Hometown: Hamden, Conn.
Major: Political Science
WCSU Degree: Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science in Political Science
Internships: Patient Financial Services office at Yale New Haven Hospital
Activities: SGA senator, SGA vice president of finance, SGA finance committee member, residential assistant in Pinney and Grasso halls, Pinney and Grasso hall councils, Judicial Board member, National Society of Collegiate Scholars, Black Student Alliance events coordinator
Honors and Awards: Dean's List twice, Honors Student Organization, Honors Council, Pi Sigma Alpha - National Political Science Honor Society
Sheldon Poole had "an amazing high school experience" that could have landed him almost anywhere, but he ended up at Western and he's glad he did. Poole graduated from Hill Regional Career High School in New Haven with a concentration in business. "While in high school I played varsity baseball for four years, was a member of the Academy of Finance and the National Honors Society. I also began working at United Shoreline Federal Credit Union during my junior year as an intern and eventually became assistant manager." He graduated 17th in his class and was recruited and accepted by universities including Central Connecticut State University, the University of New Haven, UCONN, Seton Hall University and about eight others for academics.
"WestConn was and still is affordable," Poole says. "My brother graduated from here in 2007 and my two sisters both went to sister state universities. I intentionally came here to play baseball and join the WCSU Honors Program, but after an injury during tryouts, I found new interests in campus involvement. Joining the Honors Program was probably my best decision ever, and I have WestConn to thank for it."
Poole says he decided to major in political science because there are so many negative connotations in politics. "Many people feel that it is only politicians who are either Democrats or Republicans but there are a plethora of other political and economic ideologies that I wanted to understand. The reason I chose to major and minor in these two fields is you cannot have one without the other. Many decisions made in our everyday life and in state/country capitals are based on the politics and economics of a situation. Money does make the world go 'round, but politics are the rules that define how the money can and cannot be spent."
Somehow, Poole managed to complete all his studies here in three years. "I really did not decide to graduate in three years, it sort of just happened," he says. "I was lucky; I got to WestConn and hit the ground running. I met the right professors and colleagues and we all drove each other intellectually and personally. After all of the things I have accomplished at WestConn, it seems time to move on. WestConn has offered me opportunities I would have never dreamed of and now it is time for me to move on and allow other students these same and even better opportunities."
One of those professors who inspired Poole to aim high was Honors Program Director Dr. Chris Kukk. "He was my mentor from the first conversation I had had with him," Poole says. At one point in my freshman year at WestConn, I wanted to be him due to his background and job history. Every day and every class, Dr. Kukk continuously challenged me to become a better student, a more in-depth thinker and a better person — and I thank him every chance I get for that. I also found a mentor in Honors Program Assistant Michael Fraser, who will be heading to Syracuse in the fall. Mike was there to pull me out of my depression when things did not go the way I had hoped on the baseball field. If it were not for Mike, I would not be the person I am today. Lastly, my co-Executive Board member on the SGA and friend Kevin Freyer, who is like a brother now. All of our success does nothing but make the other work harder. He was my RA freshman year and once I joined the SGA, he kind of took me under his wing."
Asked what he will remember most about his Western experience, Poole says, "Meeting His Holiness the Dalai Lama and attending both of his talks about compassion was the most memorable moment for me. I have never been in such awe in the presence of another human being. Also the fact that many people see this man as a god, and yet he still has the sense of humor of a normal person and sees himself as a normal person really changed my life."
Poole plans to attend law school in the fall. He has applied to Quinnipiac University’s College of Law, UCONN College of Law, Hofsta Law, Northeastern Law and Michigan State Law. "I am currently waitlisted at QU Law and Northeastern Law and have yet to hear back from UCONN, Hofstra or Michigan State," he says.
Poole’s advice to new students entering WCSU is: "Figure out what you want to study as soon as possible. Rather than let graduation and four years creep up on you, plan ahead and make decisions that will make your life and stay at WestConn less stressful in the long run. Also, find that mentor who pushes you to be a better student and person, and pick their brain for every single thing they know. Lastly, get involved. The clubs at WestConn have so many connections to future employers and phenomenal people that it is scary. WestConn has the opportunities but it is up to you to seek them out."