Lauren Hill, a freshman theater major, is one of this year's Brenau Scholars. (AJ Reynolds/Brenau University)

Brenau Scholar: Lauren Hill

Her first semester at Brenau was like a fairytale for musical theater major Lauren Hill of Flowery Branch, Georgia. She played the lead role of Belle in Gainesville Theatre Alliance’s production of Beauty and the Beast in November, in which only six freshmen out of 29 student actors were cast.

But this wasn’t her first foray into theater, nor even her first time performing at Brenau.

“I’ve been performing as long as I can remember and have pictures of me as a child performing on the Pearce Auditorium stage,” she says. “I am very fortunate to have grown up with parents that supported me in anything that I wanted to do. I am the person I am today because of their unwavering dedication and motivation to be the best that I could be.”

Hill was recruited to join the theater department during her high school sophomore year, when she was cast as the Baker’s Wife in Into the Woods. While she initially thought it would be an easy elective to fulfill her fine arts requirement, she realized how much she was getting out of theater. It made her a stronger performer, taught her how to care for and treat other people and how to be a team player and gave her a new sense of confidence. She began winning awards at international theater festivals and has played the roles of multiple Disney princesses – which made her a perfect fit as Belle in Beauty and the Beast.

When it came time to select a university, Hill’s high school theater director Mallory London Nonnemaker, WC ’09, who earned a bachelor’s in theater, encouraged her to apply to the university. Hill hadn’t considered Brenau, but she applied, took a full tour and – once she met some Brenau women and was interviewed for the Brenau Scholar program – she knew it was where she was meant to be.

“To be selected as a Brenau Scholar means the world to me, not only financially, but as an individual as well,” Hill says. “It’s such an honor to represent Brenau and its ideals. It is an honor that I do not take lightly, and it fills me with happiness as I walk the campus each and every day.”

Hill is also dedicated to her work as a Servant Leader. In December, she planned to go to Guatemala to serve children and families there through the ministry Hope for Guatemala, which positively impacts the lives of more than 1,000 people. She would love to continue her work in poverty-stricken communities overseas.

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