ORANGE, Calif. – NASA intern, Columbia graduate school bound, volleyball standout and recent Chapman University graduate are just a few ways Lauren Friend could describe herself. The accomplished volleyball student-athlete is Chapman University's nominee for the NCAA Woman of the Year.
Friend was a two-time All-SCIAC and school record-breaking middle blocker in her four years on the volleyball team, helping the team to back-to-back SCIAC Tournament appearances. She was also elected as the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee President as a senior but that is just a small portion of what she achieved as a student at Chapman.
While improving immensely as an athlete, she thrived as a student and researcher. Ultimately, Friend spent her final semester at Chapman as a NASA Data Engineering Intern at the Glenn Research Center in Ohio.
Upon the conclusion of that full-time internship, NASA offered Friend the NASA Pathways Internship as a Fluidic Devise Engineer. With this new job at NASA, she will become an engineer on a mission to build a spacecraft that tests for life on other planets.
She will also be attending Columbia in the fall to pursue a master's degree in biomedical engineering.
Over her career at Chapman, Friend worked her way up to be the Director of the Schmid Student Leadership Council, working directly with the Dean. She performed years of research on the hagfish as an Independent Student Researcher and was granted a Summer Research Fellowship at Chapman to continue her research over the summer months.
Friend's list of accomplishments go on-and-on. She was recognized for three campus leadership awards and was Chapman Athletics' pick for the Jack Duddy Leadership Award.
She is one of a program record 585 nominees across all three divisions of the NCAA – 192 nominees came from Division III.
Established in 1991, the NCAA Woman of the Year award recognizes graduating female college athletes who have exhausted their eligibility and distinguished themselves in academics, athletics, service and leadership throughout their collegiate careers.