Senior Send-Off: Lauren Matthews
Lauren Mathews’ most priceless college memory is spending long, sleepless nights in the library cramming for tests with her friends.
By Jennifer Leto
She hated this frantic studying in the moment, but fears these moments won’t ever be recreated again.
However, the studying has paid off since Mathews is set to graduate from the University of Alabama with an honors award only 18 out of 104 students received.
Mathews is graduating with a combined major in Chemical and Biological Engineering with honors. To achieve this, she had to have an internship and research experience. She also had to take additional classes, including 18 core honors engineering classes. Finally, she had to have above a 3.3 grade point average.
“My parents got to come up for that ceremony, which was pretty neat,” Mathews said.
Matthews found her passion in Chemical and Biological Engineering and in her research.
“It’s one major combined, whenever I went for job interviews they would ask ‘What’s that?’” Mathews said. “They threw in some biology classes in there to make it more diverse.”
While pursuing her degree, she found a passion for biological research and has spent many days and nights in the research lab here on campus. Her current focus is on spray drying equalized cells to see if anything new can be produced after the cells have died.
Mathews was also involved with many things outside of class. She was a team leader for the Center for Service and Leadership and president of The American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AICHE). She was in the Honors College and participated in many events happening on campus such as Dance Marathon.
Other achievements of hers include the Unless Award from the Center for Service and Leadership for active citizenship and starting the medical volunteering program from the ground up. She also placed third in the AICHE poster competition for her research.
Mathews is from Houston, Texas, and came to Alabama for the big school feel. She knew Alabama was the place for her when she tripped on a crack in the sidewalk during her tour of LSU. She was also attracted by the endless opportunities UA has for students- recreationally and educationally.
“I wanted meet a bunch of different people from all walks of life. The small schools I visited were the size of my high school and that was not up my alley,” Mathews said.
Another aspect of Alabama that Mathews loves is the football spirit.
“I tailgated and went to every game this year because I didn’t have as much to do. The spirit of it on campus helped a lot of people bond together,” Mathews said. “If they couldn’t find anything in common, you find football in common. Everyone was just happy about it all the time.”
Mathews started her time at UA living in Ridgecrest South and moved to Crimson Student Living and currently resides at the University House apartments. She has always lived with random roommates and finds that random pairings has worked well for her.
“Living with Lauren was great. She was an awesome roommate freshman year and it was always great to hang out with her in our common area,” said Sarah Ryan, Mathews’ freshman year roommate.
Mathews and Ryan have remained friends throughout college and have experienced football games, study sessions and much more together.
“She is very focused on school and very driven. She always had motivation to work hard for her studies,” Ryan said.
After Mathews graduates, she plans to move to Jacksonville, Florida, to work for Anheuser-Busch in their brewery program.
“One of my goals with ‘Anheuser’ is to potentially get into their research pilot brewery so I can help develop new techniques of making beer and new flavors of beer because I like the research part of it,” Mathews said.
Ironically, during her freshman year, Matthews was dubbed the “Bud Light”’ girl. She always carried around a Bud Light sweatshirt she received from her uncle. Freshman year, during elections for a position in an honors society, the voters did not know her name but recognized her by her sweatshirt and placed “Bud Light girl” on the ballot. Since then, the nickname has stuck.
She will spend three months in Jacksonville and then be assigned to a permanent location. Mathews is excited to live on the beach for a while, and is also excited that she can potentially be placed anywhere across the country when she receives her permanent assignment.
“When I was filling out my preference sheet, they had me rank a list of 13 places of where I would like to live, which was cool because normally they just tell you where you’re going,” Mathews said.
With graduation approaching, a job lined up and endless possibilities ahead of her, Mathews is thankful for her time here at UA and will always cherish her college experience.
“I’m really glad to be graduating from here rather than anywhere else,” Mathews said.