Laurel Clark, a past recipient of the Community Foundation’s Clarence L. Remynse Scholarship, grew up in Schoolcraft, went away for college and a few early jobs, and returned to the Kalamazoo area, just as the scholarship’s founder dreamed she would.
To Remynse – a self-made entrepreneur – a belief in oneself, hard work, perseverance and determination were invaluable assets and necessary for success.
As a student at Schoolcraft High School, Laurel thought she might someday enjoy a career as an English professor or physician.
She worked hard and graduated as co-valedictorian. To keep her options open, she started Kenyon College in Ohio as a double-major in English and chemistry. She soon realized chemistry energized her more. Meanwhile, her Remynse scholarship was renewed each year of her undergraduate studies.
"It helped me make the most of my college experience," she says. "It also inspired me to persevere in my efforts in chemistry, an area not populated by a lot of women."
And so science won out and the Kenyon grad came home for a quality control analyst position at Perrigo. With almost a year of experience, Laurel decided on graduate studies at University of North Carolina. Her time at Perrigo, however, had given her a chance to see all the directions chemistry could take her, and Laurel found she was drawn more to the business of science than the academic arena.
Returning to the workforce, Laurel worked as an assistant chemist for BASF in Research Triangle Park, N.C., and a quality assurance scientist for Revlon in Oxford, N.C., and then returned to Michigan as a quality control analyst for Perrigo. Those experiences convinced her she needed a master’s degree for career growth. She decided to study organizational and cross-cultural management at the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University while continuing her work at Perrigo. A supervisor’s position in quality control was the reward for her MBA work. Two years later she sought her current post as a project manager in Regulatory Affairs.
Laurel’s scholarship journey comes full circle as a new member of the Remynse Scholarship committee. "As a student, the Remynse Scholarship inspired me to pursue chemistry," she says. "Today I’m inspired by the students seeking scholarships.
"Reviewing these applications and learning these students’ dreams makes me reflect on my own career," she says. "These students can get a great education, wherever they go, and then come back and be part of our community." Just as Clarence Remynse intended.