Lauren O’Breza was set on paving her own way. Although she grew up in Denver, her family is all from Norman, and several of them went to the University of Oklahoma. O’Breza was raised a Sooner fan, but she was set on stepping outside her comfort zone and picking a school away from family.
That all changed once O’Breza’s mom convinced her to take a campus tour and she fell in love with the campus. Her decision continued to feel like the correct one once she learned more about the quality of the entrepreneurship program at OU, especially that it was offered as a separate major instead of just a certificate.
“I was really drawn to the aspects of entrepreneurship and the autonomy that comes with that,” O’Breza explained. “I’ve always sort of been a leader, and I’ve always liked to pave my own path. I wanted something that would cultivate those qualities in me and help me grow in that.”
During her junior year in fall 2018, O’Breza participated in the First Fidelity Bank Integrated Business Core (IBC) program, which provides students with real-world experiences as they form companies and create and sell products. A key component of IBC is philanthropy with all profits donated to local organizations, and students also complete service hours.
O’Breza served as vice president of philanthropy for her group, which sold a Sooner Schooner blanket. The group chose to donate the profits to the Curbside Chronicle and complete volunteer hours at the Boys and Girls Club through Center for Children and Families, which O’Breza coordinated for 20 people.
Throughout the semester, O’Breza saw the impact the Boys and Girls Club has on local children and discovered a passion for service, so she decided to remain involved with the organization through the mentorship program. For the last year and a half, she has worked with two girls who are now in the second grade.