John McCall-Pitts is a current UAB student, in his junior year of studying business management. He’s also an alumni of Ramsay High School, where he finished in 2015. Eager to get started on his education, John started at UAB immediately in the Fall of 2015, entering with 8 AP classes worth of credit he’d earned in high school.
John is the youngest, and one of the founding members of Ed’s Junior Board. He joined because he liked the organization, and wanted to give back to the programs he’d benefitted from while he was a student at Ramsay. He remembers career conferences hosted at the Harbert Center that allowed him to start networking with professionals very early in his career. He also adds that his first experience on a board encouraged him to think more collaboratively. John says the Junior Board of Ed is his first look into what a board (and a board member) can do.
According to John, the networks he’s part of helped him choose his career path. In high school, he shadowed an executive and an architect through a program offered by JCCEO. He also completed an internship, which he says, “gave me good experience with someone who was able to take me under their wing.” John says one of his earliest mentors invited him as a high school student to the BBA’s investor meetings, which of course happened during school–he adds “with my principal’s permission.” He credits networking as a way he’s been able to learn: “one of the best things was starting to build my network so early, asking people ‘can you connect me with someone who can help me with this?’”
One of his biggest challenges is that John is involved in a lot of different things, which he says, makes him different from his peers. He’s not able to participate in some of the things his peers at school are active in, saying “I did kind of sacrifice that to use the leg up that I had in high school.” While he says he is very good at time management, “there’s only so much time..I still have to study, do classwork, and often, I have to say no to parties.” But, he says, he’s motivated by the feeling that he’s on the right path, “knowing what you’re doing is the right thing, kind of growing up before everybody else.” John also makes time for balance by playing music. He’s proficient in drums, piano, and bass.
In addition to his role as a founding member of Ed’s Junior Board, John also helped develop the Foundation’s pre-college programming in 2016, his first year of college. John helped develop programs that would allow his former Ramsay follow his path to schools like UAB. He says, “it was fun seeing everything that went into building a program, and seeing that, I was able to work more effectively in life.” He also says he learned “there are big differences between building a program, executing a program, and implementing it.” The program John helped build as a College 101 fellow was eventually offered for 9th and 10th graders in all 7 high schools. Building on his program work in Birmingham City Schools, John currently works with Regions Institute for Financial Education, helping younger students learn about topics in banking and finance. His eventual goal is a career in banking in finance with overall goal of being involved in entrepreneurship.