Scholarship Enables Garey to Spring into Action
When Lauren Garey ’12 noticed disparate groups of Babson students attending charity walks in the Boston area, she founded a student organization called Babson Soles to coordinate these efforts.
She creates a list of Babson participants for each walk, organizes transportation to and from each venue, and encourages participants to wear Babson T-shirts representing their school pride en masse.
Garey, who receives the Women’s Leadership Scholarship to attend Babson, did what she always does—she identified a challenge, designed a solution, and took action.
Garey took action again this summer as an intern for Fundación Mujer (FM), a nonprofit microfinance organization in Costa Rica that provides small loans to women who wish to start their own ventures. She was one of two students who received the inaugural Babson Honors Program Summer Service Fellowship, which helps honors students participate in summer internships that have a positive social impact.
While in Costa Rica, Garey collected client data to help FM drive process improvements in its lending program. When she learned that the organization was managing loans through a large bank that was inconveniently located for borrowers, she recommended that it establish lending programs in small banks in the countryside where most families keep their savings. She also had an impact on a personal level, encouraging her home stay mother to apply for a loan through FM. Her home stay mother was approved and now runs a business growing plant seedlings that can be sold to area farmers.
This isn’t the first time Garey has made an impact on communities around the world. In addition to serving as a frequent volunteer and project leader through Babson’s Bernon Center for Public Service, she traveled to El Salvador in March 2010 with Babson Habitat for Humanity and helped build two houses. She also participated in the January 2010 trip with Undergraduate School Dean Dennis Hanno to Ghana, where she taught entrepreneurship to secondary school students and adults.
While in Ghana, she saw a need for a business plan competition for college-age students. When she returned to Babson, she led the charge to establish an online business plan competition for Ashesi University College students in Ghana and helped raise funds to begin the program. The program utilizes circle lending so each new business receives funding once the previous business has paid off its loan.
Scholarship support has enabled Garey to pursue opportunities in the U.S. and abroad that make a difference in people’s lives. “The women’s leadership scholarship and honors program fellowship mean the world to me because they have helped me take advantage of all of these amazing opportunities. Beyond this, the donors who provide my scholarship are truly interested in me as a person and what I have been working on.”
Garey says her Babson experience has brought her one step closer to her dream of one day running her own microfinance organization. In the meantime, she will continue to do what comes naturally to her—identifying areas where she can make an impact and take action to improve the world.