“Once you get to the competition, take your competition time seriously. You will have plenty of time to explore and meet new people. So, take care of your business first, before you have a good time.”
– Lauren Ingram
Lauren Ingram was a silver medalist at the 2012 national ACT-SO competition in Houston, Texas. She graduated from Saginaw Arts & Sciences Academy in 2012 and received a Bachelors of Arts degree in Psychology from the University of Michigan in 2016. Lauren is currently a Legal Assistant and, this upcoming fall, she will be attending Indiana University McKinney School of Law. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, spending time with family and friends, reading and working out.
Lauren was initially introduced to the ACT-SO program at a young age by a family friend who was the local Saginaw chapter’s chairperson. She became involved with ACT-SO when she was about six years old because her mother became an ACT-SO mentor. Lauren and her little brother would join their mother at all of the local events, competitions, and fundraisers. She even attended a few ACT-SO competitions before she enrolled in high school. Thus, Lauren has been around the ACT-SO program for the majority of her life and had always wanted to compete; it was just a matter of deciding in which category she would like to do so.
In the 2012 local Saginaw ACT-SO branch competition, Lauren received a gold medal in the Mathematics category. She then advanced to the national competition where she placed as a silver medalist in the Mathematics category for her project on the Modern Portfolio Theory.
Favorite Part About ACT-SO
Lauren’s favorite part about the ACT-SO program was being able to compete at nationals and meet so many new people. To this day, she still keeps in touch with several individuals that she became friends with at the national competition. She was also very inspired by the excellence exuded by her fellow Black brothers and sisters at the competition: “I really enjoyed walking around to see everyone’s talent that they wanted to share with the world. When I attended a PWI (predominately white institution), I really learned how valuable it is to have those spaces for Black people to have a place to demonstrate their talents to the world.”
By participating in ACT-SO, the program allowed Lauren to significantly improve her fundraising skills: “When you work that hard to participate in something, it feels really good to be able to accomplish your goal.” She was also taught the true meaning of responsibility as she realized that her actions were not only representative of herself, but an entire group of people. When she attended the national competition, Lauren was representing all of the people in her hometown, and when she traveled to different cities as part of the program, she was representing ACT-SO as a whole. No matter where she went, Lauren learned that she was standing for something way bigger than herself.
Many of the friendships that Lauren developed throughout her time with ACT-SO remain strong today. She truly values having mentors of color, because they can particularly relate to her experiences and help her avoid making the same mistakes that they made when they were her age. Inspired by her mentors, Lauren plans to participate in mentorship programs for Black youth and become an ACT-SO mentor, as her career progresses.
Words of Wisdom
“Cherish it. Cherish your time. Don’t complain about having to do fundraisers or the requirements. Once you get to the competition, take your competition time seriously. You will have plenty of time to explore and meet new people. So, take care of your business first, before you have a good time.” – Lauren Ingram