Core Program Student

Named Reynolds Foundation Fellow

Loren Williams comes to NYU from Fort Worth, Texas, by way of NYU London in her first year and NYU Washington, DC in the fall of her sophomore year. During her semester in Washington, DC, Loren was named a Catherine B. Reynolds Foundation Fellow. The award, which supports inspiring excellence in young people, gave Loren the opportunity to intern at the U.S. Department of Education. We caught up with Loren this semester, which is her first at NYU's New York City campus and her last in Liberal Studies. After completing the Core Program, Loren will transition to NYU's Silver School of Social Work to earn her bachelor's degree. 

What was the most surprising thing about studying at NYU London for your first year?
I’ve found that when you go to a new country, everything is surprising. Grocery shopping, crossing the street, the professors -- it's all different. Actually, I was probably most surprised at how well everything went considering this was my first time away from home or outside of the country.

Why did you decide to study at NYU Washington, DC, in sophomore year?
I knew as an LS sophomore I had the option to study away again for one semester. I chose DC because it allowed me to try my hand at government and politics but also to be closer to home for the holidays and spend some weekends in New York with the friends I made while in London.

What was the best moment of your study away experiences?
During my last few weeks in London, I would wake up early and go on a run. I ran to Buckingham Palace, across the Waterloo and Tower Bridges, and to the London Eye. The best day was when I ran to the top of Primrose Hill; I could see the entire city. It gave me a great opportunity to reflect on the year I’d had and see all of London one last time.

Is it challenging coming to New York City for the first time as a spring semester sophomore?
It’s challenging in that by now most people have found their niche--a group or a club. Coming to Washington Square as a second semester sophomore really forces you out of your comfort zone to find where you belong. I've enjoyed going to different talks and meetings hosted by student organizations to get to know people with similar interests and pick up information along the way. 

What interests you about social work?
I really have an interest in people and improving the quality of life for those who, like me, come from underprivileged backgrounds. There are so many resources available and I think it’s important to make those resources better and more widely accessible, both locally and globally.

What opportunities have you had through NYU to impact the lives of others?
In London, I worked with one of my professors editing film projects for students with autism. Additionally, while in DC, I worked with Serve Your City -- a local nonprofit that connects families in underserved neighborhoods with academic and athletic resources. Both experiences confirmed for me that there is no one way to improve education, better a community, or alleviate poverty. Rather, it takes a host of approaches and programs. 

What did you learn as an intern at the U.S. Department of Education?
While at the Department, and in DC in general, I learned the power of networking. There are hundreds of education and social justice events held in the city every week, making it easy to learn something new or meet someone who wants to help you get ahead. As a college student, it's important to be comfortable navigating these spaces.

What does it mean to you to be named a Catherine B. Reynolds Foundation fellow?
This was the first outside scholarship I’d ever received for my undergraduate education. I felt that someone really believed in my potential and my vision for my future and wanted to invest in the person I want to become. I felt blessed that my hard work had been validated and inspired to continue seeking greater opportunities.

Where do you hope to be in 5 years?
I hope to be starting or finishing my law degree.

How will Liberal Studies stay with you as you complete your bachelor's degree at Silver?
The most important thing I’ve learned in LS is to take opportunities that are given to me, regardless of how impractical or difficult they seem. I have so much confidence in myself and hope for the future after my time in the LS Core Program.

Describe Liberal Studies in one word.
Opportunity.