What do the UIW synchronized swimming team captain, a student double majoring in Mathematics and Mechatronics Engineering, the president of the UIW Society of Women Engineers, a student athlete advisory committee representative, a San Antonio Math Scholar and the vice president of the Engineering Club have in common? Well – they’re all the same person. Meet Lauren Rein, everyone.

According to Synchronized Swimming Head Coach Elizabeth Gerdin, Lauren is just as impressive in person as her resume would lead you to believe.

“Lauren has been a true leader for our team and in the classroom,” said Gerdin. “She was our senior team captain this year and [was] voted on by the team to be awarded the prestigious Cardinal Spirit Award. She has been accepted to the master’s program for Structural Engineering at the University of Manchester, ranked one of the top universities in the world.”

She’s right. Come fall, and after completing her internship at Arizona-based engineering consulting firm, Western Technologies Inc., Lauren plans to head overseas to study at the 64th “Best Global University” according to U.S. News and World Report. But before she goes, she’s reminiscing on her time at UIW and the people who mean the most to her.

“I have crossed paths with so many amazing people during my time at UIW, it’s hard to list them all,” she explained. Still, she tried. “First would be my coaches, Elizabeth Gerdin and Emily Tucker who gave me so many opportunities to grow as a person and athlete. I also have to thank Mandy Pulido, our amazing life skills coordinator, Dr. Theresa Martines, my former advisor and the most incredible and involved professor, and finally, Dr. Santiago, synchro’s sport psychologist who takes such good care of us.”

While Lauren emphasizes that she could go on and on about the people at UIW who have impacted her journey, there’s one thing she knows for sure – their greatest gift to her was helping her find herself.

“During my time at UIW, I have found and strengthened my voice as a leader,” she explained. “I have learned to stand up for myself and what I believe in, and how to stay true to myself.”

If you follow Lauren’s UIW journey, you can see this process of self-discovery happen year after year. Not a native Texan, Lauren made the move to San Antonio as a freshman from Phoenix, Arizona. What could have been an isolating and nerve-wracking experience, Lauren made the best of, not only by joining existing organizations, but by starting one of her own as well. Lauren co-founded UIW’s Society of Women Engineers and later became the group’s president.

“This is one of my most gratifying accomplishments,” she said of her involvement in the Society of Women Engineers. “I feel I have helped start an organization that will continue to empower women in STEM.”  

That wasn’t all she accomplished in her four years at UIW. In fact, Lauren climbed the ladder in every student organization and team she was part of, eventually earning positions of leadership with the full support of her teammates and mentors. Her favorite position, though, was serving as synchronized swimming’s representative on the Student Athlete Advisory Committee, because it allowed her the opportunity to advocate for causes she was most passionate about. This balance of athletic and academic success as well as community involvement is a difficult chord to strike, but Lauren struck it beautifully, and it is what she is most proud of looking back on her time as a Cardinal.

Despite her many contributions to the UIW community and the great success she has had as a Cardinal, Lauren admits a bit sheepishly that what she’ll miss the most is “ending every day at the ‘Caf’ [dining hall] for dinner with friends and teammates, talking about everything and laughing together.”

As she prepares to spread her wings and soar on to her next grand adventure, Lauren knows she has a support system cheering her on.

“[My parents] are my biggest fans and have supported me in so many ways,” she said. “In addition, my [synchro] team has become my second family. It’s become even more clear to me now that we are all at home that I will always have them in my life as a support system, no matter the distance or circumstance.”

When asked what her advice is for any incoming freshmen, Lauren let her most recent experiences – experiences that have helped her realize what and who she values most – do the talking.

“Enjoy every single moment,” she said. “It really will go faster than you think…it may even end a few months too soon.”

Sad to be leaving her Cardinal family, but armed with an abundance of memories and forever-friendships, Lauren is ready for her next chapter. No matter where that takes her, her UIW family will be watching with pride and cheering her on.

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