Rhode Island native rows her way to graduation

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KINGSTON, R.I. – May 7, 2009 Although Lauren Killea had been an athlete for most of her life, she didn’t think she would be able to compete at the varsity level in college. But that was before she was introduced to the life of a rower.

“I played soccer when I was young and I was a runner in high school, but by no means did I have the skills necessary to be a college athlete in those sports. I was a dancer for 16 years so I considered continuing with that at URI, but then I was introduced to the world of rowing and suddenly I was a student-athlete in a D1 sport,” stated Killea.

“Because we are a D1 varsity sport, we are expected to work hard and be 100 percent committed to the team. There’s no option of sleeping in if you’re tired one day. We show up everyday and work hard. Shelagh (Donohoe), Jessie (Lizzy), and Bridgid (Myers) are amazing coaches and they push us to our full potential everyday. I have definitely enjoyed my time rowing all four years here at URI. I have met some great people, formed lasting relationships, learned a great deal about myself, and had a lot of fun. But it hasn’t been without a lot of hard work and sacrifice,” stated Killea, describing her experience with the rowing team.

It is always hard to balance a sport and education, but Killea felt the balancing act made her a better student because it kept her focused and forced her to manage her time effectively.

“Especially in the spring when we travel every weekend for races, I learned it was crucial to stay on top of my work and plan ahead. I am definitely a better student because of the team,” Killea stated.

Killea has many experiences at URI but she feels that one of her most exciting moments was getting off the water after rowing in the last race of the Atlantic 10 Conference championship in 2008. The team captured the A10s title for the first time.

Killea also conducted environmental research through the URI Coastal Fellows program for two years. Her first year in the program, she worked with Professor John King at URI’s Graduate School of Oceanography on the Bay Map project. She helped map Narragansett Bay and assist researchers with their work. She focused on Ninigret Pond, estimating the population of mantis shrimp. Killea also worked with researcher Lucie Maranda and Associate Dean David Smith at GSO on a project involving testing the effectiveness of chlorine dioxide as a treatment for ballast water on a commercial cargo ship during her second year as a Coastal Fellow.

Killea, of Coventry, started at the University of Connecticut and decided to transfer to the University of Rhode Island and be in her home state. She aspired to be a science teacher and realized she would want to teach in RI so transferring was a smart choice.

“Juggling classes to meet the requirements for biology, marine biology, general science and education made it hard for me to build strong bonds with my teachers, but in some of my smaller education classes I definitely made some great connections with Professors such as Jay Fogleman, Diane Kern and Julie Coiro. I learned so much working with the Coastal Fellows program and can thank all of the professors I worked with there to help build my knowledge base in the marine sciences,” said Killea.

Pictured above

Lauren Killea rows with teammates on the narrow river during her grueling morning workouts. Photo submitted by Lauren Killea