An Interview with Lauren Weatherly Geier, BA ’01, Psychology & MS ’03, Community Counseling with her husband Trey Geier, BS ’03, Health Service Administration

Lauren Weatherly Geier & Trey Geier Hughes (Now EDGE@Hughes)

Lauren Weatherly Geier & Trey Geier
Hughes (Now EDGE@Hughes)

Dr. Stone: Lauren, you and Trey were in the Hughes Residential College charter class~the very first group to be in Arkansas’s first residential college at a 4-year, public university. Tell me about how you view your experience in hindsight.

Lauren: As a high school senior looking to transition into college, I had no idea who I wanted to become. I was holding tight to my high school friends unsure how to make the transition to campus life. For the first couple of months of school, I kept returning home on the weekends continuing to awkwardly straddle childhood and adulthood. I wasn’t happy. My dad sat me down and lovingly banned me from the house and challenged me to engage at school. Fortunately I had chosen to live in a residential college. At the time I made that choice, I didn’t know anything about a residential community. I simply chose it because several high school friends were applying and it was the only co-ed hall for freshmen. When I needed to find my niche, the residential college made it easier than I could have imagined. Within a matter of days, I went from being unhappy about growing up to being an active, valued member of my college community. I not only excelled in my classes, but I became involved in hall events and made friends. Having professors spend time in the hall getting to know the students outside of the classroom, made them feel more approachable. I could have easily been a student that returned home after the first semester to commute without becoming involved in college. I’m thankful that my story was different. I served as the UCA Chapter of Habitat for Humanity president, became a Resident Assistant, was president of the Resident Assistant Council, Co-Chair of the first Arkansas Residence Life Organization Conference, was inducted in the Psychology honors society, and many other campus activities. Another “Hughesie” and I represented UCA and Hughes Residential College at a conference about residential communities in Vermont. My years at UCA were among the best of my life and beginning those years as a part of Hughes Residential College was a significant reason.

Dr. Stone: I remember the Vermont Conference! So what about Trey? Is his story much like yours?

My husband was also a resident in Hughes Residential College but our experiences began very differently. Trey entered UCA expecting college to be as easy as high school. He immediately jumped into hall events and quickly knew everyone in the hall. He was having a blast but not focusing on his studies. In fact, by the time we began dating, he’d lost his scholarship and had enlisted into the US Army Reserves as a Plan B and would leave for basic training the summer after our freshmen year. He often says that at the time it would have been easier to not come back to college and become a fulltime soldier. However, because of the connections he’d made in Hughes, he never considered not returning to UCA. Our Resident Master, Dr. (Mike)Mathis, and another Professor, Dr. (Steve) Lance were instrumental in encouraging Trey to refocus and return to school. Trey sat out a semester while going to basic training, but returned and became involved again in the residential college community and graduated in 2003 with a BS in Health Service Administration.

Dr. Stone: I hear you’ve been back on campus to talk to one of UCA’s other Residential Colleges about what you do in life. What was that like?

Lauren: Recently, I had the opportunity to speak about my profession as a children’s therapist for a developmental psychology class in HPaW Residential College in Baridon Hall. As I prepared, I reflected on my time in Hughes and was overwhelmed with appreciation that Trey and I both began our college careers in Hughes Residential College. Trey and I credit Hughes Residential College for bringing us together, beginning our academic careers, connecting us with lifelong friends, and involving us in the school we love. We are Bears through and through and it all started in Hughes!