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Lauren McDonald against Temple. Photo by Ian Fieldmann

Inside the Bark: Lauren McDonald

Lauren McDonald, a graduate-student attacker and Catonsville native on the women’s lacrosse team, set a new UMBC record with the most goals scored by a player in one season with 62. The previous record was set in 1985 by Laura Robinson, who scored 58. Over the course of their 17 games in the 2018 season, McDonald has averaged about four goals per game. In a game against LIU Brooklyn last season, she made her presence known with a six-goal performance.

Despite her skills and successes in lacrosse, McDonald’s first game didn’t come with a lacrosse stick. Her first sports were soccer and basketball. It wasn’t until she was 11 years old that McDonald picked up lacrosse. As soon as she began playing, though, it seemed to be a perfect fit for her.

“I think I kind of burnt myself out of soccer and basketball,” she explains. “Lacrosse was what was kind of just there for me. So, I started to fall in love with lacrosse because it’s kind of new and exciting.”

This excitement and the newfound love for the sport fueled her throughout her high school years as she excelled, starting on varsity all four years at Catonsville High School. She credits her passion, as a big part of why she joined UMBC. Even with lacrosse now being her main sport, she finds that her skills from soccer and basketball still come in handy.

“I think my favorite part about playing the sport is that it’s a little bit of everything,” she says. “A lot of the skills I learned in basketball I get to use in lacrosse. So, I like that it’s kind of a cross-over of a lot of my favorite sports.”

McDonald’s ability to culminate all her athletic skills is not the only thing that makes her such a great athlete and asset to the team: it’s her outlook on life and upbeat personality that makes her a great player and teammate. The key to her success as an athlete and as a person has been her positive attitude. McDonald, win or lose, focuses on the things that went well rather than any negatives. She believes that there is nothing that one can’t accomplish, even with the busy schedule of a student-athlete.

“You can do it all. You can accomplish all your goals academically, you can get internships, you can get jobs — I work part-time — you can do everything. You can achieve your academic goals and your athletic goals and never give up on that,” she says.

Because of this belief, McDonald’s athletic and academic goals are very high. They’re so high that she pushed herself to graduate in three years and is now in the master’s program with the Geography and Environmental Science department at UMBC. Even with all the school work and time on the field and in the weight room, McDonald still manages to have a part-time job with the environmental consulting company, Versar.

Versar works to ensure that people that hire them are maintaining the environmental laws and regulations that the state of Maryland have put in place. McDonald, an environmental technician for the company, works to get companies and the government to hire Versar, advertising their skills and services. While she enjoys the work that she does, she is looking to grow out of her position and into something more challenging as she gains more experience doing the work and more knowledge through her studies. McDonald’s dream position isn’t in environmental consulting, however, it is in the Maryland state government.

“I’d love to work for Maryland Department of the Environment one day,” she says. “I grew up here, I’ve lived here my whole life. I think that’s a really good way to have an impact because you get to have an impact on the laws that are being made and being implemented and how they’re implemented.”

With such drive and motivation across athletics, academics and life, there is little doubt that McDonald is bound for great things in the coming years. Even after she finishes her lacrosse career at UMBC this year and her master’s program next year, McDonald will have left behind a message to not only student athletes but to all UMBC students that there is nothing you can’t accomplish.