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Laken Groll ’20 recently graduated from The University of Olivet with a biology degree. She focused on pre-medical studies and started her career with Pfizer, a pharmaceutical company, after graduation. Regardless of where Laken’s path takes her, she’s grateful to have the support and encouragement of the OC family, especially her professors and volleyball teammates.

Hear more about Laken’s college journey firsthand.

I chose The University of Olivet because I loved the size of the campus and wanted to play volleyball. Morgan Mauldin, one of the girls I played club volleyball with, was also thinking about attending Olivet and when she went on her recruiting visit, she saw my name on Coach Megan Merchant’s whiteboard with all the possible recruits. After her visit, she texted me and asked me if I was going to commit to Olivet and at that point, I was deciding between two schools. We soon decided that we were both going to commit to The University of Olivet to play volleyball and be roommates. We were roommates throughout our entire time at Olivet and became extremely close friends!

Playing on the women’s varsity volleyball team while at The University of Olivet was a great experience. I met so many great people, and we got to take part in so many life-changing opportunities, including exploring the beautiful waterfalls in Oregon, playing with a deaf team in Washington, D.C., and traveling to South Africa in December 2019.
During our trip to South Africa, we visited and volunteered at an orphanage. The orphanage was such an eye-opening experience and made me realize how fortunate we are. While we were there, we painted a house, bought the children shoes for Christmas and bought them dinner of their choice, which happened to be KFC. Most of the kids were running around on the rocks and concrete with bare feet, but they did not seem to care. They were just excited to be playing with their friends. One of the older boys that was in the orphanage even made a soccer ball out of newspaper, sheets and tape. That experience was shocking and made me realize that we don’t always need the newest and best things, we just need to be grateful and appreciative for what we have. This trip will always hold a special place in my heart.

I originally went into college as an exercise science major with the hopes of becoming a physical therapist. At some point in my sophomore year, I decided that I wanted to change my career path and explore something new. I had been to physical therapy myself many times and decided that it was not for me. With the help of my advisers, I switched my major to biology with a concentration in pre-medical studies. I would like to work in the field of in vitro fertilization. The idea of helping someone grow their family when they didn’t think it was possible sounds like such a rewarding career and something that I want to be part of. I recently got a job working at Pfizer, and I am excited to see where this new opportunity takes me!

The small class sizes at OC are really nice because you can build close relationships with your professors. You are a name to them rather than a number. Also, the campus is small so you get to know a lot of different people, which is fun because everywhere you go you are probably going to know at least one person!

Throughout the three and a half years that I attended The University of Olivet, my advisers, professors and coaches were always there for me if I needed anything at all — whether it was school-related or a personal issue. Every single one of them pushed me to be the best that I could be, and that benefited me both during college and after graduation. I still have a close relationship with a few of my professors and coach.
Being a Comet allowed me to grow in ways that I never expected and gave me friendships that I will cherish for a lifetime!

Learn more about The University of Olivet by contacting the Office of Admission at 269-749-7635 or admissions@uolivet.edu.


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