Former Bruin Athlete Chases Career Dreams
Originally, Lauren Jurek, who was born and raised in Bellevue, Nebraska, wasn’t even considering Bellevue University as an option for college. This changed when she was approached by the softball coach with an opportunity to earn her education while playing softball.
“When looking into it further — meeting with the faculty and staff and speaking with players about their experiences — it became clear that this is where I wanted to spend the next five years attending school,” she said. “While going from high school to college is enough of an adjustment for the traditional college student with new staff, faculty, classmates, teammates and the athletic expectations that come along with it, having an environment like the one Bellevue University provided gives students the support needed to be successful.”
Jurek attended Bellevue University from fall 2018 until May 2023, as she took her COVID-19 year of eligibility to continue playing on the softball team. In addition to her time on the field, Jurek served as a Residence and Student Life student worker, for which she was named the 2022-2023 Student Employee of the Year.
Jurek also kept busyas a double major in health science and public health in education, which she chose to pursue because the general concept of health science has always interested her.
“I knew I wanted to work with the public population, but when I first started college, I didn’t know how that’d play out,” she shared. “Within a couple of years of going to Bellevue, I realized nursing could be the right fit.”
Knowing she wanted to finish her softball career at Bellevue, Jurek started looking into Bachelor of Science in Nursing programs around the metro for post-graduation to make sure she had all the prerequisites necessary to start nursing classes right away.
Throughout my time at going to Bellevue, I’ve built friendships with my coaches, other athletic teams' coaches, administrators, deans and even the president of the university, because they’re always available.
Today, Jurek is pursuing her BSN degree at Clarkson College and working at a local hospital as a Certified Nursing Assistant, where she’s gaining hands-on experience. She still frequently studies in Bellevue University’s campus library, as it’s close to home.
As Jurek reflects on her time at the university, some memories that stand out most were traveling the country with her teammates and attending different athletics events on campus.
“With many students showing up to events, it really brought the school community together,” she said. “The different student activities and events that were put on by Residence and Student Life were always fun, as well. From trivia night to bingo, bowling and movie nights, there was constantly events going on at campus.”
Jurek was also chosen to represent the softball team in the groundbreaking ceremony for the new field house on campus and achieved a number of softball accolades, including 1st Team NAIA All-American, Conference Pitcher of the Year and a three-time Omaha World Herald 1st Team All-Midlands Player.
But what impacted her time at Bellevue University the most were the faculty and staff she encountered.
“Throughout my time at going to Bellevue, I’ve built friendships with my coaches, other athletic team’s coaches, administrators, deans and even the president of the university, because they’re always available,” she said.
Having close access to those kinds of mentors made a lasting impression on Jurek, especially as she enters a profession where she’ll help people from all kinds of backgrounds each and every day.