Finding Their Own Path
Siblings studying in College of Business & Economics find ways to make college experience at U of I their own.
Jason and Lauren Curlanis have always had similar interests.
The brother and sister pair from Kirkland, Washington, both grew up playing soccer and participating in martial arts. They both like to travel. They both value experiences over things.
And they both have an interest in business. When it was time for Jason to pick a college, he landed on the University of Idaho. The quality of U of I’s College of Business & Economics (CBE), the friendly staff and the robust Greek system — as well as scholarships that made U of I competitive with in-state Washington schools — convinced Jason to move from the urban Seattle area to Moscow.
Two years later, when it was time for sister Lauren to pick a college, it was CBE’s reputation, the small class sizes and a great track program — as well as seeing the positive experience her brother was having — that convinced her U of I would be a good fit for her, too.
“I didn’t want to go somewhere just to follow my big brother,” said Lauren, 20, now a sophomore marketing major. But after a campus tour and meeting with the track coaches, “I knew it was a place that I wanted to be.”
Coming to U of I was a good experience for the siblings, and even though they’re studying in the same college, they are by no means having the same experience.
Jason, 22, who graduates in May with a bachelor’s degree in marketing and finance, pursued Greek life alongside his academics. He joined Beta Theta Pi, and said the Greek community has been a huge part of his experience here.
“I’ve met an unbelievable amount of people here that I know I can count on for years to come,” Jason said. “It’s given me a really great support system of this group of brothers who are always going to have my back.”
Lauren found her U of I family on the track as a triple jumper and long jumper. The supportive atmosphere mirrored her brother’s experience in Greek life.
“You have to work so hard to be a college athlete. You have so many experiences with the other athletes — you see what everyone else puts in,” she said. “I feel like my teammates and coaches will always have my back.”
Track & Field Director Tim Cawley said Lauren has been a good fit on the track team — a dedicated and hard-working athlete who is working to grow her abilities, including serving as a mentor to her freshmen teammates and helping them get adjusted to the expectations of college athletics and academics.
“I think she has a tenacious work ethic, on and off the track,” Cawley said. “She has one of the top GPAs on the team. She always pushes herself to be the best that she can be. She’s just an amazing teammate.”
While they run in different circles and only bump into each other on campus periodically, the siblings try to make time for each other, too.
During her freshman year, Lauren would treat her brother to dinner at Bob’s Place once a week, where they could catch up on each other’s lives. And being able to ask for study help as she went through business classes her brother had already passed was nice, too. They also helped nurse each other through a bout with “the plague” last year.
“It’s nice to know that I have someone to go to who can help me out,” Lauren said.
“Now that we’re not living together, we’re just like regular friends,” Jason said.
“Now, when given the choice, we want to be together. We choose to hang out together,” Lauren said.
The siblings grew up close, playing the same sports and going on family vacations and mission trips to Mexico and Costa Rica. Jason spent summer 2015 studying abroad in Bilbao, Spain.
“It was an unreal experience,” Jason said. He doesn’t speak fluent Spanish, so he tried to absorb as much of the language and culture as he could during the trip, which included eight weeks of study.
Their family plans to spend a few weeks this summer in Italy as a post-graduation trip, then Lauren will visit a friend in Sweden before spending the summer backpacking across Europe.
“I have the travel bug pretty hard,” she said. “I’m ready to go see more of the world.”
After graduation, Jason wants to start his career in sales or as financial advisor, getting to know the business world from the inside and finding his niche. At U of I, he’s been a part of student-run business Vandal Solutions, on the sales and social teams. That’s helped him learn more about what he’s interested in.
Lauren would like to pursue a career with an athletics or outdoor lifestyle company, something that matches her passion for sports and an active lifestyle. But she’s still keeping an open mind, and plans to apply for Vandal Solutions herself, as well as look for an internship for the summer after her junior year.
“I’m trying to keep it very open, and not have a narrow focus,” she said. “I don’t want to miss out on an opportunity that could be something I’d really like.”
Article by Savannah Tranchell, University Communications & Marketing