“I remain and thrive here because of its unparalleled atmosphere”: Meet Cadet Lauren Sommerfeld

Cadet Lauren Sommerfeld is a junior from Columbus, Ohio. Sommerfeld, an Education major with a minor in Psychology, is involved in several organizations on campus, including the Education Leaders Club through the Zucker Family School of Education.

Sommerfeld answered a series of questions from Kamryn Peebles, this year’s Regimental Public Affairs NCO, in honor of Women’s History Month and in celebration of 25 Years of Female Cadet Graduates at The Citadel.

Why did you choose The Citadel for your college experience? 

Initially, my decision to join The Citadel was driven by a desire for adventure, service and a fresh start away from my home state. However, since immersing myself in The Citadel environment, my reasons for staying have evolved significantly. I remain and thrive here because of its unparalleled atmosphere. I have never encountered a more competitive, supportive, growth-oriented and intellectually stimulating environment in my life. I can confidently attest that with proper utilization of all that The Citadel has to offer, one’s transformation after graduation can be nothing short of remarkable.

When you’re faced with a challenge, what motivates you to overcome it?

As a knob, I once asked a very respectable upperclassman how he managed to balance and overcome the challenges of daily life at The Citadel. His response has remained ingrained in my mind ever since: “Once you complete one task, you move on to the next, and each subsequent step leads you down a new path. Before you know it, you’ll look back and realize you’ve conquered everything you never thought possible at the outset.” This perspective has resonated with me profoundly. I never imagined I would even attend college, let alone achieve my highest GPA to date, accumulate hundreds of community service hours, engage in multiple fulfilling internships and earn acceptance into various scholarships and honor societies. I never anticipated that I would come to appreciate the struggles along the way, but now I absolutely do.

What inspired you to choose your major? Do you have any post-graduation plans? 

I am an Education major with a minor in Psychology, my admiration for teachers has been ingrained in me since childhood. Witnessing the profound connection and mutual respect between students and educators has fueled my aspiration to make a meaningful impact on young minds, just as my own teachers did for me. Upon completing my undergraduate studies, I aim to pursue a master’s degree in literacy.

Are you involved in any clubs or extracurriculars at The Citadel?

I am actively involved in several clubs at The Citadel, including the Education Leaders Club, where I serve as the club president. This club was recently established to support the new CSI Summer Bridge Program (provided by the Zucker Family School of Education), implemented last year to facilitate the transition from high school to college for students. Our focus is on providing assistance from summer peer tutors to summer bridge scholarship recipients, aiming to address the challenges and encourage camaraderie through friendships throughout the club members.

Additionally, I am a member of The Citadel Krause Center CCEC club, where each company appoints a community service representative to coordinate company involvement in community service events. In my role, I oversee the successful completion of community service requirements for all 211 students, ensuring proper connections and execution of service initiatives. Notably, our company, Alpha, achieved second place among the entire Corps of Cadets last school year, contributing over 4,000 hours of community service.

What resources or support systems have you found helpful during your time at The Citadel?

One resource at The Citadel profoundly changed my life is the counseling center. As a college student, navigating life away from the safety of my family’s nest can be daunting. Exploring counseling, mental health resources and mindfulness at The Citadel has been a true pillar of support for me. Prior to attending The Citadel, I had little awareness of my own coping mechanisms, weaknesses or areas needing improvement. However, through the guidance of professionals at the counseling center, I have undergone a transformative journey of self-discovery. Reflecting on my past and present, and receiving professional guidance, has enabled me to become the most authentic version of myself. Engaging in this process of self-examination in real-time has been invaluable. I’ve come to realize that understanding oneself is one of life’s most important endeavors because ultimately, no one will spend more time with you than yourself.

As a woman at The Citadel, what advice would you give to other women who are considering coming here?

The journey at The Citadel may be unconventional, lonely, challenging, rocky, and full of unexpected twists, but it’s a path you’ll never look back on it with regret.

About Regimental Public Affairs NCO Kamryn Peebles

Kamryn Peebles is a biology major who lives in Conway, South Carolina and is originally from Erie, Pennsylvania. Peebles is the Regimental Public Affairs NCO on campus and wants to pursue a career in optometry or physical therapy.