We had the good fortune of connecting with Lauren Faria and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Lauren, is there a quote or affirmation that’s meaningful to you?
“There is only one time that is important: NOW! It is the most important time because it is the only time when we have any power.” – Leo Tolstoy Although I am not old enough to have voted in our Presidential election, I am old enough to help and I understand the importance of this privilege. Our country is in the middle of a global pandemic and an explosive political climate. The love for my country is what compels me to serve and lead others. It’s the reason why I served as a Student Election Clerk.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
As a second-generation American born citizen of multi-ethnic background, I personally know how important it is to be inclusive and raise awareness in diversity initiatives. All my life, I’ve advocated for girls to pursue S.T.E.A.M./ S.T.E.M. careers; especially those from economically disadvantaged backgrounds. As one of the few female commanders of my high school’s Air Force JROTC programs, it’s imperative we show diverse representation in schools, communities, and workplaces. I’ve taken steps with the following initiatives: • Securing a female engineer for Forestwood Middle School’s Annual Career Day • Becoming a founding Teen Ambassador for a nonprofit school education program called Texas Cares for Children • Holding leadership roles in Air Force JROTC such as Admin Deputy, Logistics Commander, Flight Commander, Recruitment Commander, and Flight Commander • Selected as a flute squad leader for marching band – top-20 nationally ranked • Producing and hosting “Learn with Lauren” series on InstagramTV • Pursuing a S.T.E.M. path despite a historically male-dominated field • Advocating my platform, “Full S.T.E.A.M. Ahead” and partnerships with Special Olympics, Boys and Girls Club, Girls Scouts, Girls Inc., and Society of Women Engineers I’ve been fortunate to have amazing role models but had a difficult time resonating with them because of the fact I was female, part Portuguese and part Filipino, my parents were first-generation graduates of American schools and I live in a community where diversity representation is lacking. I’m a granddaughter of immigrants on both patriarchal and matriarchal lines and I have been instilled with the gratitude of countless others who have come to our country’s great shores. This gives me a unique perspective, a sensitivity to culture, and an insatiable hunger to take full advantage of the opportunities open to its citizens—even those with the humblest of backgrounds.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I love my hometown of Flower Mound! It was 9th ranked “Most Livable Small City in the U.S.”, according to a study by Smart Asset, an online personal finance company. It’s one of the many reasons, I’d recommend the following places. • Handel’s ice cream – make sure to try coconut cream pie flavor! • Marty B’s – a must if you want the Texas dining experience. Aside from the amazing food, there’s outdoor family games, a firepit for s’mores, and party-size cabanas. • Giro’s Italian – voted the best pizzeria, winner of Best of Denton County 2020, and my place of employment. • Community Activity Center (CAC) – squeeze in a work out at my hometown’s gym! It is an amazing facility with friendly people. • Flower Mound High School FNL football game – a must! Plus, the 300+ member marching band performs amazing half-time shows! I am a little biased because I’m a squad leader. • You Connection Inc – a short drive to Plano, but quality community theatre.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Shout out to “Dora The Explorer”! Throughout my life, I’ve been told by my Filipino immigrant grandparents that I’m their “Return on Investment”. Their stories of sacrifice fueled my passion for excellence in everything I do. With the added pressure of being the oldest grandchild on both sides of a multi-ethnic family, I felt I could relate to my childhood hero, “Dora The Explorer”. She was brown, bilingual, independent, and an adventurer just like my two sets of grandparents. As part of the Artemis generation, I’ve always known that I wanted to become an engineer, an Air Force officer, and work for NASA. I am an explorer just like “Dora The Explorer” and my grandparents. I want to push myself while giving back to others. I want to help land an astronaut on Mars.
Zac Grimaldo Wilken