Alumni Spotlight: Follow Your Passion: Laura Larson (’17)

Volleyball fans know Laura Larson (MCB, 2017) for her impressive digs and school-record 136 appearances on the court. She went to four NCAA Tournaments. It’s no surprise Larson brought the same focus and determination to her studies. She boasts another key stat—a 3.97 graduating GPA with a major in Molecular and Cellular Biology and minors in Biochemistry and Sports Management.

“Growing up, I was always interested in science and math—that’s what I was good at,” Larson says, now back in her home state of Minnesota.

Larson entered UA planning to become a pharmacist, and decided to major in MCB when Pharmacy classes conflicted with her volleyball schedule. “I loved MCB; it’s such a rigorous major. The work ethic I gained from MCB will benefit me throughout my life—getting things done and having a set schedule.”

On graduating, Larson had planned to apply to Pharmacy School at the University of Minnesota, but had an epiphany during a conversation with an academic advisor there.  “He asked me ‘Why do you want to be a pharmacist?’” Larson recounts. “And I realized, I thought I could be good at it, but it wasn’t my passion.”

She decided to pursue a career in sports management and recently joined the Super Bowl LII Host Committee, preparing for the February 4 game in Minneapolis.

“I would never have known just how much planning goes into a Super Bowl, all the work that goes on behind the scenes,” explains Larson, who is a member of the Operations and Logistics team. “It’s a blast. We’re a fun group getting things done.”

She credits MCB with giving her plenty of experience in working in a team. “In the lab, you don’t know anyone, and you have to work together for 16 weeks. That carries over from volleyball, too. Teamwork is so important in the workplace.”

Larson encourages other students to focus on what they love. “As scary as it was to try something different, follow your passion,” Larson advises.

That advice extends to interests beyond the classroom.  Larson volunteered as an undergraduate, motivated in part by the community’s support for UA volleyball.

“I volunteered on my off days; I wanted to give back to the community,” she says.  For those looking for ways to contribute, Larson recommends to “try a lot of different opportunities. You can volunteer in a hospital visiting children, build a house for Habitat for Humanity, teach. If you try different things, you’ll find something that you really like, and it feels good to give back.”

For her combined success in academics, athletics, service, and leadership, Arizona Athletics selected Larson as the UA 2017 NCAA Woman of the Year nominee. We wish her continued success as she prepares for Super Bowl LII and beyond.

Zoja Bazarnic
Publish Date: 
Nov 14, 2017