Having long, grown-out hair didn’t stop senior Brody Perrine from earning a two-year salaried fellowship after graduation.
Perrine is the recipient of the Orr Fellowship, a competitive program that gives graduates placements with various tech companies in the Indianapolis area.
He started applying for the fellowship in October 2016, and by November, he nabbed the position.
“Humility always tells me to err on the side of caution to think I won’t [get the fellowship],” Perrine said. “But based on the resume and the body of work I’ve put together here and what my professors have taught me, I felt really good going into every stage of it.”
The stages of the process weren’t easy. He had to send in a resume, complete a phone interview, meet with current fellows and executives of companies and write an essay and develop a personal statement in a 48-hour timespan.
To top it all off, on the final day, Perrine met with four companies and had four 45-minute interviews with each.
“They’re really intense,” he said. “Finalist day was one of the most exhilarating, difficult, fun days I’ve ever really had. I drank a couple Monsters and a few cups of coffee before I got started.”
Perrine compared the process to a “super long, drawn out sorority recruitment” because of its intensity.
“Every step of the way, the anxiety builds up and builds up,” he said.
It didn’t help that Perrine was nervous about the response to his long hair, which he is growing out to donate to either Wigs for Kids or Locks of Love.
“Looks to a lot of people are important, especially during a job interview,” he said. “If a company won’t hire me based on the way I look, that tells me the value of their company is kind of superficial.”
Luckily, the executives he met with didn’t think his hair was unprofessional.
“They were actually very welcoming and inviting on my hair, so that’s what kind of sold me on it,” he said. “One of the first comments made was, ‘Hey, man. I love the flow. I grew mine out in the ‘70s.’ It was awesome.”
Perrine’s grandma is diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer — a permanent Stage 4 condition. When she started losing her hair, Perrine said his grandma started to feel self-conscious.
He wanted to grow his hair out so a child doesn’t have to go through that same emotion.
“For me personally, to be able to help a kid out would mean a lot to me,” he said. “I’m growing it out for her and ultimately for someone else who can benefit.”
Perrine said being in the Greek community has helped him both in philanthropic efforts like this and also in his application for the Orr Fellowship.
“My experience in leadership in my fraternity house, bar none, really has prepared me for a lot of things in life outside of being able to interview and job ready,” he said. “It’s taught me a lot about how to be a gentleman, how to live with integrity and be honest.”