What do China, Washington, D.C., and Cary, North Carolina, have in common? All three places have played a prominent role in the life of CCS alumna Lauren Greenwood. Lauren recently took a few moments away from her job in the U.S. Senate to share where God has led her over the past eight years and how CCS helped her to prepare for that journey.

How many years did you attend CCS? What year did you graduate?

I attended CCS for thirteen years and graduated in 2011.

Where did you attend college and graduate school, and what did you study?

I hold a M.A. in diplomacy and international relations with a concentration in foreign policy analysis and global negotiation and conflict management from Seton Hall University. I am also a graduate of Appalachian State University, where I completed a degree in global studies, Chinese, and teaching English as second language.

How did you develop an interest in China?

During the summer between my junior and senior year of high school, I had the opportunity to participate in an exchange trip to China through a company operated by a CCS family. It was truly a life-changing experience for me, and I am thankful to have shared those initial China memories with CCS friends. Throughout my higher ed years, I was able to travel back to China three more times to teach English at Northeastern University in Shenyang, study the language through the State Department’s Critical Language Program, and also work at the Center for China and Globalization, a think tank in Beijing.  

What kinds of work opportunities have opened up for you over the past few years?

Most recently, I accepted a position in the U.S. Senate, where I serve as a Legislative Correspondent in the office of Senator John Thune. In this role, I work on tech and telecom policy as well as financial services, tax, science, space, and education issues. I am really enjoying hearing from constituents and Americans across the country about the challenges and questions that concern them most, and seeing how that shapes our policy decisions.

Part of what attracted me to a job in Congress was the exposure I received at my previous job at Franklin Square Group, a consulting firm that represents tech and innovation clients. As a policy analyst with the company, I worked with some of the larger tech firms like Apple and Google, but also smaller startups like Postmates and Rigetti Computing. Working to bridge the gap between private companies and the federal government allowed me to learn about the nuances of both, which is a valuable tool that is serving me well in my new job.

Looking back at your time at CCS, how did your education at a classical and Christian school help prepare you for where you are now?

The education I received at Cary Christian has had an enormous impact on who I am today. Some of my best friendships were formed there, and while it was definitely challenging at times, I have a lot of great memories. One of those memories is of a math test day, which was not typically one of my fonder memories; however, what I do remember is my teacher calling me up to her desk and praying with me before I began that God would give me peace and call to mind all that I had learned. At the time, I thought that was completely normal, but as an adult, I realize just how unique and truly blessed I was to have had that sort of educational experience.

CCS played a large role in shaping my Christian worldview that is the foundation upon which I have built my life. The school definitely feeds the students in a spiritual sense, but beyond that, it is working to produce smart, thoughtful Christians. It is not enough to know what you believe. One of the things I benefited from the most was learning to think for myself and then articulate why I believe what I believe. Critical thinking skills are so significant and crucial, especially in an era where we have access to more information than ever before. In the logic stage of a classical education, they teach you to ask “why.” This is something I remind myself to do everyday as I encounter new information and new ideas and try to make sense of it as it relates to the Word of God.   

What advice would you give to our current high school students, especially as they make plans for graduation and college?

The days leading up to high school graduation are always exciting, but can also be filled with some anxiety. This is the best time to press into God and seek Him. He already knows what lies ahead. He has great plans for you! Be careful not to compare yourself to your classmates. Not everyone’s path is going to look the same and that is okay. Even if you feel like there is pressure being placed on you by those around you, it is your choice to carry that burden or lay it in the hands of the one who literally died for it on the cross. As you leave CCS, continue to learn how to ask questions, communicate effectively, and write coherently. These skills will take you far. And always love others as Christ loves us! This is not always easy, especially when you may disagree, but it is our greatest calling.

Lauren Greenwood graduated from Cary Christian School in 2011. She currently works in the U.S. Senate for South Dakota Senator John Thune.

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