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Lauren Johnson

Lauren Johnson

What a Difference Six Years Make

Six years ago, Lauren Johnson was at a low point. Barely making above minimum wage, divorced, and raising two young children on her own, Lauren wondered what her future would hold. “I realized that this was not how I wanted to live. I really didn’t want my kids to watch me struggle and say to themselves – ‘that’s how life is,’” recalls Lauren. So, at 24 she resolved to change her situation.

Armed with a dream of becoming a pharmacist and the will to accomplish it, she enrolled in the Community College of Aurora where she started taking science courses necessary to qualify for pharmacy school. “It’s a minimum six year commitment, which can get very costly,” says Lauren. Fortunately for Lauren she discovered Mile High United Way, a non-profit organization that provided scholarships to help defray the cost of undergraduate school. “The funds they provided helped take the pressure off. I really did not want to face six years of student loans upon graduation,” says Lauren.

With money to pay for her undergraduate courses, Lauren faced another challenge -- getting into pharmacy school. “You don’t just set your sights on going to pharmacy school and once you apply you’re in!” shares Lauren.

With nearly 2,000 applicants vying for only 146 positions at the University of Colorado Denver School of Pharmacy – one of the top schools in the nation -- Lauren received a berth in the class of 2011 (the 98th class to graduate from this prestigious school). According to U.S.News & World Report, UCD School of Pharmacy is one of the top 23 pharmacy schools in the country.

Through perseverance, a supportive family, excellent undergraduate grades, recommendations and an exceptional interview, Lauren earned her chance to pursue a pharmacy degree, and is now halfway through the program. Lauren says, “I’m just now seeing a sliver of light at the end of the tunnel. Things are tight, but I tell my sons that we’re almost there.”

Currently juggling studies, motherhood and two part-time jobs, Lauren’s a role model for her sons and is well on her way to achieving her goal of becoming a pharmacist.