Staff Spotlight: Lauren Ball

Lauren Ball is the assistant director for programs in the Office of International Services, a unit of the Office of Global Engagement. Ball recently celebrated her 10 year work anniversary at NC State, where she works to help international students, scholars, and dependents succeed.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I was born in Virginia but moved around a lot due to my dad’s job. By the time I graduated high school, we’d lived in six different places including Mississippi, Virginia for a second time, Ohio, Maryland and Hawaii. I’m a proud graduate of UNC Asheville where I double majored in history and French. I also studied abroad in France during my undergraduate studies and lived with an incredible French family as part of my program. Given my eventual career choice, it’s safe to say it was a life changing experience. My educational pursuits eventually brought me to NC State and I received my Master’s in International Studies degree in 2008.

How long have you been with NC State and the Office of Global Engagement?

10 years

Tell us what you do in a few sentences.

I manage orientation and programming in the Office of International Services. Our goal is to introduce our international students, scholars and dependents to the resources they have at NC State and to help them leverage those resources to be successful. We also work to provide social and educational programs and events so that our international population can acclimate to their new home and build a social network here. With the cultural expertise our international population brings to NC State, we also seek out ways to engage domestic students, faculty, staff and the greater Raleigh community. None of it would be possible without our amazing volunteers and my wonderful OIS colleagues.

What’s your favorite thing about your work?

Without question, it’s our international students, scholars and dependents. After ten years, I still consider myself very fortunate to constantly learn more about the world through them. I admire their courage in moving to a new place and the importance they place on education to do so. They positively impact our campus in so many ways and seeing them succeed at NC State brings me joy.

Tell us one thing we might be surprised to learn about you.

I speak a little bit of Hawaiian. I studied French initially but after moving to Hawaii found that it wasn’t a language option at my new high school. I chose to study Hawaiian instead because I knew it was an opportunity I wouldn’t have anywhere else. In hindsight, taking Hawaiian language was also my gateway to learning much more about Hawaiian culture than I would have otherwise and it helped me connect with local students.

What do you like to do outside of work?

I’m an avid reader and I love spending time outside (when it’s not summer). I also enjoy most sports and watch or attend games whenever possible. College basketball season is my favorite. Travel is obviously a passion of mine and my travel wish list is a long one. When all else fails though, I’m probably watching The Office (the US version) for the hundredth time or playing with my dog, Sophie.

What’s one thing on your desk you brought from home?

A picture of my dog (Sophie) alongside a picture of my almost two year old niece (Gracelyn)

What’s your favorite travel destination?

France as an international destination and Grand Teton National Park as a domestic destination