Alumni Relations

Lauren E. Harmison

Lauren E. HarmisonLauren
Camp PossAbility, Inc. 
CEO and Camp Director

B.S. '06 - Education
A.S. '09 - Nursing

Q: How has your degree been beneficial to you and your career?
A: Both of my degrees have been beneficial to me in all of my life experiences. While in the end I did not pursue a career in education, that degree paved the way for my career in nursing. As a nurse, I teach on a daily basis whether it be about healthy lifestyle choices, medications, or procedures. And now I take that knowledge into my new venture, starting Camp PossAbility which has become my full time career, in addition to caring for my sweet 9 month old daughter, Reece.

Q: How did you become interested in the medical field?
A: I have had an interest in nursing since I was 3 years old. Through a round about way, I returned to that field. Camp nursing has become a big part of that love and I volunteered as an RN at an adaptive camp in Missouri for the last 3 years in addition to my job as an RN (most recently at Dupont Hospital).

Q: What is the best career advice you have been given?
A: You need to love what you do. If you have a bad day at work, you need to have the motivation to go back the next day and be ready to start again because you know the work is in a field you love.

Q: Was there anyone during your time at IPFW who acted as a mentor to you?
I had some amazing mentors during my time at IPFW. Dr. Phyllis Agness was an amazing leader and example. Her gentle spirit and willingness to make a difference in our community left a big impact on my life. Even though she is now retired, I still keep in contact with her today. Dr. Jeff Nowak and Dr. Terri Swim were also great mentors in the education field who pushed me to be a leader. And in my nursing career, Dr. Beth Kaskel was an amazing mentor who always encouraged me to look at the big picture and never give up when classes got harder. She always took the time to see the personal side of me and not just the academic side. We are great friends to this day and she now serves on the Board of Directors for Camp PossAbility.

Q: What course(s) have you found to be most valuable in your professional life?
Dr. Agness's Educational Psychology classes were among my all time favorites with a lot of practical information on interpreting life and the people in our lives. Dr. Kaskel's course in Nursing Psychology was a great help in general because it gave a vast knowledge of how to understand people and what they might be experiencing. My pediatric nursing class was overall my favorite nursing class because I love peds and it was also full of useful information that was well taught and explained.

Q: What would be your advice to someone who is considering IPFW?
IPFW is definitely a great school. It is well recognized and well respected in the community. It is also a great place to go if you want to graduate with not a great deal of debt. I would highly recommend it. As a nurse, patients would ask me where I went to nursing school. Many times after telling them I was a graduate of IPFW they said, "Oh, I heard that is a good (and hard!) program. I will be in great hands then!!" That is definitely a boost of confidence.

Q: What advice would you give to a current IPFW student?
Work hard, study hard, and get to know your professors. Some of my greatest friends and allies during school were my profs. At IPFW, students have the opportunity to get to know and learn directly from their profs. Don't miss out on that opportunity.

Q: Do you have a favorite and/or funny story about your time at IPFW?
A: My husband Eric and I met at IPFW in 2007. We met through InterVarsity Christian Fellowship (a student group on campus) but then kept running into each other in the computer lab, the bookstore, the main walkway, etc. Eventually I knew the timing of his classes well enough that I could purposely "run into" him. We have been happily married now for 9 years and going strong. So IPFW can be good for more than just academics.

Q: What do you consider to be your greatest accomplishments, both personally and professionally? 
A: My greatest personal accomplishments have been marrying my husband Eric and having our sweet daughter, Reece Adalynn (born October 21, 2013). Professionally, my greatest accomplishment so far is starting Camp PossAbility. Camp PossAbility is a one week summer camp for mentally high functioning young adults ages 18 to 35 with physical disabilities. It is set to start in 2015, and we are currently in process of raising funds for camper scholarships and camp expenses to make that happen. Most adapted adult camps combine high functioning and low functioning adults with physical disabilities together. Our camp is unique in that is it specifically for high functioning young adults with physical disabilities. So our campers may be in college, have jobs, etc. but just need a break in the summer where they can relax, play, and have everything already adapated. In our research, we have not found anything quite like it across the country.

Q: Where do you hope to be in 10 years?
In 10 years, I hope to be a better wife and a better mother. I hope I will have furthered my education and impacted our community for good. I also hope I am still running Camp PossAbility and that it has multiple U.S. locations by then as well.

Q: How would you like to be remembered?
I would like to be remembered as someone who loved God, who loved and served others, who thought of others before herself, and who made a difference. Without those, there is not much legacy!


Camp PossAbility Dinner & Auction 
October 17, 2014

October Fundraiser

Camp PossAbility will be hosting a dinner and auction with special guests Brettly Otterman and Tyler Dale from the History Channel show American Restoration. Fort Wayne celebrity Curtis Smith from 21Alive will emcee.

Meet and Greet begins at 5:30 p.m. (limited tickets available). General admission begins at 6:30 p.m. Event will run from 6:30 to 9:00 p.m. and includes autograph signing by Brettly Otterman and Tyler Dale, silent auction, appetizers, buffet dinner, chocolate fountain, and live auction.

Auction items include items from: Bel Kai, Bolder Bands, Connelly’s Do It Best, MudLOVE pottery, Wagon Wheel Theatre, and many, many more with the highlight of the auction being a restored item from Rick’s Restoration in Las Vegas, Nevada.

You won’t want to miss it!!

Event Location:
Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW)
Walb International Ballroom
2101 E. Coliseum Blvd.
Fort Wayne, IN 46805

Catering & Cash Bar Provided by:
Goeglein’s Catering with Chocolate Fountain by Fort Wayne Chocolate Fountain

Tickets will go fast so you will want to order quickly. All tickets are pre-order. No tickets will be available at the event.

  • Meet and Greet: $65/person*
  • Dinner and Auction: $45/person*

*Event attendees must be 21 and older.