What do you do? (job, community involvement): I like to say that I went to college and never left. I’ve worked at my alma mater, the College of St. Scholastica, since 2008 and in February transitioned into a new role as associate director of communications. Put simply, I get to help tell the story of who we are and what makes us a special, transformative place. And I am living proof! Nearly 20 years ago, I was a first-generation college student, pursuing a degree in communications and dreaming about the stories I would someday tell. Somehow I ended up right where I am supposed to be. Similarly, as a native Duluthian, giving back to this community has shaped me just as much as my experience in higher education has.

I currently serve on Grandma’s Marathon and Northwood Children’s Services boards of directors and am an active member of the Duluth NAACP Education Committee. I’m also a part of a newly established group called Minnesota Arrowhead Region of Transracial Adoptees, a place where fellow adoptees can build affinity and find connections with one another in the Twin Ports.

What is important to you? My family. My friends. Our collective well-being. This vibrant and innovative community. Belonging. Authenticity. Compassion. Curiosity.

My Korean ethnicity and my identity as a person of color have also become increasingly meaningful to me, especially as I consider how these shared identities will impact the worldview of my 9-year-old daughter, Layla, and 6-year-old son, Felix. Parenthood is funny, though, they have already learned to embrace and celebrate their differences and now they’re teaching me about radical self-love. I’m pretty lucky to be theirs.

And through it all, I have the greatest partner in my husband, Keith. We met our freshman year of college and he’s been by my side ever since, supporting and loving me unconditionally.

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How do you spend your free time? Usually outside. Hiking Lester Park or swimming at our top-secret spot in the summer; skiing at Spirit Mountain or skating the rinks at Portman in the winter. Right now, I’m training for an October marathon so most all of my free time has been spent logging miles along the Lakewalk (and crossing my fingers for a tailwind). If I’m inside, I’m probably reading. Or watching "Ted Lasso." Or tending to my plant babies. Or mindlessly scrolling through TikTok, a pandemic-related pastime that has brought me a ridiculous amount of joy.

From nominator: "Laura's recent promotion to associate director of communications has allowed her to expand her work in diversity, equity and inclusion at the college. She is overseeing and executing collegewide communications, but she is also working closely with our Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion to not only influence change at the college, but also ensure we are positive social actors in the broader Duluth community." — Erin Kreeger