About Our Founder

Lauren Bartel

Lauren Bartel is currently a college student at Harvard University, concentrating in Integrative Organismic and Evolutionary Biology with a secondary in Anthropology, and additional coursework in creative arts.

From a young age, Lauren became increasingly aware of societal and planetary concerns. She encouraged her peers to speak out and write about climate change only to realize teenagers are filled with incredible dreams, passion, and ideas to help the world. But, because of their young age, it’s presumed they aren’t ready to contribute meaningfully to society. Lauren dreamed of, founded, designed, and began to develop Our Bright World to provide teenagers with a platform to contribute and implement their ideas to benefit the community and the world around us. 

Lauren has been honored as the outstanding scholar in her class in high school and is the founder and leader of several school and community organizations, programs, and projects focused on science, conservation and innovation, literary and visual arts, and peer service. She has also been conducting independent research in botany at the world-renowned Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden and in marine biology at the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science. Lauren has testified before local, state, and federal government agencies and officials on environmental and ecological issues, and she was one of 100 students nationwide to participate in the Washington Youth Summit on the Environment in Washington, D.C. co-sponsored by the Smithsonian Institute and National Geographic.

In addition, Lauren has twice been the recipient of the President’s Volunteer Service Award Gold Medal, the Congressional Award Silver Medal recipient (the highest honor Congress may bestow upon a youth civilian), and other service awards for outstanding academic achievement, exceptional civic engagement, and leadership, and commitment to national service. In 2022, Lauren was the recipient of the Harvard Veritas Award, the highest leadership award bestowed on a Harvard student, reflecting the university’s motto of Veritas (truth).

Lauren is a nationally award-winning, published author, visual artist, and photo essayist and the recipient of multiple international, national, state, and regional honors and scholarships for academic achievement, leadership and volunteer service, and original scholarly papers, research, creative writing, and visual artwork. For her leadership and service, she has been featured and profiled in several national and regional publications. Among her independent research projects are a botanical scientific research paper pending publication and an extended essay on the vulnerability and sustainability of Biscayne Bay. At Harvard University, Lauren serves on the boards of both the Harvard Museums of Science & Culture and the Harvard Art Museums. She is also a Harvard research scientist working under the direction of the chair of the Organismic and Evolutionary Biology Department, studying molecular evolution, systematics, phylogeography, comparative genomics, and behavioral evolution.

She hopes to pursue a Ph.D. in some aspect of life and biological sciences. Lauren dreams of becoming a high-impact scholar and biologist who also uses aspects of original creative and nonfiction writing and visual art to connect with, educate, and inspire others to better the world.