MEDIA, Pa. — Nearly eight years after graduating from Penn State, 2015 alumna Lauren Spaulding is back at the University as part of the Brandywine Alumni Society.
Spaulding began her Penn State journey at Brandywine in 2012, majoring in human development and family studies and minoring in psychology. She chose to attend Brandywine because of the personal connections she made while visiting the campus and the small campus feel.
“One thing that stood out to me while visiting during a campus event for accepted honors students of Brandywine was the personal feel that came with the small campus,” she said. “What drew me in was the sense of community that went along with the Penn State education.”
Spaulding was very involved during her time at Brandywine, participating in the Cooper Honors Program and Schreyer Honors College, serving as a Lion Ambassador, and conducting research in the Brandywine Child Development Lab with Jennifer Zosh, professor of human development and family studies.
“My research with Dr. Zosh looked at two different things: how technology impacts parent-child interactions and children’s abilities to self-regulate,” Spaulding said. “The classes I took with Dr. Zosh were my favorite courses I took at Brandywine, especially my child development courses. Now, having a five-month-old, I still reference the material I learned in class with taking care of my child.”
One of her favorite memories she made during her time at Brandywine was when she conducted research at the Delaware Children's Museum and then presented that research at the Capitol Building in Harrisburg.
“The opportunities I had with my research were amazing,” said Spaulding. “All the research I did with Dr. Zosh really positively impacted my whole college experience.”
After graduating from Penn State, Spaulding began working full time at Kaleidoscope Family Solutions, a home- and community-based agency that assists individuals with disabilities. Prior to having a baby and to be more available to raise a family, she opted to work part time at Lima Church as a teacher with the Lima Christian Nursery School and the Bus Stop Before and After School Program.
“I always knew I wanted to work with kids; that’s what my mindset was coming into Penn State. My first job out of college was with adults, and I wanted to make that pivot to working with kids, which is why I’m now at Lima Christian Nursey School. The Bus Stop Program was also where I worked while attending Penn State Brandywine,” she said.
“Working at the school has allowed me to free up my schedule, and my son is able to go with me to the after-school program. It’s also where I not only had my first job while I was in high school, but also where I attended preschool, so it was kind of like a full-circle moment coming back.”
Spaulding is still very involved in the Brandywine community. In 2016, she joined the Penn State Brandywine Alumni Society and was elected secretary in 2022.
“I joined the Brandywine Alumni Society to stay connected to Penn State Brandywine. The impact the University made on my life made me want to stay connected and help current students,” she said. “It’s also helped me stay connected with people I knew when I was in college and meet other alumni. Being able to support students as well, especially for THON, is awesome.”
Even when something’s scary or out of your comfort zone, saying yes to it really helps you grow.
—Lauren Spaulding , class of 2015
When asked what advice she has for Penn State students, Spaulding said to say “yes” to new experiences even when they scare you.
“In all honesty, coming into Penn State, I almost didn’t enroll in the honors program because it seemed intimidating and I thought I should take things easy my first year,” she said.
“Then, I thought to myself, ‘No. I can do this,’ so I did. Did I think I would be able to present research at the Capitol? No, but it was a new once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and I said ‘yes.’ Even when something’s scary or out of your comfort zone, saying yes to it really helps you grow.”