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Lauren Morales, 2016

Major: Communication Arts
Hometown: Tobyhanna, PA

Lauren Morales presenting at Romano Center“My internships gave me confidence, initiative, and inspiration to strive for more. I feel like I am ready to take on bigger things.”

In high school, Lauren Morales thought she’d pursue a career in medicine. But on a whim, she asked a teacher if she could work in the school’s production studio. There, she discovered the thrill of working under deadline.

“I found meaning in the studio. I loved the teamwork that happens in a broadcast studio, and I loved the pressure,” Lauren recalls. “It was an adrenaline rush. I realized this was what I was meant to do.”

She enrolled at St. Thomas Aquinas College and declared a major in communication arts with a minor in social media. She also landed a spot on the college’s Division II soccer team. But she was only just getting started.

In between the demands of courses and intercollegiate soccer, Lauren began sowing seeds that would bear fruit on her path to becoming a communications professional. First, she took a part-time job as a production assistant with Empire City Casino at Yonkers Raceway, where she spent two years producing harness racing broadcasts. At the same time, she took a video and editing gig with @nycdining, an Instagram handle featuring food and restaurant experiences in and around New York City.

And then one day, Mary Duffy, a STAC alumna and vice president and senior executive producer at CNBC, spoke in one of Lauren’s classes.

“Mary was so professional and successful and genuine. She handed out her business card, and I kept it in my wallet for a year until I thought I was qualified to apply for an internship,” Lauren says. “I reached out to her, and she was impressed that I juggled school, soccer, and multiple jobs. I got the position, and it was amazing.”

After her summer at CNBC and just before the start of her senior year at STAC, Lauren was approached by a former colleague at Empire City Casino, who asked if she would be interested in working at Sports Illustrated.

“I couldn’t believe it. I was already so busy and didn’t think I could handle anything else, but I sent my resume,” Lauren says. “A couple of months later, I got a call from Sports Illustrated asking if I could show them some of my work. That was it. I got a ‘real job.’”

Lauren says she dedicated herself to doing it all: Sports Illustrated and soccer and an 18-credit-hour semester. Four months into her job at Sports Illustrated, Golf.com hired her to do freelance work. These days, she works at Golf.com two days a week and at Sports Illustrated two days a week.

Less than a year after graduation, Lauren landed a job at HBO as a member of the production staff. Her ultimate career goal remains to work as a producer in the television industry. She's well on her way.

“The world is wide open,” says Lauren.