The College of Applied Science and Technology (CAST) at Illinois State University is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. This series, CAST 50×50, is designed to highlight 50 faculty, staff, students, alumni, and organizations within CAST that make the college special. These notable people will tell you that every day in CAST is a great day to be a Redbird!

Today #CAST50 is excited to feature two time Family and Consumer Sciences graduate, Lauren Hardy.

What was your major and when did you graduate from Illinois State University?

I graduated in 2012 with my bachelor’s degree in family and consumer sciences—human development and family resources. I went on to graduate school and received my master’s degree in family and consumer sciences in 2014.

What do you miss most and what did you enjoy the most about going to ISU?

I miss interacting with my professors and having dynamic classroom discussions.  Those were always my favorite—constantly learning from classmates, hearing different perspectives that always made me think about topics in a different way. I enjoyed most the relationships that I made there. Relationships with classmates and relationships with professors that turned into mentors and lifelong friends.

Tell us about your career and how you got to where you are today. Do you have any ultimate career goals?

I am currently the marketing manager for Easterseals Central Illinois.  I coordinate all communications for the organization and promote and share programs the we offer to help children with disabilities and their families make profound, positive differences in their lives. My ultimate career goals are truly to make positive differences for families in our community.  I want to be an advocate for all children and families to help lead positive, healthy lives.

When you were a little kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? Is what you are doing now anywhere close to that?

Growing up, I always wanted to be a teacher.  My mom was a teacher and I saw the difference and impact she made in so many lives and I knew I wanted to do the same.  I definitely think that my career, although I am not a teacher, I still am part of an organization that impacts families in such a profound way and I am very happy to be a part of that.

Advice for current students?

My advice for current students is to be a relationship builder.  Take the time to get to know your classmates, professors and staff in your department.  Life moves so fast, it is so important to take the time to get to know those around you.  You never know who you will be working with in the future, who you can collaborate with or who can be an advocate for you.  Work hard, be ambitious–it won’t go unnoticed.

Think you know someone who should be featured? Contact us!