“Off the Record” Luncheon 2017

By Marissa D'Angelis '18 | October 25, 2017

Alumna Lauren Chooljian visits NHIOP

On Monday, October 23rd alumna Lauren Chooljian returned to Saint Anselm for an “Off the Record” Luncheon with current Saint Anselm students, faculty and staff. Those in attendance represented a wide range of Saint Anselm community members, including communication, politics, and English majors while Career Development Center, English Department Professors and NHIOP faculty joined in for some great food and even better conversation.

Chooljian began by giving the audience an overview of her academic career at Saint Anselm which progressed to her impressive professional career- but her plan never had a concrete foundation and she preferred it this way. She graduated from Saint Anselm with a Bachelor’s Degree in History. Although her diploma says “History,” Gary Bouchard of the English Department commented, “Lauren majored in curiosity” and it was this determination which helped her achieve the many accomplishments she holds on her resume today. Although for some students this absolutely may be the case, Chooljian spoke upon the subject that a college major does not have to be a “cookie-cutter” path for the future, and she realized this during her time in academia and the workforce.

After her time spent at Saint Anselm, Chooljian obtained a Master of Science in Journalism from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. It was here that she also spent time as an adjunct lecturer. On top of various clubs and organizations around Saint Anselm's campus, Chooljian participated in a multiplicity of internships throughout her academic career which led to her discovery of her true passion for radio reporting and broadcasting.

Chooljian spent six years as a reporter for WBEZ in Chicago, reporting most recently on City Hall and the Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration. Recently in 2017, she returned to her home state of New Hampshire to work for NHPR.

During the lunch hour, the audience had the opportunity to listen to example pieces of her work while she told personal stories about her experiences in the field. Most recently, Chooljian wrote and broadcasted a piece regarding the annual “Pig Scramble” at the Deerfield Fair. Although different than many of her past career exhibitions, this humorous yet controversial topic of a fun fair activity versus first time animal-abuse protesters was a great example, as she walked the audience through her process of constructing her news story. She gave insight to her reporting process from the moment she pulled up to the scene in her car, to the various interviews with different personnel, to the final draft sent to her editor- she even gave the audience a peek at the equipment she uses during these jobs.

Arguably the most important aspect of the luncheon, Chooljian gave students great tips for entering the professional realm after life at Saint Anselm, including how the liberal arts education can benefit an individual and how finding one's passion may not be a flawless journey, and to be prepared to undergo challenges before landing where you may desire to be. Chooljian worked incredibly hard and took advantage of the opportunities presented to her in order to discover what she loves to do each day. Although she was not aware what her future would hold, her time at Saint Anselm helped her to discover and eventually flourish in her professional career that she holds today.

It was clear throughout her conversation that Chooljian's Saint Anselm pride has ceased to fade, and her time engaged in the liberal arts in conjunction with wonderful faculty inspired her to continue pursuing a path toward discovery of her passion, despite the challenges she may face. Today, she continues to work for NHPR as the Politics and Policy reporter for the State of Democracy project and resides in Hanover, New Hampshire with her husband.