Student Spotlight Lauren Gillingham

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Senior Lauren Gillingham is a four-year member of the undefeated Women’s Basketball team, and is currently serving her second year as Captain. As a Health Science major with a double minor in Psychology and Biology, she excels both academically as an Anatomy and Physiology tutor for Student Support Services, as well as athletically, especially since scoring her 1,000th career point as a Lady Gyrene. The student-athlete hailing from Estero, FL has a collegiate career that impresses everyone she meets, and we cannot wait to see what’s in store for her future. Be sure to come out to the next home game at the Tom Golisano Field House this Saturday at 4 PM and support our Lady Gyrenes!

Hi, Lauren! Why did you choose to come to Ave Maria University?

My old high school’s assistant basketball coach, Elmer Tremont, told me about Ave, because he actually coached the current coach Bob Batson. That’s what initially prompted me to look into going to school and playing basketball at Ave.

So, you’ve been on the Women’s Basketball team all 4 years! Tell me about the Lady Gyrenes. How’s your season been going? 

So far, we are undefeated! As Captain, I’m super excited and proud of the team. Since I was a freshman, I was able to build a foundation here as a college athlete from the very beginning and stay consistent with the help of my coach. Coach Bob Batson took the time to get to know who I am as a player and member of the team. This season has been great, and I believe a huge reason as to why is because we didn’t graduate anyone last year—basically, we had more time to mesh together as a team under the helpful guidance of our coach. 

Congratulations on your 1,000th Career Point! What an impressive feat to achieve. How did you feel?

Thank you! It was so exciting. When I scored, my coach called a timeout and they announced it over the loud speaker. My coach gave me a huge hug, and I teared up a bit—I just love Coach Batson, he’s seriously awesome. I was just happy that we were winning, because that’s always my main concern when I’m on the court. I’m 100% about the team and don’t really like to focus on myself, so it was more so the fact that I was helping the team win than actually achieving such an honor.

Putting basketball aside—what did you do last summer in regard to your pre-professional journey?

I had an internship with the Braden Clinic, and I also worked as a medical filer in a doctor’s office. It was a great experience to intern and work in the medical field, and it was aligned with my studies. In addition to that, I actually shadowed a Sports Broadcaster and got to know what the job entails. He wrote and researched his own stories on the sports he was covering, so it was awesome to see the process going into that and how much he loved his job.

What are your plans post-graduation?

Originally, I was planning on going to PA school after graduation. I actually went into Senior year planning on doing just that—and it’s definitely still a consideration—but I’m actually looking into going to graduate school abroad for Communications and playing basketball for another year. After being so busy these past four years with school, basketball, and tutoring, I think it would be a great experience to explore other options of further study that includes another year of playing the sport I love. Also, I found myself growing more interested in Communications and Marketing, which is funny considering my major! However, I would definitely be open to exploring career options in those fields. So, as of right now, I’m not quite sure with what I exactly want to do after graduation but I’m thankful that I have many options to consider. 

It sounds like you have ample opportunities after graduation! In light of that, how would you determine success?

I'd say that I determine success based off of whether or not I'm living up to my fullest potential. I never want to look back on certain things in my life and think, "I should have done better." I strive to do my best in everything that I do, and I think that if I do just that and have no regrets in my performance, I'd call myself successful.

Do you have a certain philosophy you live by in regard to your studies and work ethic? What class helped facilitate that philosophy?

After being apart of the International Baccalaureate Society in high school while playing basketball, I was used to a regimented schedule in which I had to set aside times devoted to my studies. However, in college of course. I've had to study way more. My experience prior has helped me always strive to strike a balance between academics and athletics, and Anatomy and Physiology definitely helped me form my study habits currently. That class taught me how to study effectively and I'm thankful for that, especially as a student-athlete. Also, it's important as a student to use your time wisely and always try to be productive, even in your free time, because it will reflect in your grades and performance in class.

As a student, athlete, and tutor all in one, who do you trust and depend on to get you through times of stress?

My older brother. I go to him with all my problems, or if I just need someone to talk to. We've always been very close, but as we have gotten older, I find myself turning to him whenever I'm overwhelmed or stressed out for reassurance. I'm so glad to have that close relationship with him.

What was your most rewarding college experience at Ave?

I have a few! Playing basketball in general is a reward in and of itself, especially being apart of a team like the Lady Gyrenes. Everyone is so supportive of one another and it's so refreshing to play in an environment that encourages you to do your best, both on and off the field. This season has been incredible and I've never been more proud to be a member of the team. Also, playing for Coach Bob Batson has been an rewarding experience because he's an amazing coach and person, and he's the only coach who has been here since the beginning of Ave Maria University. To have a coach so invested in not only our team, but in our university community, definitely makes my experience as a player that much more memorable.