Engaging Minds, Transforming Lives
Senior Stories
Lauren Kjolhede

Beep...Beep...Beeeep! It's 7:43 a.m. and Lauren Kjolhede's alarm is going off. Normally, Lauren takes life as it comes, preferring to relax and trust her instincts, rather than follow a strict formula. But, when it comes to waking up in the morning, she says, "I have a thing about getting up on a '0' or a '5' ... I just can't do it."

However, as a chemistry major and varsity soccer player, Lauren was most successful when she would go with the flow and remember that most of the time, she knew what she was doing. "It's funny that I chose to major in chemistry, which relies on specific formulas, because I chose Southwestern specifically for the less rigid liberal arts atmosphere," she says. "A liberal arts education is less specialized. It allows you to be ready for anything, and it provides so many connections across disciplines."

Putting her philosophy into practice at Southwestern, Lauren quickly became involved in the campus community as a member of the Pirate women's soccer team, and was active in organizations such as Colleges Against Cancer, Student Foundation, Fellowship of Christian Athletes and the American Chemical Society. She was also a Student Ambassador and a head resident assistant.

Forced to slow down due to a knee injury and subsequent surgeries, Lauren came to know and appreciate the physical plant employees because they gave her rides around campus. When not being shuttled in a golf cart, she says she had to "walk so slowly that it gave me time to really get to know people." Not surprisingly, Lauren used those connections to embrace Southwestern as home.

Because she cares about everyone around her, Lauren is headed to a career in health care. The summer before her junior year, Lauren participated in a summer health studies program--in Spanish--in Santiago, Chile. The experience solidified her desire to be a part of the Doctors Without Borders program after completing medical school.

Currently, Lauren is completing a master's degree in medical sciences at the University of North Texas Health Science Center, and will start medical school in the fall of 2012. Outside of school, she stays busy in the community by volunteering through a medical sciences community service organization. Lauren says, "SU really prepared me for the complexity of my graduate classes. I have simply had to adapt to the quantity of material we are expected to learn and know, so it has been a relatively smooth transition."

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