Monday, December 30, 2013

Endicott Student-Athlete Defends Both Field and Nation

Christine Todd
Photo by Dave Hicks
By Dave Hicks
Gordon College News Service
December 9, 2013
(This story is a part of a package of stories on college athletes written for the Boston Globe North.)

As many college athletes prepare to go home for the holidays, some, like Lauren Todd, still have work to do.

Though Todd, 23, graduated a semester early from Endicott College with a degree in psychology and concentration in criminal justice and four years on the soccer and lacrosse fields, she began classes just days later in Endicott’s homeland security master’s program. She is one of a growing number of today’s students who move directly from undergraduate studies into a graduate program.

“She came on my radar as someone who’s not only very intelligent, but also manages her time well,” said Professor Michael Andreas, the director of Todd’s Homeland Security Studies Graduate Program who taught her as an undergraduate. “She’s a natural born leader and a very high performer.”

Her college career both off and on the field, she said, produced in her skills such as time management, leadership and excellence, qualities that began forming while growing up in New Field, New Hampshire. When it came time to attend college, she knew she wanted both to stay in the Northeast and to play lacrosse in college. But it was Endicott’s women’s soccer coach Jodi Kenyon who ended up recruiting her.

“She immediately struck me as a young woman who knew exactly what she wanted,” said Kenyon. “From day one at Endicott, she had everything mapped out for the next four years. That’s rare these days.”

As an NCAA Division III school, Endicott’s athletics department emphasizes balance between academics and athletics. Todd’s lacrosse coach, Meghan Fitzgerald, was impressed by the way she succeeded in both.

“She’s the ultimate example of a D-III athlete,” she said.  “She was so successful in the classroom that she was able to graduate early. To do that while playing two sports, and participating in multiple internships is a huge achievement.

Endicott also requires students to participate in internships in their fields. First and second year students must complete an internship for their winter breaks, and upperclassmen are expected to participate in a semester-long internship.

Todd was drawn to Endicott in part because of this requirement. As a freshman she worked in the guidance department at an elementary school, and as a sophomore she took a community service trip to Costa Rica. But by the fall of her senior year, she ventured in a different direction and analyzed crime in Boston at the Boston Regional Intelligence Center (BRIC).

Because the earlier internships took place over a holiday, they did not affect Todd’s athletic practice schedule. But her internship with the BRIC occurred during soccer season.

“I would be running into the locker room with my high heels still on from work,” she said. “I would change really quickly into my gear, run out onto the field, and have to be ready.”

Todd said that keeping such an intense schedule has prepared her for the next phase of her career in homeland security, a field that, according to Andreas, will give her ample opportunities to apply her talents.

“She learned that the [18-month graduate] program was beginning in August, nine months before she was scheduled to graduate,” he said. Rather than wait, Todd decided to take extra courses as an undergraduate so that she could graduate early and enroll in the program in December. Andreas said she even doubled up her course load to catch up so she can graduate with her peers in May, which is why the Christmas break won’t give her much leisure time.

“Because the field (homeland security) is multi-disciplinary and multi-functional, the prospects for employment are wide and deep,” he said. “She receives my highest recommendations, and I’ve no doubt she’ll be successful.”

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