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Pittsburgh Mentor Profile: Lauren Nazzaro

Posted by Laura Pollanen Dec 12, 2017
Lauren with her mentees, Takara and Tacia Pack.

Lauren with her mentees, Takara and Tacia Pack.

As a little girl, Lauren Nazzaro had two remarkable role models: her mother, a pediatric oncology nurse, and Rosalind Franklin, a chemist responsible for much of the research that led to understanding DNA. Lauren has long been frustrated that Rosalind never received the credit she was due – instead, a Nobel Prize was awarded to three men years after Rosalind passed away.

Now a junior at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), Lauren has spent five semesters as a mentor for Strong Women, Strong Girls, helping her mentees learn about strong, accomplished women like Rosalind. Lauren shares her passion for biology, which she studies at CMU, with the girls she mentors each week. Watching the girls’ excitement when they try a new science experiment is fulfilling and joyous.

Some of Lauren’s mentees have been with her for a few years, and seeing them grow and overcome challenges has opened her eyes to different backgrounds. She now recognizes her comparatively privileged upbringing – it was always assumed that Lauren would go to college. That’s not the case for some of her mentees, but she helps them see college as a possibility.

“Empowering our strong girls by bringing them to CMU to experience a college campus, helping them to dream about going to college, and encouraging them to see their future options helps me reflect on how important it is to be role model for them,” Lauren says.

Lauren understands that mentoring is a give-and-take relationship. While she inspires and empowers girls as an SWSG mentor, Lauren also expands and hones her own skills in delivering content from a curriculum, connecting individually with girls, and helping them overcome barriers. She values her experience as an SWSG mentor because she knows her service is helping strong girls grow into strong women.

$30 gives college mentors the tools needed to be role models.