Major: Associate in Arts
Lauren Phegley’s guiding values are justice, equity and ambition.
“Careers centered on these have always drawn my attention,” she said. “I want to be the protector of the underdogs and those who are at risk of being taken advantage of. I have always felt criminal justice was my calling.”
When Phegley was selecting a college, location and financial assistance were two of the biggest factors in her choice of College of DuPage. Due to a variety of health issues, she wanted to stay close to her health professionals and family and knew finances were critical. Being named a Presidential Scholar – which includes a full tuition scholarship – helped make the decision easier.
“Being a Presidential Scholar encouraged me to attain my best academic potential,” she said. “My honors classes were invigorating and challenged not only my brain but also my work ethic. As part of my scholarship, I volunteered as a tutor and mentor with the Glen Ellyn Children’s Resource Center. That experience solidified how important equal access to education is to children with fewer resources.”
One of her goals at COD was to gain experience in a professional workplace setting, which she did as a student worker in the College’s Field and Experiential Learning, Study Abroad and Global Education office.
“It was a friendly, hardworking office dedicated to helping students learn outside the classroom and experience the world,” she said.
Phegley graduated with an Associate in Arts degree with highest honors. She also received the North Central College transfer scholarship, awarded to one COD student annually. Having earned a bachelor’s degree in Sociology with an emphasis in Criminal Justice and a minor in English Studies, she is now pursuing a Master of Science in Information and Library Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and plans to continue for her doctorate.
“This will prepare me for a career as an intelligence analyst specializing in databases for a large governmental agency,” she said. “Ultimately, I would also enjoy becoming a higher education professor teaching criminal justice or library science.”
Phegley encourages other students to look for the opportunities at COD and take an active part in their education.
“Opportunities open themselves up to you if you search for them,” she said. “If you show your professors you are a dedicated and passionate student, then you can find mentors and leaders who will help guide you in the right direction. I never thought that I would be a published author, have an amazing job on campus or study the human decomposition process at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, on a COD field study class!
“I am a very perfectionistic student, so being able to use the library or attend office hours assisted me if I was struggling in a class. I was also able to increase my professional capabilities by working with the Career Services Center to strengthen my resume and write cover letters.
“I want to thank all of the wonderful professors I have studied under during my time at COD, specifically Dr. Michelle Moore, Professor Theo Darden, and Dr. M.J. Cravens. Working at the office of Field Studies and Global Education taught me the idea of global learning and increased my interest to international relations. Lastly, I would never have thrived this well in college if it wasn’t for my parents’ continual encouragement and patience – to them my heartfelt gratitude.”