In recognition of her generous spirit, creativity, vision, the pursuit of excellence and commitment to serving others, both on campus and in the Tulsa community, TU honored Lauren Milburn as the 2019 Marcy Lawless Service Award recipient.
Milburn says her faith drives her desire to give back. “It gives me a bigger purpose in life and gives me a motivation to serve and to do things for other people and think outside of myself,” she explains. She started as a mechanical engineering major and as a freshman dove headfirst into community outreach by working with Tulsa’s Little Light House through the Make a Difference Engineering (MADE) at TU initiative.
She took on the role of project manager for an existing project called the Space Invader. The giant rocket ship allows special-needs students to work on improving dexterity and motor skills while also receiving visual stimulation. The project needed significant repairs because of the high use it received from the kids at Little Light House. According to Milburn, “It was the most rewarding thing to build relationships with the kids and the therapists and see our project in action when we delivered it!” Even after switching her major to computer information systems, she remained involved with MADE at TU.
Milburn also served as an orientation leader for two years and took extra care to keep in contact with her groups long after Orientation week ended. She got to know each group member and encouraged them to attend every event, made smaller group meetings enjoyable and gave needed advice about how to succeed in various aspects of collegiate life. Milburn helped the students feel like part of the TU community right from the start.
She regularly checks in on her group members and maintains relationships with them throughout the year, inviting them into other organizations and friendship circles. Her award nomination notes that Milburn looks outside of herself and puts her group members’ needs above her own, and that she wants each new student to feel significant, loved and included.
Milburn’s commitment to service extends to other organizations on campus and in the greater Tulsa community. Her creativity and vision go hand-in-hand with her commitment to serve and having a bigger purpose behind what she does. Crafting and small entrepreneurship ventures have always been a creative outlet for her. She recently began making bracelets out of recycled pennies for friends and family, most stamped with the saying “choose joy.” The project challenges her to find worth and joy in the little things.
As a capstone senior project for her minor in entrepreneurship, Milburn will mass-produce her bracelets and partner with local organizations to sell them. The venture will help spread awareness of causes around the community while benefiting them through the donation of sales profits.
Milburn is described by her professors and peers as “gracious” and “hospitable,” generous not only with her belongings, but also with her time. She doesn’t hesitate to lend encouragement to friends, and continually seeks ways to serve her peers.
Of her commitment to service, Milburn says, “TU has given me so many opportunities that point me toward thinking outside of myself. I always want to think about how I can steward my time, talent and treasure to use the blessings that God has given me to serve others in some way.”