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Lauren Charles ’14

Charles credits Montclair State for exposing her to the political process in ways that help her respond to challenges that she faces at work each day, and advises current students to stay enthusiastic about their goals.

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Lauren Charles

“I look at my time at Montclair State and remember to always keep moving forward,” says Lauren Charles ’14 when looking back at her time as a student. Charles currently works for Edison Research, a market research and political polling company, where she is a Manager of Research. She graduated from Montclair State in 2014 with a bachelor’s degree in political science and a minor in legal research and public administration. As an undergrad, Charles pictured herself working in her current field but did not expect it to be in New Jersey. “Since I majored in political science, I assumed my career path would bring me to Washington D.C., but I was pretty lucky to find something so close to home,” she says.

Charles credits Montclair State for exposing her to the political process in ways that help her respond to challenges that she faces at work each day. As an undergrad, she was offered many opportunities that helped her further pursue her interests as a political science major. In an internship with Professor Sal Anderton ’95, she was given the opportunity to meet with state officials and talk about the legislative happenings in Trenton. As part of a course called Campaign Politics, she traveled to various political party headquarters in New Jersey to assist on real local campaigns. Through The Center for Career Services, Charles was able to secure a public relations internship for a political website called in her senior year. Upon graduation, she also used The Center for Career Services to land a position at the same company which she still works for today.

While attending Montclair State, she had the opportunity to live on campus all four years and take advantage of the different residence halls that were offered. These included Freeman Hall, the Heights, Hawks Crossing and the Village. If not in her dorm room, you could find her in the Student Center with her fellow Phi Sigma Sigma sisters or at the Rathskeller for dinner on late Sunday nights. As a student, her day consisted of classes in Dickson Hall and stopping for a cordon bleu sandwich at Café Diem or a Vince Lombardi at the Student Center before heading to the library to study for finals. Charles also recalls attending the “Price is Right” at the Student Recreation Center each year and having the opportunity to spin the wheel.

Aside from being a member of Phi Sigma Sigma, she was also active on campus by being part of the Residence Hall Association. “When I moved into the Heights I joined the Residence Hall Association to help address the needs of my fellow residents within my building,” she says. Charles also maintained engaged on campus by working as a service assistant. Like many other students, being able to work on campus helped her balance school while also maintaining a part-time job.

Charles recalls two professors that left a mark on her academic career. Professor Julia Wagner, who taught First Year Writing, “showed me a prose, professionalism and work ethic that I still try to match,” she says. Dr. Brigid Harrison influenced and continues to influence her life both academically and professionally. “Professor Harrison is always being quoted in political news articles and I brag to my colleagues by telling them that she was my Professor at Montclair State,” says Charles. She enjoyed the courses she had with Dr. Harrison because of her knowledge and experience on both local and national politics. “Not only is she a great professor but she is also a great role model for any young woman studying politics,” she says.

As a Red Hawk, Charles had many memorable experiences. However, one that she will never forget was being able to see her favorite band, New Found Glory, perform on campus. The concert also gave her the opportunity to befriend other freshmen in her residence hall who also had similar tastes in music. “We still talk about how it’s one of the best concerts we’ve ever been to,” says Charles.

To current undergraduates, she offers the following advice: “You still have many more great things to achieve, so stay enthusiastic and get out there!”