Fellows Teaching Fellows

Written by: Katie Noble

Who really knows how to make a stuffed pepper anyways? Find out how Justin Kopp, a recent alumni Fellow, was able to grow throughout his time in Orr Fellowship.

Learning does not end when you graduate. By accepting a position through Orr Fellowship, you’re accepting two years full of continued learning, a value the organization takes pride in facilitating.

For Justin Kopp, a Solutions Architect at Lev, the fellowship did that, and then some. While there are some great benefits to joining the fellowship, like stipends to spend on professional development, there are some perks that come by simply being a fellow. Kopp shared his experience of how his peers in the fellowship encouraged him to grow both personally and professionally. 

It started with, “I wasn’t very good at cooking” and ended with, “Now I can make stuffed peppers.” Truly revolutionary! 

One night a few years ago, when Kopp had first moved into his Indy apartment, Madison Parrelli invited him over so that she could teach him a new recipe. The pair had become good friends from working at the same partner company, Lev, and being involved in Orr Fellowship. While Kopp was nervous to cook, turning it into an experience made the process more approachable. 

After cooking the peppers, Kopp admitted, “it made it more of an event to learn something new. Especially when you want to meet new people, I felt like I could do something I had never really tried before.” Kopp found that cooking this healthy recipe has made him want to make some lifestyle changes. 

“I used to think I never had enough time to cook healthier meals, but once I tried this recipe, I realized I am more than capable of keeping a healthy routine in my life,” Kopp said. 

Kopp shared that during his time in Orr Fellowship, his peers kept him motivated in the workplace. He spoke to a conversation with Ally Low, where he was doubting how to navigate his new role. Kopp studied religion and Spanish, but his day-to-day role is focused on computer science. At first, the change had him feeling overwhelmed, so Kopp confided in a Fellow who had studied in his new field. She told him, “A lot of people are scared of computer science and they don’t need to be. You can do it, you are a lot smarter than you let on.”

Since Kopp had already looked up to her in many ways, he felt motivated that she saw his immense potential. Kopp had turned to articles and videos online, feeling discouraged that no one ever admitted: “this ‘computer science stuff’ is actually easy.” Thanks to her guidance navigating similar fears, Kopp adapted and figured out how to manage the learning curve in his new role. 

Upon completion of his two years in Orr Fellowship, Kopp was offered a full-time position as a Solutions Architect at Lev. He also serves as the head coach of the men’s golf team at Wabash College. Kopp has continued to leverage his experience learning from other Fellows as he navigates his alumni journey. When reflecting on his experience, Kopp shared “I have grown deeper connections with fellows because of the different skills I’ve been able to learn and share with them. I certainly miss the organized continued learning events already, but I know that I have a whole network of friends and coworkers that I can reach out to if I’m ever interested in learning a new skill. That community and those friendships are a product of Orr Fellowship that will stick with me the rest of my life.”

Orr Fellowship provides a unique community of Fellows who are there to teach you new recipes or get you through a difficult work patch. Life beyond post-grad can be a confusing and complicated time, but Orr Fellowship is lucky to learn together.