Defining Moment

An entrepreneurship class brought all of Hallie Darphin's experiences and desires into a singular focus.

Editor's Note: Hallie Darphin was a runner-up for the 2016 CCCU Young Alumni Award.

As so often happens in college, a single class near the end of her time at Mississippi College in Clinton, Mississippi, showed Hallie Darphin how to unite her psychology major, her business and writing minors, and a semester-long experience in Uganda into a life-changing passion.

This particular class was on entrepreneurship. Darphin had just recently returned to campus after taking a semester off to work at a children’s home in Uganda, and she wanted to go into missions. As she went back to campus, her father encouraged her to consider getting a business minor. Darphin was initially skeptical about business, as in her experiences she had seen people choose money over relationships.

But her view on that quickly changed in the course of her studies; indeed, it was through the business entrepreneurship class that she found her calling. “The professor said, ‘Take a problem that you’re passionate about and solve it using business,’” Darphin says. “I had just seen this need for education funding and sustainability in Uganda, and was like, ‘Wait, we can solve that? We can fix problems with business?’”

The outcome of Darphin’s work in that class was Dot Products, a company that sells eco-friendly school supplies and helps educate children in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mexico and Tanzania. In addition to funding education, Darphin hopes to eventually move some of the production of the supplies to those countries in which students are being supported as way to help provide jobs for their parents.

“[Mississippi College] gave me the understanding, the knowledge and the practical application that allowed me to move from being a scared psychology major who felt [doing something like this] was impossible and instead say, ‘This is going to be hard, and I’m going to need a lot of help, but I can do this. And this is something I can do today instead of 15 years from now.’"

Morgan C. Feddes is managing editor of Advance.

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