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When it comes to globe-trotting senior and softball savage Laura Roed, every challenge has the potential to be a home run. Roed came to IYA out of a desire to bridge her passions in art, technology, and business. Along the way, she’s forged friendships and met like-minded innovators, including classmate Lauren Yen, who together co-founded Frontida Records, a digital health solutions startup that’s making an impact on the healthcare of refugees thousands of miles away in Greece.
Tell me a little bit about your journey to the Academy? What were you looking for in an undergraduate program?
I grew up in Michigan and spent most of my time either in the art studio or playing sports. I knew I wanted to do something creative and artistic with my life, but I also had a logical drive and thrived in math and science. When looking at colleges, I did not want to give up anything so I assumed I would have to double major in business and art, or in engineering and art. I lucked out when I stumbled on the Academy and saw everything I was looking for in one major: art, technology, and business.
How have you evolved over the past four years?
Over the last four years, I have become both humbled and more confident in my own and others’ abilities. I have become more self-aware of my strengths and weaknesses and gained a much better understanding of what the “real world” is like for all kinds of different people. Freshman year I thought the world was big and scary, now the world feels smaller and more tangible, but still extremely complex. The thing I believe now which I didn’t before is that with the right team, anything is possible and if you put in the time, you CAN make a difference in the world.
Describe an Academy moment that you’ll never forget.
When Ben Wan, Chris Lewis, and I pulled an all-nighter soldering wire and LED lights for our mural project freshman year!
What advice would you give to a freshman?
Be the person who works hard on the group projects, don’t be the one that skates by and lets your teammates do the work. You’ll learn way more if you're committed and you’ll also build a better reputation for yourself.
Describe one thing most people don’t know about you?
I play club softball and sophomore year we were in the top 14 teams in the country and made it to the World Series in Georgia! I was named West Coast shortstop of the year by the NCSA that year too!
What is the one thing your parents taught you that you’d like to share?
Don’t worry about things you can’t control.
Is there an inspirational quote you live by?
“Don't be afraid to give up the good to go for the great.”
What goals do you have post-graduation?
1. Be happy and make other people happy
2. Find challenging problems
3. Rethink the way the world works
Describe a passion project you’re currently working on and how you came up with the idea for it?
I’m working on building digital health solutions for international medical non-profits. So far, we have launched a beta test in Greece and are beginning build-outs with two other clients. My friend Lauren Yen came up with the idea after we spent time volunteering in a refugee camp, and we’ve been working on it for over a year now. That’s my main project right now, but as a side note: I really want to write a book, I just haven’t started it yet.
What are the essential things you always keep in your backpack?
Computer, design journal, and a water bottle.
Favorite app or website?
Favorite class at USC and why?
CE486 (Previously CE499 Innovation in Engineering and Design for Global Challenges) The professors Dr. David Gerber, Burcin Berecik-Gerber, Brad Cracchiola, and Dan Druhora are phenomenal, and the class 100% changed my life and perspective on what is possible to accomplish.
Favorite way to de-stress?