For many college students, class time is the busiest part of their day. Class seems
like a break, however, to Southeast Missouri State University junior Lauren McNamara.
Lauren, of Breese, Ill., is a pole vaulter for the Southeast track and field team, and like other student-athletes, she sacrifices much of her time to the sport.
“Being a student-athlete is a big commitment. Besides doing what every other student on campus must do, we practice everyday throughout the school year, and once we get into track meets in January, we are traveling almost every weekend,” Lauren said. “It is a lot of hard work, but it’s rewarding, and I love it.”
The friends Lauren has made on her team, the thrill of competing and the feeling of accomplishment are among her top reasons for being on the track team.
“Our team is like a big family. My best friends are my teammates; we do everything together,” Lauren said.
Lauren’s involvement on campus reaches much further than the Abe Stuber Track and Field Complex. She is co-vice president of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) and represents Southeast in the Ohio Valley Conference SAAC. Lauren is a student representative for the University Athletic Committee and a member of the Spanish Club.
Lauren also lifeguards at the Student Aquatic Center and interns in the News Bureau on campus, writing stories for Southeast’s Web site.
“My schedule can get kind of hectic, but I like to keep myself busy. I can’t imagine giving up one of these activities,” Lauren said.
A double-major in news broadcasting and Spanish, Lauren also excels in the classroom. She has a cumulative 4.0 grade point average and has received the Ohio Valley Conference Medal of Honor, which is awarded to the student with the highest grade point average in his or her sport in the conference. In her freshman year, Lauren was inducted into the Phi Eta Sigma National Honor Society.
Lauren said she credits the University for her success because of the advice and support she receives from the faculty.
“They really want to see students succeed. I often see teachers or admission counselors from freshman year who stop me on campus to see how I’m doing,” Lauren said. “The more involved you are, the more contacts you can make which helps out when you begin looking for an internship or job.”
Lauren hopes to get an internship next summer with a St. Louis television station or sports team next summer and plans on studying abroad in Madrid, Spain, next fall.
Lauren is among the many students from Southern Illinois who have received the Regional Achievement Award, which grants out-of-state students in-state tuition because of ACT scores and high school grade point average.
“The scholarship opportunities at Southeast are unbelievable. No other school I applied to could compare,” Lauren said. “The Regional Achievement Award first attracted me to the University, but when I also was awarded a track scholarship and the Jack Buck Leadership Award, I knew I couldn’t pass up the offer.”