Photo of Lauren Wallace with the book

They say success is all about who you know. For junior Lauren Wallace success is who you know but also having incredible talent that others notice. Wallace is a junior student-athlete from Bloomington, Minn., majoring in sports and recreation management and marketing here at the University of Minnesota Crookston. Wallace’s creativity and drive hasn’t gone unnoticed. Her efforts led her to an opportunity of a lifetime to illustrate a published children’s book called Redefining Strong.

Redefining Strong is a children’s book published through Amazon. The story follows five collegiate female athletes and the obstacles they faced in their careers. The hope of this book is to inspire kids to persevere and overcome their struggles and insecurities (Amazon). The author, Courtney Place, a collegiate volleyball player at Augustana University talked about her experience working with Wallace.

 “I played against Lauren when I was at Augustana and started following her on social media. When I was thinking about writing a children’s book she was the first person I thought of to illustrate. I am so glad I contacted her. Her illustrations are everything I ever imagined and more. She brought this book to life and captured each moment perfectly. Her talent is a hidden gem and I feel very lucky to have worked with such a kind and confident woman.”

Place is the founder of the See Us movement. The See Us movement is about spreading awareness about female athletes being underrepresented, sexualized and judged on appearance rather than ability. This book was created to help support their mission and to inspire young athletes.

Wallace being a collegiate volleyball player herself, knew this was an opportunity to make a positive impact on young athletes.

“From a female athlete's perspective, this book means that I have assisted in spreading a positive message about strength, determination, and hope. I am more than happy to be part of spreading that message because I have learned so much from playing volleyball since I was young and I want to encourage everyone to start playing their sport no matter what obstacles may be in their way. Sports have impacted my life in a huge way. I used to be a rather shy and quiet person and through sport I have boosted my confidence, become more social and unafraid to put myself out there, become aware of my strengths and weaknesses, and learned important leadership skills. These are all things that I am proud of and I wouldn't trade my experience in sports for anything.”

Wallace found her opportunity to continue her athletic career while obtaining a college education here at UMN Crookston. Her grace and intentionality is shown through her involvement on campus. Wallace is actively involved with a variety of positions on campus from being a Golden Eagle’s Women’s Volleyball player, to a wellness center employee, Student Athletes Advisory Committee (SAAC) member, and a student employee for alumni and development.

UMN Crookston could not be more #UMNproud of Wallace and her efforts. Purchase your own copy of Redefining Strong on Amazon.

About UMN Crookston

One of five campuses in the University of Minnesota System, the University of Minnesota Crookston cultivates curiosity by engaging students in hands-on learning connecting theory to practice. As the experienced leader in delivering education online, the Crookston campus offers a distinctive learning environment providing personal attention and mentorship to develop leaders, lifelong learners, and engaged citizens. Visit Crookston at 

About UMN

The University of Minnesota System, with campuses in Crookston, Duluth, Morris, Rochester, and the Twin Cities, is driven by a singular vision of excellence. We are proud of our land-grant mission of world-class education, groundbreaking research, and community-engaged outreach, and we are unified in our drive to serve Minnesota. Learn more at

Story Contact: Shawn Smith - - (218) 281-8414