University senior reflects on getting the most out of college experience

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Lauren Reed (right), senior in LAS, and friend Michelle Rudin (left) in front of Busey-Evans Residence Hall. Reed says she is excited about graduating in May but is also nostalgic about her experiences at the University.

The thought of another school year ending brings relief and joy to many students on campus. For another group of students, it brings feelings of nostalgia as they prepare for a major milestone in their lives: graduation.

Lauren Reed, senior in ACES, is among this group of reminiscing students. She said one of the reasons she chose to attend this university was because of the beautiful campus.

“I really liked the campus layout with the Quad and all the buildings,” she said. “I also really liked seeing the campus because of the people and the diversity.”

Apart from aesthetics, she was also attracted to the variety of programs the University offered. She began her freshman year in DGS, but the wide variety of majors and minors the University offered allowed her to explore her interests and declare food science and human nutrition as her area of study.

Reed said a major part of her college experience she will never forget is working alongside professors in experimental research. She has worked with Naiman Khan, a postdoctoral research associate in kinesiology, as well as Brenna Ellison, assistant professor in agricultural and consumer economics. Her involvement in the experimental research assessed cognitive development in children and physical consequences of dining hall food on activity level.

In addition to research experiments with professors from her area of study, Reed has also worked on honors projects for classes that do not pertain to her major. She collaborated with Eric Snodgrass in ATMS 120: “Severe and Hazardous Weather” and has also completed an honors project for her psychology class.

“I love exploring new realms and learning about different subjects, even when they are not directly linked to my major,” she said.

Reed also stressed the importance of time management.

“I always try to have a good balance between my studies and social activities,” she said.

Reed has been on the bowling team for three years and considers it an important social component of her college experience.

“My bowling team is essentially like a smaller family, and it’s very fun to form connections with people from different majors,” she said.

In fact, Reed continues to foster these relationships through her continuing dedication to the bowling team.

Reed’s former teammate Cara Grabowski, a graduate student in NRES, has known Reed for almost four years. She said the two have forged a strong friendship.

“Lauren is very hardworking, wholehearted and funny,” Grabowski said. “She is also very helpful and has recommended a lot of classes to me.”

Michelle Rudin, student in nursing and Reed’s friend and roommate of three years, shared similar sentiments.

“She is the perfect roommate,” Rudin said. “We always study together and help each other out. I am really going to miss eating chocolate chip muffins while watching reruns of ‘Friends’ with Lauren.”

Reed said she plans to go to Lewis University in the fall to earn a master’s degree in health care management.

“I want to do something different with the degree and apply it to solve real-world economic problems associated with agriculture,” Reed said.

Reed said she is interested in pursuing a career in international nutrition. She hopes to someday travel to low-income nations with nutritional deficiencies and help develop programs to combat economic problems related to insufficient diets.

“I hope to one day be a part of the World Health Organization and accomplish my goals,” she said.

From being a member of Alpha Lambda Delta and Phi Eta Sigma, to researching critical studies alongside professors, Reed feels she has already accomplished so much.

“I have learned more than I ever imagined at the University of Illinois, and I am very excited to start my journey in the real world.”

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