STUDENT PROFILE: A Success Story Who Looks Out for Others25 Nov 2019 To senior Ben Lawson, his economics major means more than textbook learning and an attractive career. It’s personal.Lawson’s attraction to the subject came from real life questions. “The gist of it really stood out to me,” he said. “Why will my parents work 40 to 50 hours each week and still have difficulty paying the bills?“I wanted to get to the bottom of what’s going on—wage gaps, inflation, the difference in the earnings of men and women, and by race.” This semester, Lawson is studying women in the global economy.Lawson and his family currently live in Dudley but are originally from Worcester. Lawson’s family came to Dudley just in time for him to attend Shepherd Hill Regional High School, and it’s there that the trajectory to his college success took shape.“When I came to Shepherd Hill, I had a low GPA,” Lawson admitted.But getting involved in the school’s Upward Bound Program, which focuses on college readiness, and joining the football and track and field teams, made big differences in his life.When Nichols offered him the best financial package Lawson chose to enroll as a commuter, which proved more difficult than it sounds. “Freshman year I didn’t have a car or a license,” he said. “So, I walked 30 minutes to make it to my 8 a.m. classes.”This spring, Lawson will become the first college graduate in his family.“It’s amazing. I have three younger siblings and they’re talking to me about college,” he said. “I get to set the example and to set the bar high.”Along the way, Lawson has taken a host of leadership positions at Nichols, largely devoted to the college’s younger students. He serves as the vice president of the iconic campus organization Men of Distinction, where the largely African American members are mentored by peers and work at success in college and the larger world.“I get to teach these students, help them grow, and facilitate their taking on new responsibilities,” he pointed out.That’s also been his approach as captain of the Nichols Track and Field team, for which he runs the 100-yard and 4x100-yard events and also competes in the triple jump.“It keeps me grounded and focused,” Lawson said of his captaincy. “It puts me in a position to teach the younger athletes, from proper techniques in the weight room to good sportsmanship.”Not that he’s neglected his elders. “I’ve been helping my parents get started with a life insurance plan and with investments,” he noted. “I couldn’t have done that without economics.”Learn more about other amazing Nichols College students on our Profiles page.