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Alumni Spotlight: Lauren Shampine
Lauren Shampine said she was like most high school seniors, excited to go to college and start a new chapter in her young life. But at the end of her freshman year at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Shampine felt singled out among her peers who had all chosen majors and career paths. Without one to call her own, she decided to move back home and take classes at Durham Tech.
“Durham Tech changed everything for me, I fell in love with school again,” Shampine said. “I liked my professors, my classmates, and the campus. I owe this school so much for helping me find my way.”
Shampine pursued an Associate in Arts degree during her two-year tenure and attributed much of her success to the faculty and her academic advisor, Dr. Peter Wooldridge, vice president of Corporate Education and Continuing Education at Durham Tech. She later transferred to the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.
“I met with Dr. Wooldridge every semester to talk about what classes would be best for other colleges and the best fit for what I wanted to do,” Shampine said. “If I didn’t have an advisor who took the time to pick out the right classes, I might not have gotten into UNC-Charlotte.
Shampine ultimately decided to pursue a career in occupational therapy, a path that was first rooted in a high school experience. During her junior year, her mother was recovering from major surgery and needed around-the-clock care. Shampine and her family stepped up as caretakers, which sparked an interest in healthcare she didn’t know she had.
Occupational therapy was always in the back of her mind, but it wasn’t until her time at Durham Tech that she decided to pursue it as a career.
“I wouldn’t be in the career that I’m in today without Durham Tech,” Shampine said. “It allowed me to have my own timeline to figure out what I wanted to do instead of being forced into something. It took a lot of the pressure off. Universities make you pick a major in your first year or two, but at Durham Tech everyone had their own path.”
After graduating in 2007, Shampine earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology at UNC-Charlotte and later earned a Master of Science in Occupational Therapy at New York University.
“Give yourself the time to figure out what you want to do,” Shampine said of her advice to future students. “Don’t let societal pressure make you think you need to know immediately after high school.”
Now 31, Shampine is an Occupational Therapist for Heritage Healthcare and currently contracted with Person Memorial Hospital in Roxboro.
“It took me a few more years to figure out my career path than other people,” Shampine said. “But now I’m set up for the rest of my life.”