As a member of the University of Delaware’s Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics’ Class of 2020, Lauren Graupman from Rochester, New York has not had the typical final semester or commencement at UD due to the coronavirus outbreak. She, and her entire class, have shown incredible resilience, maturity and spirit while adjusting to the many unexpected changes that they have encountered.
In this profile, Graupman, an entrepreneurship and technology innovation major with minors in public policy and Spanish, shared her favorite UD memories, how she has changed during her time at UD and her plans following graduation.
Graupman was nominated for this series by UD Horn Entrepreneurship marketing and events manager Meg Marcozzi, who said, “Lauren spent much of her college career as a special programs assistant (SPA) for the Horn enrichment team. The work she did at Horn directly impacted and supported the experiences of countless other students. Through her work planning and executing pitch parties, graduation parties, the peer mentor program, ambassador events, the Australian study abroad and more, Lauren consistently took full advantage of her Horn education and put it into use.”
Nat Measley, Graupman’s study abroad leader, said, “She handled many of the students’ social and academic needs, often without prompting outside of her own instincts, reactions and understanding. She knew when to be a friend, superior or support for all of our students at any given time.”
Graupman’s co-worker Tatiana said “Besides being a stellar student, Lauren is one of Horn’s biggest cheerleaders. She involved herself in just about every offering. She is always available to help in all programs. Her passion for the program has clearly defined her future path.”
Vince DiFelice shared that, “Lauren is a hard worker, ambitious and brave.”
Q: How do you think you have changed from your first semester at UD to now?
Graupman: Coming into college, I cared a lot about what people thought. I really took into account other people’s expectations of what they thought I should be doing with my life and who I should be. Throughout college, I developed into a person who now is unapologetic about following their dreams. Although my aspirations in life may take me off the beaten path and on a unique journey, I have gained the confidence and courage that will allow me to see this journey through with enthusiasm and determination, and come out successful. Even if it may not be what everybody else is doing.
Q: What is your favorite place at UD?
Graupman: The Venture Development Center is a second home to me. It is the hub of everything innovation and entrepreneurship on campus, and is the place that I can authentically be 100% myself. The people that inhabit this space are some of the brightest and driven minds that I’ve encountered in my time in college and they inspire me to pursue my dreams each and every day.
Q: What is the most memorable course that you took at Lerner?
Graupman: The most memorable course that I took within Lerner was ENTR 455, taught by Vince DiFelice. The first reason this course was so memorable was the professor who taught it. Vince is one of the most selfless and supportive individuals I’ve ever met and, if you’ve ever had the pleasure of interacting with him, you immediately understand the inspiration he emanates. After taking this class, I have gained a lifelong mentor. The second was the course content. In ENTR 455, students have the opportunity to build a real startup for 13 weeks, which is unlike any other class you take in college. Students have the chance to learn real skills that translate to the professional working world and have the ability to experience life as an entrepreneur with little risk involved, which is quite rare. I recommend this course to anyone considering a professional career in any type of for-profit or non-profit organization.
Q: What was your favorite signature UD experience?
Graupman: My favorite signature UD experience was my study abroad trip to Sydney, Australia. I was fortunate to have been chosen for a teaching assistant position, under Nat Measley, to create and lead the first entrepreneurship winter study abroad program to Australia. The trip provided a great learning and personal experience for myself and all of the students that participated. It was so rewarding to be able to explore a beautiful country, to learn from and interact with successful entrepreneurs within Sydney’s startup ecosystem and to witness the growth of my students throughout our time in Australia.
Q: What does being a “Lifelong Lerner” mean to you?
Graupman: To me, being a “Lifelong Lerner” has two meanings. The first thing that came to mind has to do with learning: the idea of always having the curiosity to learn more and go deeper with new subjects, experiences or people you encounter in life. The second is rooted in Lerner and the University of Delaware: always knowing where you came from and remembering the people and support systems that got you to the place that you are now.
Q: What are your plans following graduation?
Graupman: After graduation I will be pursuing a fellowship with Venture for America. This is a fellowship for recent grads who want to learn how to build a business while making an impact. I will receive training and join a startup in an emerging US city, where I will live and work for two years. The mission of Venture for America is to spark job growth in cities by sending top talent to help scale startups. Fellows learn hands-on what it takes to build a company, while getting the mentorship to become successful entrepreneurs. I am so excited to be joining an organization that aligns so well with my passion of solving societal challenges through entrepreneurship.