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Lauren is pursuing a college degree at the same time she is training to become an Olympian in judo. A mix of online and face-to-face courses at UW-Fond du Lac are making it possible. Lauren’s coach is UW-Fond du Lac alumna Lynn Roethke. Lynn won a silver medal in judo at the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul, South Korea.Lauren De Smidt

Name: Lauren De Smidt

Age: 19

Hometown: Fond du Lac, Wisconsin

Career program/major: Biology

High School Attended: Fond du Lac High School

What led you to choose your program or major?

I have always been extremely interested in the biological sciences. In high school, my two favorite classes were AP Biology and the Project Lead the Way courses. I have always been interested in science, specifically genetics, and love how challenging it can be.

Why did you decide to become a University of Wisconsin student at UW-Fond du Lac?

I decided to attend UW-FDL because of the flexibility that it provided for my schedule. With my crazy training schedule, it was extremely important that school was flexible and close to my house. I have completed most of my associate degree online, which has been extremely important with all my travel.

Is there someone at UW-Fond du Lac who made a difference in your life or inspired you?

Dr. David Demezas helped solidify my interest in the biological sciences. I really enjoyed his microbiology class on campus because it taught me many important skills that I will use in my future classes.

What is one piece of advice you would give to an incoming UW-Fond du Lac student?

I would tell incoming students don’t stress out too much about college. Classes can seem overwhelming at times, but as long as you keep up with the coursework and work hard they really aren’t any harder than high school.

Describe something unexpected that happened here at UW-Fond du Lac.

Something unexpected that happened at UW-Fond du Lac was the amount of credits I received from high school classes. With trying to become an Olympian in Judo, I knew that I could never be a full-time student. However, I wanted to still attend college to earn my associate degree while training and working. By taking concurrent enrollment and AP classes in high school, I was able to graduate with my associate degree with an emphasis in biology in the normal two-year span.

When not in class or studying, what keeps you busy?

When I’m not in class or studying, I am either training or working. I train up to three-times a day at Club Olympia. I also am a barista at Starbucks and work behind the front desk at Club Olympia, totaling about forty-five hours per week. Additionally, I help teach judo classes to younger children two nights a week. If I ever get a complete day off, I really enjoy reading and watching movies with my boyfriend, Grant.

What are your plans after UW-Fond du Lac?

After UW-Fond du Lac, I plan to attend Arizona State University through the Starbuck’s College Achievement Plan to earn my bachelor’s degree in biology. Simultaneously, I will also continue training and pursuing my goal of becoming an Olympian in the sport of judo.

For more information about attending college and pursuing all of your dreams, call to make an appointment with an admissions advisor, 920-929-1122.


Laurie Krasin