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The GW Hatchet

Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

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Wine bar on 2200 Penn opens doors
By Ella Mitchell, Contributing News Editor • June 14, 2024

Senior Stories: Lauren Weidmaier: A passionate educator

Lauren Weidmaier hasn’t just been thinking about her own education these past four years – she has been focusing on others’ too.

The Missouri native has worked at almost every level of government during her time at GW with the goal of pursuing a career in education policy.

The oldest of four, Weidmaier said she used to assign her siblings extra homework for fun when they were kids. After a visit to D.C. in high school, she realized she wanted to do more than go to a state school to earn her teaching credentials.

“I came to GW from a teeny weenie town and was so overwhelmed in the beginning,” Weidmaier said. “I thought I was just going to do a few things. get my degree and move on.”

Instead, she ended up sitting in on meetings with Education Secretary Arnie Duncan and first lady Michelle Obama during an internship at the Department of Education.

“I was there when [the Department of Education] got its budget doubled,” Weidmaier said. “I got to see all that happen and the administration change. what it looks like when President Obama gives an extra million to homeless education programs.”

Weidmaier’s work in education policy began her sophomore year, when she landed a Hill internship with her congressman and drafted a congressional resolution establishing Teacher Appreciation Week in her school district.

Between her sophomore and junior years, Weidmaier was selected for the GW Shapiro Public Service Award, a grant that allowed her to examine the trickle-down effects of federal and state education guidelines on local school districts. She worked directly with the assistant superintendent and interviewed school district administrators, principals and teachers about the real effects of standardized testing and the No Child Left Behind Act in the classroom.

“What does the implementation really look like?” Weidmaier said of her research. “Of course the government is going to tell you, but what is that going to look like from a school district perspective?”

Weidmaier got a glimpse of education policy at the national level during her junior year at the Department of Education. She oversaw applications for Homeless Education Disaster Assistance grants, which provide financial assistance for students who are left homeless following a natural disaster.

In addition to her work in education, Weidmaier has been a house scholar for the last two years, first in JBKO last year and in Dakota this year. She is a member of Pi Beta Phi and was on Colonial Cabinet last summer.

“The biggest thing I’ve learned has just been to not sell yourself short, not to underestimate what you can do,” Weidmaier said. “It’s all about putting yourself out there.”

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