Brianne Lauro has left her mark on Colorado State University, and beyond.
Last year, she was the recipient of two of the most prestigious scholarships established by Congress and served as a congressional intern at U.S. Rep. Joe Neguse’s district office in Fort Collins. While at CSU, Lauro worked as a research assistant for a National Science Foundation study on Indigenous data stewardship led by Assistant Professor Dominique David-Chavez.
She is a leader in Artemis Sportswomen, an organization that promotes women leaders in the conservation movement and previously served as an outreach coordinator for Backcountry Hunters & Anglers and Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences in the Warner College of Natural Resources.
Lauro has also taken an active role in the Fort Collins community. She volunteered at Bennett Elementary and Boltz Middle schools, assisting in gardening and tree planting projects with students and providing science lessons on human-wildlife conflicts and ecology.
As a nod to her strengths as a future scientist, Lauro presented at conferences held by the American Geophysical Union, University of Arizona’s Native Nations Institute and Environmental Protection Agency’s Tribal Science Council.
When asked about the accolades she’s received over the years, Lauro — who hails from Kailua-Kona, Hawaii — remained humble.
“These awards reflect more than what I’ve done,” she said. “They embody the sacrifices made by the people who came before me. Just a few generations ago, my family labored on Hawaii’s plantations. They’ve always worked hard. In essence, the table I eat at is one that was set long ago.”
In their own words
Q. What was the most rewarding part of your CSU experience?
Having a community of my own. I never thought I’d have that. During my freshman orientation, I remember when they welcomed us in Moby Arena. I looked around at all the other first-year students who filled the entire arena alone.
“How do I not get lost in all of this?” I thought to myself.
“From the start, I had the most incredible people come into my life. From faculty to staff, to other students, they came in and supported me. They each nurtured me like I had something special inside me. With love like that, you begin to carry yourself differently — do things differently.”
In high school, I graduated as one of 36 students. Coming to a university like CSU, I thought I’d lose the opportunity to have close relationships, and a fear of mine was that I would never feel known. But from the start, I had the most incredible people come into my life. From faculty to staff, to other students, they came in and supported me. They each nurtured me like I had something special inside me. With love like that, you begin to carry yourself differently — do things differently.
Q. What obstacles, if any, did you have to overcome to reach graduation?
Being away from home. I missed home so much. I never felt that kind of sadness before — the kind that aches and that you feel deep in your spirit. I can’t describe the feeling of seeing hundreds of faces each day yet not knowing one of them — or having nothing or no one familiar to return back to. To be away from the touch of my family, to not breathe in the air of home, that was hard. College made me learn to be at peace by myself. People came, and I’m thankful for that. But I thank God for those unpleasant parts of this four-year process.
Q. What is your advice to incoming students at CSU?
First, this is a time where you have the opportunity to explore what kind of person you want to be. That kind of refinement in character and in values, that’s important. Do take time to be with others but also lean into those moments when you find yourself alone. Reflect — and adjust accordingly.