Building Confidence as a Leader – Laura Jenkins

Laura Jenkins, ’20, has made the most of every opportunity that presented itself during her four years at Meredith. From holding multiple internships to serving as student body president, from studying abroad in Costa Rica to working with the Meredith Autism Program (MAP), she has embraced challenges and grown to understand her own gifts and strengths.

“Not only have I learned about myself as a leader and student, but I have learned how strong I am as a person,” she said. “I have gained a sense of independence and confidence in myself I never knew was there. I learned that not only can I be a great student, but I can be a great friend and peer to others.”

As a psychology major, Laura held a variety of internships working with children and occupational therapists, all of which helped her decide on her career path. Laura also completed all levels of MAP and became credentialed as a Registered Behavior Technician. After graduation, she plans to attend Winston-Salem State University to pursue her master’s degree in occupational therapy.

“I know my strengths, and skills that I have learned in and outside of the classroom prepared me for graduate school, my career, and life in general,” she said.

Laura further honed her strengths through her involvement on campus. She served as co-chair for Little Friends weekend, an annual even in which Meredith students host elementary-school-aged children on campus. It was especially poignant because she participated in Little Friends herself as a child. In addition, after serving as class treasurer for three years, she was elected president of the Student Government Association (SGA).

“As SGA president, I was able to listen to and communicate with students and be a voice for them – to address student concerns and develop policies that benefit our student body,” she said.

Laura remembers visiting Meredith for the first time as a child and thinking how beautiful the campus was. She came to realize the beauty she saw went far beyond the grounds and buildings.

“Everyone always had smiles on their faces and they were excited to welcome me,” she said. “I had never seen so many people so passionate and excited to share their love of a college before. I knew Meredith was the college I wanted to go to because I would be taken care of in my new home.”

That welcoming and caring atmosphere proved to be an essential aspect of her Meredith experience. Her faculty were truly interested in her and wanted to help her succeed, providing ongoing support and guidance, particularly when she was applying to graduate programs.

“I cannot say enough great things about the faculty,” she said. “The relationships you build at Meredith are ones that last and are built with so much care and strength.”

Laura also found that the women’s college setting fed her confidence and a drive to speak up and be heard. She made lasting friendships that she expects to be lifelong.

“I would not be the person I am today without this college, and I know that I always have a place to come back home to,” she said. “The memories I have had these past four years have been like no other. Meredith College is a rewarding and magnificent experience that I recommend to everyone.”