Lauren Engels, Alma College
Lauren Engels, a senior Foreign Service major at Alma College, is a student leader committed to human rights, social justice and providing humanitarian assistance to women and children in conflict areas. On campus, she provides leadership as the president of Alma’s Student Congress, working with other student leaders to affect improvements to the campus. As co-chair of Alma’s Alternative Breaks program, she coordinates volunteer opportunities for students with organizations such as Habitat for Humanity and Ronald McDonald House. And, as president of Alma’s Amnesty International chapter, she facilitates human rights awareness campaigns. Her activities that extend beyond campus boundaries also are impressive, including volunteering in an orphanage in Uganda, interning in the Executive Office of the U.S. Mission to the United Nations in New York City, and assisting with the coordination of a Model UN Conference in New Delhi, India, as part of a U.S. State Department-sponsored public diplomacy initiative. She has conducted research and volunteered for communities in developing countries for extended periods. She plans to pursue graduate degrees in humanitarian assistance and international diplomacy and hopes to someday assist in writing U.S. foreign policy for emerging crises, focusing on humanitarian assistance.
-Jeff Abernathy, President
Listening to Dr. Hulme in my ‘World Conflicts and Problems’ seminar describe the current situation in Syria not only sparked my interest in international relations, specifically providing humanitarian assistance to conflict areas, but also motivated me to become civically engaged in my community. Hoping to deepen my understanding of humanitarian aid, I embarked on a life-changing experience — volunteering at Watoto, a childcare ministry in Uganda that takes in orphans and vulnerable women affected by violence and poverty. Teaching Peace-Deborah, a toddler at Watoto, how to walk after being tortured by her family, reaffirmed my passion for providing humanitarian assistance to women and children in conflict areas, as well as motivated me to raise awareness about social injustice issues. With the assistance of Alma’s Public Affairs Institute, I was able to organize the MLK Day Keynote Speaker address, bring my role model, Dr. Abuelaish, to campus to discuss the importance of empowering women in the Middle East through education. Additionally, collaborating with Student Congress, I have been able to install water filters around campus in order to encourage sustainability, as well as organize an Earth Day event, which includes planting trees around campus, creating a more environmentally friendly environment.