Topeka, Kan. - The National Resource Center for The First-Year Experience and Students in Transition has awarded Washburn University student and First-Year Experience (FYE) Peer Educator Lauren Frank a 2024 Jordan Smith Undergraduate Student Fellowship Award. Frank is one of five students nationally chosen as a recipient of this prestigious award.

The National Resource Center for The First-Year Experience and Students in Transition awards up to five fellowships to undergraduate students at the Annual Conference on The First-Year Experience. The purpose of the fellowship program is to advance the leadership skills and knowledge base of undergraduate students so that they may, in turn, use what they learn at the conference to enhance and encourage first-year student development on their respective campuses.

Frank, a physics major from Topeka, Kan., is a senior at Washburn University and this is her third year as an FYE Peer Educator.

Lauren Frank

James Barraclough, interim director of career engagement, said “Lauren’s ability to balance academics, campus involvement and job responsibilities impresses me daily. Her compassion and leadership qualities have helped her both develop an understanding of how to support first-year students and, as a senior peer educator, how to challenge her fellow peer educators to meet those unique needs. She is incredibly deserving of this recognition.” 

Frank shares her thoughts on Washburn’s FYE Program, “My time as a peer educator has completely shaped my time at Washburn. It has been the best decision I’ve made here. Each fall, I’ve gotten paired with a class and get to work with some amazing first-year students. I love getting to connect with them and seeing them around campus after they finish their first semester. My proudest moments are seeing my previous students take on leadership roles around campus, with some becoming peer educators themselves! For the last year, I’ve also had the opportunity to be one of the senior peer educators, getting to take on more of a leadership role within the FYE program. Our program is an amazing way to engage our first-year students and I’m proud of the work we do.”

This marks the fifth time in nine years a Washburn University student was awarded the fellowship. Previous winners include: 2019 graduate Shelby Herring, 2018 graduate Jenny Lieurance, 2017 graduate Jack Van Dam and 2016 graduate Kayla Johnson. 

“This is another example of what makes Washburn University special, student leaders committed to helping peers succeed,” said Dr. Alan Bearman, vice president for strategic enrollment management and student success and dean of university libraries. “We are immensely proud of Lauren and grateful that another one of our students is recognized as a Jordan Smith Fellow.”

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Joy Bailes
Director of Internal Communications and Brand Management
Telephone: (785) 670-2153
Cell: (785) 230-1648

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