Spotlight on Social Sciences Alumni: Lauren Jewett
Occupation: Director of Scholar Supports, Pride College Prep
Education (UR and additional): BA (History and Political Science), University of Rochester, 2009
Current city/state of residence: New Orleans, LA
Community activities: Teach for America, member of Louisiana Running Company (local running club)
Why did you choose to attend the University of Rochester?
I chose to attend the University of Rochester because of its excellent academic reputation, the level of happiness and satisfaction of its students, and its proximity to my hometown. I felt that choosing the University of Rochester would provide me many opportunities to grow academically and personally.
When and how did you choose your major?
I was always interested in social studies in middle school and high school and it had been my favorite subject. I naturally wanted to continue studying history when I got to college, so I immediately signed up for an American history class and a political theory class during the first semester of my freshman year. I really enjoyed the courses and decided that I wanted to major in both history and political science. The University of Rochester’s flexibility in curriculum afforded me the opportunity to be a double major.
What activities were you involved in as a student and what did you gain from them?
As a University of Rochester student, I was a four-year member of the varsity cross-country and varsity track and field teams. I also served as a Residential Advisor (RA) for two years, worked as an employee at the campus bookstore for four years, and taught as a political science teaching assistant. All of these activities strengthened my ability to effectively balance time, learn the importance of teamwork, and represent the University of Rochester in a positive way.
Who were your mentors while you were on campus? Have you continued those relationships?
Many of my cross country and track and field teammates, especially the older members of the teams, served as really important mentors during my first few years on campus. I still stay in touch with many of them even though we have all graduated and went our separate ways. In addition, I still stay in touch with some of my professors from the history and political science department and visit them when I am on campus from time to time.
What did you do immediately after graduation? How did you decide to take that path?
After graduating from the University of Rochester in 2009, I immediately traveled to New Orleans as a corps member with Teach for America. I spent the summer training in Phoenix, Arizona and taught first and second grade special education in a rural parish just outside of New Orleans while working on gaining my teaching certification in Louisiana. I decided to take this path instead of attending law school because I have always enjoyed helping other people. I felt that I would immediately be able to impact others in a positive way through teaching and working with children and families.
What do you do now and why did you choose this career?
After completing my Teach for America corps commitment in 2011, I decided to continue working in education in New Orleans. I currently work as the Director of Scholar Supports at a charter school in New Orleans, Louisiana. I help oversee the entire special education department at my school and ensure compliance with local, state, and federal special education laws so that we are appropriately serving students with disabilities and special needs. I chose this career because my aunt has a disability and I feel that it is extremely important, especially in a school system that is in the midst of a great deal of reform, that children with disabilities and their families have someone who understands students’ needs and will advocate for them.
What advice do you have for current students?
Definitely take advantage of as many of the wonderful opportunities that the University of Rochester offers as you can. Study the things and do the things that make you the happiest. When you are happy, you will feel successful. These opportunities will make you a much better-rounded person and give you a better perspective on life.