BEVERLY — As many college athletes prepared to go home for the holidays, some, like Lauren Todd, still had work to do.
Though Todd, 23, who played soccer and lacrosse, graduated a semester early from Endicott College in Beverly with a degree in psychology and a concentration in criminal justice, she began classes just days later in Endicott’s homeland security master’s program.
“She came on my radar as someone who’s not only very intelligent, but also manages her time well,” said professor Michael Andreas, the director of Todd’s homeland security studies graduate program and who taught her as an undergraduate. “She’s a natural-born leader and a very high performer.”
Her college career both off and on the field, Todd said, produced skills such as time management, leadership, and pursuit of excellence, qualities that began forming while she was growing up in Newfields, N.H. When it came time to attend college, she knew she wanted both to stay in the Northeast and to play lacrosse. But it was Endicott women’s soccer coach Jodi Kenyon who recruited her.
“She immediately struck me as a young woman who knew exactly what she wanted,” said Kenyon. “From day one at Endicott, she had everything mapped out for the next four years. That’s rare these days.”
As an NCAA Division 3 school, Endicott’s athletics department emphasizes a balance between academics and sports.
Lacrosse coach Meghan Fitzgerald was impressed by the way Todd succeeded in both. “She’s the ultimate example of a D-3 athlete,” she said. “She was so successful in the classroom that she was able to graduate early. To do that while playing two sports, and participating in multiple internships, is a huge achievement.”
Endicott requires students to participate in internships in their fields. First- and second-year students must complete an internship on winter break, and upperclassmen are expected to participate in a semester-long internship.
Todd was drawn to Endicott in part because of that requirement. As a freshman, she worked in the guidance department at an elementary school, and as a sophomore she took a community service trip to Costa Rica. But by the fall of her senior year, she ventured in a different direction and analyzed crime in Boston at the Boston Regional Intelligence Center.
Because the earlier internships took place over a holiday, they did not affect Todd’s athletic practice schedule. But her internship with the intelligence center occurred during soccer season.
“I would be running into the locker room with my high heels still on from work,” she said. “I would change really quickly into my gear, run out onto the field, and have to be ready.”
Todd said that keeping such an intense schedule has prepared her for the next phase of her career in homeland security, a field that, according to professor Andreas, will give her ample opportunities to apply her talents.
“She learned that the [18-month graduate] program was beginning in August, nine months before she was scheduled to graduate,” he said. Rather than wait, Todd took extra courses so she could graduate early and enroll in the program in December. Andreas said she has doubled her current course load to catch up, leaving her with little leisure time during Christmas break.
“Because the field [of homeland security] is multidisciplinary and multifunctional, the prospects for employment are wide and deep,” he said. “She receives my highest recommendations, and I’ve no doubt she’ll be successful.”
This article is being published under an arrangement between The Boston Globe and the Gordon College News Service.