Laura Culpepper, ’17, came to Meredith College with a set plan, but through her experiences on campus and the support of the faculty and staff, she discovered a new passion and career path.
Arriving at Meredith as a Teaching Fellow, Laura was determined to be an elementary school teacher. During her junior year, she started to question whether or not she was meant to be in the classroom. With a desire to help people in a different way, Laura realized she needed a new direction.
“I wasn’t sure the new direction that I would head in,” said Laura. “I had always wanted to do nonprofit work, and social work became an interesting new possibility.”
Instead of student teaching, the English major decided to spend her senior year exploring different career options and diving deeper into her passions for social justice in environmentalism, interfaith and anti-racism work, food insecurity, and refugee and immigration issues.
“My English and education professors, my adviser, and the Office of Career Planning, in addition to my family and friends, gave me the support to pursue my dreams and my own path,” said Laura.
Through various campus organizations, Laura has had the opportunity to dive into her passions. She serves as the publicity and outreach officer for Better Together, Meredith’s interfaith organization, and is vice president of FEM, which stands for Female Empowerment at Meredith.
“I use my skills such as empathy and relating to others, planning and organizing, and my passion for social justice to work with people of all faiths and non-faiths for the betterment of the world,” said Laura. “These organizations provide an opportunity to form relationships with people of diverse beliefs and backgrounds, and facilitate and participate in interfaith discussions and service projects.”
As a staff writer for The Meredith Herald and an English and writing tutor in the Learning Center, Laura has had many opportunities to utilize her English degree. Because of her commitment and hard work, she earned the Excellence in Tutoring Award from the Learning Center this year.
“I am humbled and grateful to have worked with such smart and driven women from every field, and I am proud of what the Learning Center does to empower Meredith students to do their best, meeting each individual’s needs,” said Laura. “I am thankful to be a part of the Learning Center and its important work.”
Her academic success has earned her membership in Kappa Delta Pi and Sigma Tau Delta honor societies. She is also a member of Meredith Educators. In 2015, she studied abroad as a part of Meredith’s United Kingdom summer program which was a great learning experience for Laura.
“As an English major, visiting the UK was a dream come true,” said Laura. “I visited Shakespeare’s hometown, walked the streets of Chaucer’s Canterbury, visited the Bath of Jane Austen, and visited many museums and historical sites. I studied modern drama while I was there, seeing and studying many plays, from Measure for Measure at The Globe to War Horse.”
Laura is currently applying to nonprofit organizations with a focus on social justice. She plans to work in the nonprofit sector before heading to graduate school where she hopes to get a master’s in social work or become a licensed clinical social worker for mental health patients.
“I learned that I can trust my instincts, that I have a wonderful support system at school and at home to cheer me on and work alongside me, and that I can succeed in any field because of the skills, knowledge, and experiences that I have gained at Meredith.”
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