Lauren Margolies is your everyday college student, with two internships, a vice president position in her sorority, and a sexual assault prevention program under her wing. Not to mention the award she recently won as an emerging collegiate leader. Okay, maybe she’s not so average. In fact, the amount of things Margolies has accomplished in her short two-and-a-half semesters at the University of Maryland is absolutely astonishing.
A junior psychology major, Margolies interns as a research assistant for the department of psychology, submitting surveys and filling out reports regularly. She also holds a position in Kappa Delta sorority as the vice president of operations.
“I do all the internal operating within the chapter, behind the scenes stuff,” Margolies said. “It’s the best position to be in if I want to be chapter president one day,” she told me as I sat wide-eyed at the mention of her numerous accomplishments.
As if a high-ranking position in her sorority and a research assistant job weren’t time-consuming enough, Margolies also spends three full days a week at the public defender’s office in Washington, D.C. as one of their two undergraduate interns. As an intern investigator for a Public Defenders attorney, Margolies spends her days in D.C. photographing crime scenes, visiting jails, taking witness statements, and even serving subpoenas to police officers (if that isn’t the definition of power, then I don’t know what is).
Why does she do it? She believes everyone deserves a second chance. “We want [convicted criminals] to be charged fairly, so they can still have a life after jail,” she explained. Margolies once spent an afternoon in jail simply talking with one of her convicted clients. “Sometimes all they want is someone to talk to,” she told me, “And I feel like I’m making a difference in their lives, like I’m actually helping them.”
On top of all this, one of Margolies’ most fascinating accomplishments is her Ten Woman Plan initiative. The Ten Woman Plan is a spinoff of Alpha Tau Omega fraternity’s Ten Man Plan, which is comprised of a group of men within the chapter who work to educate themselves and their peers about sexual assault on campus. Margolies heard that other sororities had started, or were thinking of starting, a program called Ten Woman Plan, and decided to start the program in her chapter, as well.
She organized a group of women within Kappa Delta sorority and brought her plan to SAARPP, the Sexual Assault and Rape Prevention Program here on campus. Now, Margolies and the ten women she recruited meet weekly with a facilitator to educate themselves about the prevalence of sexual assault and rape at UMD. “Our sorority chapter, and girls in general, should be more aware of the things that go on around us,” Margolies explained, “Rape culture is growing in college life, and if something should happen to one of our friends, she should have someone to go to for help.”
It’s safe to say that Margolies is incredibly passionate about all the activities she’s involved in. But I think it’s even more important to point out that she’s also incredibly compassionate towards people who need help. Whether it’s sexual assault victims, unfairly convicted criminals, or anyone in between, Margolies is there to offer her hand, and she’ll do it with a smile on her face.