By: Dezaray Barr
Lauren Carpenter graduated from Indiana Wesleyan University in 2017 with a bachelors degree in Convergent Journalism. Carpenter always wanted to attend a Christian college. Her brother, Travis, was two years older than her. “When I was a freshman in high school and he was a junior, he was looking into going to Indiana Wesleyan,” Carpenter said. “I looked on the website and loved everything I saw. The first time I stepped on campus was the end of my sophomore year of high school for a visit, and instantly I knew this was the college I was supposed to attend.”
As a journalism student in the Division of Communication & Theatre, Carpenter spent most of her time in Elder Hall. “I was super involved with The Sojourn and 94.3 The Fortress,” Carpenter shared. “I was even on-the-air my first month of college! Many hours were spent on the air, out on campus or in the community interviewing people, leading story idea meetings and writing articles.”
“Whenever I look back on my time at IWU, I always think about all of the amazing opportunities I had with the journalism department,” Carpenter said. “I feel so blessed I was able to be the Editor of The Sojourn, travel to different states with my fellow classmates to attend journalism conferences, make lasting friendships with my fellow communication majors and write some incredible stories.”
Attending IWU was the beginning of Carpenter making her faith her own. She had grown up in a Christian home, so she said this journey was easier for her. “I remember my junior year, in one of Dr. Greg Fiebig’s classes, we were talking about beliefs. I remember after hearing people speak, that the reasons I had my certain beliefs were because of what I learned growing up. I realized they weren’t my own, so I spent time figuring out what exactly I believed in. IWU definitely taught me to think more about my faith and take it seriously,” she shared.
After graduating in April of 2017, Carpenter spent five months as a reporter for a newspaper in Martinsville, Indiana. Last summer, she realized that she wasn’t loving what she was doing. “I started a social media page for my reporting and thought about how much I loved doing that and wished I could more. Also, I wanted to feel like I was making a difference, and I didn’t feel that way with this job. About one week later, I went to dinner with my parents’ small group and I met Brian Copes, who was in my parent’s small group. He found out more about me and asked if I was looking for a job, and proceeded to hand me his business card,” Carpenter explained.
Copes is the President and CEO of HVAF, an organization that assists homeless at-risk veterans and their families, and they were looking to hire someone who would handle their social media and PR. “I thought it sounded like the perfect job for me,” Carpenter said with enthusiasm. “The next month, I had my interview and started in October!”
As the Advancement Coordinator for HVAF, Carpenter runs all of HVAF’s social media accounts, sends out press releases, make contacts with local media, attends networking events, creates a monthly newsletter, assists with fundraising and more. She said, “I make sure people know HVAF’s story and what all we are doing to serve our veterans.”
Written by Dezaray Barr, PR Specialist for the Alumni Office. Dezaray is a junior Strategic Communication, Journalism and Honors Humanities triple major at Indiana Wesleyan University in the John Wesley Honors College. Visit Dez’s website at www.dezaraybarr.weebly.com.