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English Major Lauren VanderLind is Finlandia Class of 2009 Valedictorian

April 22, 2009

HANCOCK - Finlandia University Class of 2009 Valedictorian Lauren VanderLind graduates this spring with an overall grade point average of 4.0. She has completed a bachelor of arts in English with concentrations in philosophy and religion.

Lauren VanderLindLauren began her studies at Finlandia in 2006 as an Elementary Education major. She switched to English after taking ENG 104 with Assistant Professor Timo Koskinen.

"Timo encouraged me to consider graduate school down the line, and I enjoyed the literary analysis and creative writing in the course so much that I decided English was what I wanted to focus on," Lauren explains.

"It may sound odd, but I was hit by a car that semester," Lauren continues. "If it weren't for that, I probably wouldn't have made the switch. My accident provided me with the material for the literary journalism piece Timo had assigned."

In fact, Lauren notes that writing that piece helped her deal with the trauma of the accident. She found that articulating her experience in creative writing was intoxicating.

"I knew I wanted to keep writing for the rest of my life," she says.

Lauren attended Northern Michigan University for three semesters, then took some time off to figure out what she wanted to do with her life. After about a year and a half, she decided to apply to Finlandia.

Lauren feels she has grown quite a lot during her three years at Finlandia. She notes that in different ways all of her professors have been important in her education. The same goes for the classes, most of which pertained directly to her major and concentrations. She says she's enjoyed it all.

"If I had to name three things I've gained at Finlandia, they would have to be confidence, a direction in life, and a voice," she says.

For her senior thesis project, Lauren wrote a one-woman play that she hopes to publicly perform someday. She believes its universal message will resonate with many people.

"It's entitled 'I Hate Everyone,' and expresses the struggle between my judgmental side and the part of me that strives to be a good Christian," Lauren explains. "It's about my own hypocrisy. I think that people should treat one another with kindness and respect, yet I find myself making judgments about others all the time."

Later this year, Lauren will begin to apply to graduate schools for admission in fall 2010. She'd like to complete an MFA in creative writing, and someday study for a masters degree or doctorate in religious studies.

In the meantime, she hopes to find a job where she can make use of her English degree. "I'd really like to be a tutor," she notes.

Lauren graduated from Houghton High School in 2003. She lives in Hancock with her husband, Blake. Her parents, Joan and Marshall Logue, live in Houghton. When she has downtime, Lauren says that she likes to read, listen to music, and spend time with her husband, her cat, and her friends.