Student Spotlight - Laurel Conrad
Laurel Conrad, a Junior at Cornell University, grew up in a conservative home but says that isn't the main reason she holds conservative values today: "Time away from home at college has simply reinforced my values and strengthened my opinions. I am a conservative because I love liberty."
As a student at Cornell, Laurel has faced the same challenges that many of her conservative peers face across the country. She cites the lack of a conservative voice on campus as one issue. Laurel also elaborated further by saying that "many professors naturally assume that students are liberal, and conservatives often become the subject of jokes in class. Insulting conservatives is completely accepted and seems to be a cultural norm on campus."
Inspired by the Luce Policy Institute events that she has been attending since 7th grade, Laurel was motivated to become an active member of 2 conservative clubs on campus and also writes regularly for the conservative newspaper, the Cornell Review. Laurel enjoys writing a conservative perspective saying, "I hope that my writing shows others on campus that they are not alone in their beliefs."
Laurel looks to Phyllis Schlafly as the conservative woman leader she most admires. She was inspired by Mrs. Schlafly to pursue a major in Government after hearing her speak at a Luce Policy Institute event where Mrs. Schlafly was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award. Laurel was most inspired by how Mrs. Schlafly stood up for traditional values and encouraged women to become more involved in policy debates and leadership. She is spending her summer as a 2012 Luce Policy Institute intern and is looking forward to hosting a great conservative woman like Mrs. Schlafly on her campus next year.
Laurel stressed the importance of finding a supportive group of like-minded friends on campus and encourages young women not to be intimidated by outspoken liberal professors and classmates. Her advice to students is to "brush up on the issues, figure out what you truly believe in, and then never be afraid to share your opinion."
In ten years, Laurel says she would like to be "shaping the perspective in Washington, whether it be through journalism, policy work, or elected leadership." She also hopes to be raising a family. With all her motivation and drive to defend conservative values, we know she will succeed in whatever she does!