Student Profile: Lauren Engels
A dual citizen of the United States and Germany, Lauren Engels came to Alma College with a passion for international relations and a desire to use her passport to help others.
“I’ve traveled the world since I was little, and I’ve always liked seeing how different cultures shape society and how we all work together as a whole,” she says. “Traveling also has reminded me of how fortunate I am. I feel like it is my calling to help those born in less-developed nations.”
Though her ultimate goal is to be a United Nations diplomat, Engels would love to join the Peace Corps after graduating from Alma. After a meaningful Alternative Break experience, the Livonia sophomore also is interested in helping rebuild Detroit, she says.
“While working at a soup kitchen in Detroit, it upset me to see how many people were homeless and had to migrate from place to place just to get a meal or take a shower,” she says. “I want to do something to help alleviate the city’s problems because it’s such a great place.”
A Posey Global Fellowship recently took Engels to Uganda, where she volunteered for a children’s adoption organization. Being a part of Alma’s Model UN team also has allowed her to find inspiration while traveling, she says.
“The international conferences help me see how different people around the world view issues,” she says. “In order to find a solution, we have to learn how to collaborate with these totally different viewpoints. Model UN really makes me see that I can make a difference in the world.”
Engels, who has a program of emphasis in foreign service, is the vice president of the Class of 2015, Amnesty International and International Criminal Court Student Network. She also is a member of the Barrister’s Society. Each part of her Alma experience helps her see the world in a new light, she says.
“On my first day, my professor asked our class if we deserved to be here,” she says. “He was trying to teach us that we didn’t completely ‘deserve’ to be. Yes, we are intelligent, but much of our being in college has to do with our parents, upbringings and socioeconomic status. I’m learning to challenge my perspective and to ask harder questions at Alma.”