Lauren Champion ’24 has seen firsthand the powerful impact that an arts education can have on young minds. The former Denton ISD and Grand Prairie ISD theater director marveled as a diverse group of middle school students put aside their differences to become a cohesive team working on a one-act play. And she’s witnessed second graders question why the Montagues and Capulets were being mean to each other after watching an age-appropriate production of “Romeo and Juliet.”
Wanting to play a part in helping more youngsters have these types of experiences, Champion began considering her career options. Eventually, she settled on the idea of working for a nonprofit that financially supports groups involved in arts education, child welfare, youth development, ministry and human rights.
But Champion knew she would need to learn more about nonprofits and philanthropy to successfully transition from K-12 teacher to development officer. That realization led her to Texas A&M University’s Bush School of Government and Public Service, which attracted her because of President George H.W. Bush’s commitment to public service and humility.
Yet, Champion wasn’t sure she could financially afford graduate school, and because she suffers from a chronic illness, she was concerned whether she could juggle the rigors of graduate school with working full time. Fortunately, the Argyle, Texas, resident received a scholarship that is defraying her college costs, allowing her to pursue a Master of Public Service and Administration with a focus on nonprofit management and a concentration in fundraising. “When I was notified about the scholarship, I realized the Lord had made it clear that I should take this opportunity,” she said. “The scholarship truly helped me in immense ways.”