West Coast Girl with an East Coast Twist: Meet Lauren

Lauren stands in front of the United States Capitol building on a brick tiled courtyard. The building is partially blocked by green trees

The Minerva Strategies team is getting ready for spring, which means we have a new intern on board! Lauren Slater, who is joining us from the nations capital, Washington, D.C., brings a passion for connecting a shared understanding of politics and communications to the Minerva team, which we are stoked about. Learn more about her background and how she came to be Minerva’s spring intern! 

Where are you from and where do you live?  

I was born in Roanoke, Virginia, and I lived there for the first 10 years of my life. I don’t necessarily say I’m from there because most of my formative years were spent in Portland, Oregon, where I went to high school and received my associates degree. Although I went to school in Oregon, I lived five minutes north of Portland on the other side of the Columbia River in Vancouver, Washington. I also lived in Pullman, Washington, for a few years while attending Washington State University where I got my undergraduate degree in political science.  

I now live in Washington D.C., mainly to pursue my graduate degree in political communications. It’s exciting to live in the capital of the country! It’s also very unusual because you run into politicians in the most random places. I once ran into a representative while getting my nails done. I consider myself a West Coast girl with an East Coast twist. 

Lauren stands in front of the United States Capitol building on a brick tiled courtyard. The building is partially blocked by green trees
Lauren in front of the United States Capitol building

How did your interest in politics lead to communications?  

Interestingly enough, politics was not really my thing, like ever, which is very different from other political science majors. I originally wanted to go to school for theater, and it wasn’t until after I applied to Washington State University that I learned that they had cut their theater program. Since I already had my associates degree, I really needed to lock in a major and I thought to myself, “Oh, well, since a lot of actors are political, maybe I’ll go to political science.”  

I really love history, too, and I love to debate history, so that seemed to align nicely. It was also the closest major related to my interests and passions. As I went through the program, I started really loving it, especially the intricacies and different elements of history and psychology that contribute to politics.  

Once I graduated, I realized that the positions typically associated with a political science degree didn’t line up with who I wanted to be and who I was interested in becoming. That is when I really started looking into political communications, which is my current master’s program. I really wanted to find a way to communicate with people about politics. There is a lot that gets lost in translation when communicating about politics, and I don’t think that many people really understand how important it is to be able to communicate in this field, especially with the public and all types of audiences. I wanted to help fill that gap, so that’s how I got into political communications and found my passion for public relations. 

Can you go deeper on why it’s important to be able to clearly communicate about politics? 

I feel passionate that everybody needs to be able to understand what’s happening around them. A large part of that passion came from working at my university as a Social Justice Peer Educator, where it became clear that to fix the big issues facing our country, people need to understand the context. This is where a lot of issues arise – when people don’t understand or can’t access political nuances and complex policies. I want to help people bridge the gap of understanding, and I really want to work on making the world more accessible to everyone. I’m very privileged to be able to go get a master’s degree, especially at my age (21), and so I really want to help people that don’t have those same privileges have access to everything in the world that they would need. 

Lauren smiles, seated at a table in front of a crème brûlée. Around the plate, the words "HAPPY 21ST!" are piped in chocolate alongside a depiction of a martini glass
Lauren celebrating her 21st birthday

Why did you choose to intern at Minerva?  

I was scrolling through LinkedIn and came across Minerva Strategies’ spring intern posting. I started reading, and I could just tell from the way the language was structured that Minerva was very different from other organizations. I was immediately sold. The job posting felt like a conversation, which was unlike other postings which seemed like a copy and paste. I could tell by Minerva’s mission and staff profiles they really valued the people that work there. This was a team looking for a new member versus a “no-face” company adding a cog in the machine. I felt reaffirmed that I was a person, and that’s what really attracted me to Minerva. 

You just finished your first full week as a Minerva intern. Has anything surprised you yet?  

It’s unlike any place that I’ve ever worked for so far. At my previous job, I felt like I was immediately thrown into work with little guidance. The whole team at Minerva is very welcoming, and they took the time to show me who and what Minerva is as an organization. They shared helpful information with me about their clients before I really started on independent work, which I appreciate. Overall, I just really enjoyed the personalization of the onboarding experience and having Kayla’s help to guide me. I really enjoy getting to know everyone! My favorite part so far is watching everyone work passionately and learning the vibe of the team. 

Is theater still a passion of yours? What’s your favorite show? 

I’ve been involved in theater for 11 years, so it is a big passion still. I’ve always loved the creativity behind it – trying on different masks and dressing as characters. It’s why I like mission-driven messages – acting helps you to truly understand characters’ stories. I have always preferred playing characters that are more complex, and I didn’t have a typical picture-perfect storyline. Storytelling has always been very important to me. There’s so much you can learn from stories, even stories that are made up. Being able to share a story and connect with audiences through theater is truly something special.  

My favorite musical is Shrek the Musical. The movie is a wonderful piece of art without the musical part – I think it was created before I was born – but it remains relevant as a great piece of media that I could watch repeatedly. Shrek the Musical takes this perfect movie and adds backstory with storytelling plus music, which creates more emotions and feelings. 

What else do you like to do for fun?  

I watch plenty of TV in my spare time, which isn’t much since I work nine to five and then I have three hours of school. I like to watch CrashCourse videos, Drunk History, and anything with Mindy Kaling. She is amazing, and I love the representation that she brings to TV. I also like to take walks with my cat, Gwen, in her stroller, and to get tapas at Barcelona Wine Bar. If you’re ever in D.C., please check it out because I love that place so much!  

Lauren's cat Gwen lays in the bathroom sink
Lauren’s cat Gwen laying in her favorite spot

What is your favorite quote? 

My LinkedIn header has my favorite quote from Ruth Bader Ginsberg – the queen herself – which is, “Fight for the things that you care about, but do it in a way that leads others to join you.” I’ve always really liked that quote, and I fight for the things I care about. Right now, I am learning to apply the second part of that quote about leading, but I am challenging myself to lead more “nicely.” I guess sometimes it’s hard to be nice when fighting against systemic injustice… But I’m sure there’s some way you can! 

About The Author

Myles Cabanos

Communications Intern