Lauren Fay shares career advice and encouragement with students


Lauren Fay (’07, Global Studies) is the Coordinated Entry and Housing Placement Manager at Downtown Emergency Service Center (DESC), a large service organization in Seattle that works to end the homelessness of vulnerable people, particularly those living with serious mental or addictive illnesses. She has been working for DESC since 2008 and held a variety of positions in housing programs, shelter programs, and mental health outreach. Most recently, Lauren managed the Permanent Supportive Housing complex Aurora House, which serves 87 individuals who've experienced chronic homelessness, mental illness, and often co-occurring disorders. In her current role as Coordinated Entry and Housing Placement Manager at DESC, Lauren oversees housing placement for over 1200 units of Permanent Supportive Housing.

Lauren transferred to UW Bothell from Shoreline Community College and chose the Global Studies major for her interests in political economy and social justice.  She was attracted to the integrated approach of interdisciplinary education, which allows students to tailor their learning to multiple subject areas.  As a student, Lauren benefitted from the mentorship of professors who pushed her to perform at a high level. Since then, she has challenged herself to take full advantage of every role and opportunity that crosses her path.

Lauren met with students to offer career advice and encouragement. Key points included:

  • As a student, seek out volunteer and service learning opportunities. You’ll gain practical experience while discerning which roles and sectors are a good fit.
  • Nonprofit organizations are looking for both skills and passion.  In job interviews, show that you are a strong advocate through the experiences and coursework you’ve pursued.
  • Embracing small victories is essential in social services.  Often, the little steps require monumental effort, and they should be celebrated.
  • Advance in your career by looking for ways to “do more.” Within any role, seek opportunities to expand your position and demonstrate leadership.  This will get you noticed!

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