Laura Bray

Seeker of adventure and admirer of the natural world, I hail from Economy, Pennsylvania, just north of Pittsburgh. Growing up the suburbs, I spent the majority of my childhood playing in the woods with my brother and neighborhood boys.  It was during these young years that I was introduced to my first love – nature. As a youngster in grade school, I first began volunteering with the Girl Scouts in nursing homes. In middle school, I was volunteering independently in the nutrition department of UPMC Passavant Hospital. During high school much of my extracurricular activities revolved less around community service and more around sports and friends.  By the time I graduated high school, I was eager to trade in my familiar, suburban life for the hills of Morgantown, West Virginia.               

During my time at West Virginia University, I renewed my interest in civic engagement by enrolling in a service learning class, where I volunteered with community organizations to earn college credits. It wasn’t until I served with Clean Vibes, a company dedicated to responsible on-site waste management of outdoor festivals and events that my zeal for civic engagement and the environmental stewardship merged.  It was during this time that I became aware of the imperative need for a more sustainable future. One of my first steps toward a more conscious lifestyle was propagating small, local businesses, which eventually evolved into a self-started internship with Mountain State Brewing Company, where I dabbled in event promotion, guerilla advertising, and social media. When December, 2012 rolled around, I graduated from WVU with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration with a concentration in marketing.                 

After years of lectures, which most often focused on big business and the bottom line as a model for success, I decided that after graduation I would only work for a business which displayed strong environmental and social responsibility.  With my aversion to faceless corporation and passion for nature and goodwill, it was only a matter of time before my career path veered away from businesses all together and trended toward the nonprofit sector. After hearing about the Student Conservation Association from a friend, it became apparent that the River Town Program would be an opportunity to gain hands on sustainability experience, continue to support local commerce, partake in outdoor recreation, branch into the travel tourism industry, and hone professional development skills. For me, the SCA has been a wonderfully enriching adventure that has propelled me personally and professionally in ways I had never expected.