Classic Signals: College student turned celebrity

By Elise Schoening
Features Editor

Every week, Features Editor Elise Schoening hits the archives and finds old Signals that relate to current College topics and top stories.

The College made headlines this summer when a civil engineering alumnus (’12) was featured on the latest season of “The Bachelorette.” But Will Haduch isn’t the only graduate at the College to make it on TV. Back in 2003, MTV cameras followed Lauren Wanko around for an episode of “True Life: I’m a High School Senior.” When Wanko came to the College the following fall, she was routinely recognized by her peers and deemed a campus celebrity.

True, the College can’t brag about the Olsen twins walking its hallowed halls. There are no paparazzi hidden under tables at Brower Student Center or trailing students as they walk to their English classes: no bodyguards securing the dining hall before lunch; no torrid tabloid incidents taking place on our campus. For the most part, we’re just a bunch of regular, wholesome college kids… or are we?

As a matter of fact, the College is home to some unique faces that have made headlines in the last few years.

Who can forget Lauren Wanko, the junior communication studies major who allowed MTV cameras to follow her around and document her senior year for an episode of their hit series “True Life”?

After participating in a casting call in her high school’s library, Wanko was selected by MTV producers to be profiled for “True Life: I’m a High School Senior.” Taping began one week after the initial interviewing process, and MTV’s cameras followed her around from February until her graduation.

Although the special aired months before the College’s freshmen moved in for Welcome Week in the fall of 2003, Wanko was still recognized by the majority of her classmates.

“I did not expect to be recognized as much as I was when I arrived on campus,” she said. “Total strangers were commenting about how I changed my hair color. I was definitely surprised by the amount of students who watched the show. I quickly realized just how large of an audience MTV had.”

These days, Wanko has taken charge of launching her career, without the help of MTV’s cameras. Last April, she signed a contract to work at New Jersey Network, located in nearby Trenton. She is both a reporter and associate producer for a weekly, half-hour program.