Rhodes Alumna Spotlight: Lauren Zarandona

Rhodes graduates are always working to make a difference in their communities. For this alumna spotlight, meet Lauren Zarandona (c/o 2003). Mrs. Zarandona is currently a math teacher at The Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science. I may be a bit biased from personal experience, but her vibrancy and passion for math creates a classroom atomospehere ripe with learning. Read on to learn more about her experience at Rhodes and beyond! 


MP: How has your experience at Rhodes impacted your life/career/views? 

LZ: My experiences at Rhodes opened my eyes to vast inequities of the U.S. education system. I felt compelled to make a difference so I became a teacher.


What were some activities you were involved with here? What was your major/minor? 

I was a Bonner Scholar and ran the Adopt-a-Friend program at Snowden Elementary School. I also ran Cross Country and Track. I majored in Physics.


What was your favorite aspect of Rhodes?

I really enjoyed the sense of community at Rhodes. Yes, I was part of several smaller groups and had friends that I was around more than others.


What is your current career? Was it the career you envisioned while in college?

I am a math teacher at a public residential high school. During my senior year at Rhodes, I realized that I really wanted to teach so, in that respect, I am doing exactly what I envisioned. However, I thought that I would move into curriculum and leave the classroom. At this point, I cannot imagine leaving the classroom. I teach at a really amazing high school that provides opportunities for students of all backgrounds to take true college-prep classes.


What is something you are passionate about? 

Teaching math! I probably get a little too excited about it. For the past few years I have taught AP Statistics and watching students become more aware of the misuse of data and change the way they think about what they see in the media has been very inspiring.


Instead of a regret from your college years, what is something you are really glad you did? 

I am so glad that I finished out my four years as a college athlete. It was really hard and I was not close to the best but I met amazing people and accomplished more as a runner than I ever thought possible.


Lastly, what was the last book you read, and how did you feel about it? 

I am in the middle of reading Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets to my 6-year-old. It is so much fun to open up this new world to him! My 9-year-old read them by himself and the younger one wanted to join in on the fun.