Intern Spotlight: Lauren Spencer

Author: Staff

LEO’s undergraduate interns gain real-world experience working on research to better understand and unleash effective poverty interventions. They work on all aspects of our projects including exploratory research, data analysis, project management, marketing and communications, and administration.

Our 2021 Academic Year intern class includes 12 of Notre Dame’s best and brightest students. Meet one of them now.

Meet Lauren

Class of 2023

Lauren Spencer

Lauren is a Computer Science and Economics major from Randolph, New Jersey. This school year she is returning to the undergraduate LEO team as a Research Assistant, where she works closely with LEO faculty, analyzing data to shed light on the complexities of poverty.

We asked Lauren what first drew her to LEO.

“I took a gap year before coming to college,” she explained, “and a large part of it involved poverty-related service work in Ghana and South Africa—building the first middle school in Akropong, Ghana, teaching math to elementary schoolers, and volunteering at a daycare for victims of domestic abuse. One of the major issues I wrestled with was whether our work was making a tangible impact for the communities we encountered, or if it just served as temporary emotional support. LEO's mission appeals to me because it offers quantitative answers to whether a poverty service initiative is making a tangible impact—and if it's not, then we have the opportunity to change that and turn poverty reduction into a science, not a guessing game.”

She’s excited to continue such meaningful work this year and continue to build relationships with the LEO team. “I'm looking forward to getting experience with many different projects this year, both on the quantitative and qualitative end. I hope to get exposure to a variety of sectors in nonprofit work, and to work with data as well as talk to service providers about improving poverty intervention implementation. I'm also very much looking forward to the LEO tailgate this fall!” Lauren shared.

On campus at Notre Dame Lauren also serves as one of the Vice Presidents of the Asian Business Society, a club focused on Asian and Asian-American empowerment in the business world. When asked about her favorite spot on campus Lauren replied, “I love running around the lakes and stopping by the grotto when I'm done.”