At Hutchison, Lauren Coleman ’24 Discovered a Love of Environmental Science and Found Her Voice

AP Scholar and National African American Recognition Program Scholar Lauren Coleman ’24 explored her interest in science and the environment at Hutchison. She hopes to make a difference through a career in sustainability.
Hutchison has been a place that has challenged Lauren Coleman ’24 academically while helping her build upon her love of science. Lauren has attended Hutchison since third grade, but she said her time in upper school is when she grew the most as a student.

“I had to learn to be comfortable with not always being perfect,” Lauren said. “I had to apply myself a lot more in AP classes. I had to find new ways to adjust to the workload. I found ways to manage my time well, get my homework done, study, and organize around my life.”

Lauren has been recognized as an AP Scholar with Honor, an award given to students who receive an average score of at least 3.25 on all AP Exams taken, and scores of 3 or higher on four or more of these exams. The College Board also named her a National African American Recognition Program Scholar, an honor reserved for a select number of outstanding students.

In the fall, she will attend Duke University, where she plans to study environmental science. The wide range of science classes offered at Hutchison helped Lauren determine what she wants to further explore in college. This year, she took zoology and AP Chemistry, and during her junior year, she took AP Environmental Science, which she said was one of her favorite classes. “It’s something that I looked forward to and loved going to every day. I always found myself interested in the material,” she said.

As someone who has been interested in learning more about the environment at a young age, she enjoyed learning about biodiversity and renewable energy in the class. She also loved the challenge of building a sustainable city for a class project because it was a unique and fun way to apply her new knowledge. 

Outside of the classroom, Lauren explored her interest in the environment in several ways. She volunteers at Lichterman Nature Center, where she has served in the plant propagation center and the wildlife center. She completed pre-collegiate programs focusing on the environment through Barnard College and the Brown Environmental Leadership Lab at Brown University. 

She also is a member of the inaugural graduate class of the myExperience program. For her capstone project, she worked with Emily Heim ’24 to create a children’s book about climate change, specifically coral bleaching. The book, Sky Saves the Reef, is about a fish named Sky who lives in a coral reef and finds that her home has turned white. “It talks about humans’ impact on the oceans and how the burning of greenhouse gases has led to coral bleaching,” she explained.
“It was difficult when I was first writing it because I had to think about how a child would understand what I was explaining,” she said. “It’s important to let them know what’s going on because even a little impact is still an impact.”

Lauren wrote and Emily illustrated a children’s book, "Sky Saves the Reef," for their myExperience capstone project. They worked together to bring the story to life.

At Hutchison, Lauren overcame her shyness not only to find herself but also to leave her mark on the school community. She said the most important thing she learned was to stay open-minded when it comes to new experiences or meeting new people.

“When I was a freshman, I kind of kept to myself. I went to class and did my homework,” she said. “Eventually, I learned to take advantage of opportunities, like clubs and organizations, and enjoyed meeting new people of different ages.”

One of the ways Lauren found her voice is through the Equity and Inclusion Council. During her senior year, she served as the council’s president. Students on the council collaborate to plan events throughout the year to celebrate diverse cultures while promoting awareness and the importance of being kind and inclusive.

“The council is something that I think is important and makes me feel like I have some impact on the Hutchison community,” she said. “Inclusion means making sure everybody feels seen and heard in the Hutchison community, making sure no one feels isolated in any way and that they feel that people care about the things that make them different or unique.”

As Equity and Inclusion Council president, Lauren worked to bring Mayor Paul Young to Hutchison as our Black History Month speaker.

The council also serves as a space where members can come to discuss concerns and issues shared by their peers. Civil discourse tactics are implemented to encourage thoughtful and respectful engagement.

“The more I’ve moved through Hutchison, the more I’ve become ok with sharing my opinions. Even if I know that people aren’t going to agree with them, that doesn’t make them any less valuable. Hutchison taught me not to be afraid to use my voice or share my opinion, even if I’m standing alone in it,” she said.

Lauren said she feels well-prepared for what is next for her at Duke, and she is excited to work toward her goal of having a career in sustainability. She is not sure what that might look like yet, but she did get an idea of how sustainability can work in a large-scale company through an internship with International Paper, thanks to Hutchison’s Institute for Responsible Citizenship. She hopes to work for a nonprofit or company one day and make a difference.

“Sustainability is a problem that the world is facing as a whole. I want to find a way to make an impact that is greater than myself and work to make real change,” she said.


Read More