Oklahoma ‘12

Major: Finance


What led you to apply for Venture for America?

Each year I see entrepreneurially minded individuals give in to the pressures of post collegiate employment and accept high paying positions at highly structured corporations. While the immediate monetary payoff is significant, the lack of creativity and inspiration causes these individuals to lose their passion for innovation. Knowing this, I searched all summer for a position that wouldn’t box me in and, even more so, would allow me to be a part an organization with a social agenda I am completely aligned with. Venture for America was love at first sight (I guess I believe in that now), and I couldn’t be more thrilled to be a part of this incredible inaugural fellowship class.

What were you doing when you found out you were accepted?

My fellow University of Oklahoma comrade in arms Scott Lowe called me to inform me of his acceptance at around 2pm. I waited around anxiously for three hours until I had to board the train to Newark to catch my plane. I checked my phone before I entered a long tunnel knowing I would lose cell reception for a few minutes. Nothing. Upon exiting the tunnel I had a voice mail from Andrew letting me know the good news.

Now that you’re a fellow, what are you most excited about with regard to VFA? What do you hope to accomplish?

After meeting a good portion of the selected fellows at the interview I’m thrilled to be associated with such a talented group of individuals from around the country and I look forward to working with them over the next several years.

If you had to live one place for the rest of your life, where would you choose?

Galway, Ireland. Beautiful country, wonderful people, and rain 24/7.

Best thing about Univeristy of Oklahoma: A true sense of family and community within the student body. Also Blake Griffin.

Favorite Book: Harry Potter (obsessed), Catcher and the Rye, The Alchemist

Favorite childhood TV show: Rugrats

Favorite meal: Lasagna

Role model: My little brother Timmy

Favorite holiday: Christmas

Best class you’ve ever taken: AP US History (shout out to Mr. Farrell)

Favorite movie quote: “You’re my boy, Blue! You’re my boy.“ – Old School

Favorite thing to do on Sunday: Catch up on Bill Simmons podcasts

Favorite entrepreneur or start-up company: Entrepreneur: Mark Zuckerberg, Start Up: Square

Favorite cereal: Captain Crunch

Most worn article of clothing: A “Fear the Beard” shirt I got in San Francisco in honor of one of my favorite athletes, Brian Wilson.

Favorite sports team: Oklahoma Sooners Football

Best trip you’ve ever been on: Spent a weekend in Berlin. Fantastic currywurst.

Favorite historical figure: Adam Smith

Accomplishment you’re most proud of: 4×400 track team

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