Photo Credit: Ashley Andrews


By inspiring her students, she inspired herself

“Our collective action is much stronger than what we can achieve individually.”

From Memphis, to Atlanta, to Long Beach, Lauren Rauscher never expected to call Pittsburgh home. Yet since moving here five years ago for an amazing job opportunity, Lauren can’t imagine living anywhere else.

Becoming an associate professor of sociology and the director of the Women’s Leadership and Mentorship Program at Robert Morris University is what drew Lauren to the city and she hasn’t looked back yet. “Collaborating with very smart people around issues of equity is my favorite part of my work,” she said.

Lauren wanted her students to become more involved in the community, so she began searching for service opportunities that they could participate in. She discovered United Way, and five years later, Lauren and her students have built literacy kits through United Way’s 100,000 Books Campaign, hosted various clothing and food drives, and participated in both the annual Games for Good and Hoodies for the Holidays events.

The deeper her involvement, the more Lauren learned United Way’s impact in the community. She found a perfect alignment with her passion for empowering women, so Lauren joined the United Way’s Women’s Leadership Council.

“I designate my gift directly to United for Women, and I know my contributions are helping women in our area get back on their feet and work through financial hardships,” she explained.

Now, Lauren is more dedicated to United Way than ever and encourages students in RMU’s Women’s Leadership and Mentorship Program to consider joining NextGen United and the WLC themselves one day. “It is so important for us all to come together in an effort to create an environment where women can thrive,” she said. “I encourage others to join because I genuinely believe that we are creating an environment (both in Pittsburgh and globally) where women can collaborate and succeed.”

To learn more about United Way’s Women’s Leadership Council, contact Lynne Popash at in Allegheny County, Alyssa Cholodofsky at in Westmoreland County, or Amy Franz at in Butler County.