From Brush, Colorado, Lori Driscoll ’94 Took the Road Less Traveled to CC

Hailing from a ranch in rural Brush, Colorado, Lori Driscoll ’94 took the road less traveled to come to CC. The more typical path for her college-bound peers was to study engineering at Colorado School of Mines or University of Colorado.

“That was the route that was expected of most kids where I came from,” Driscoll said. “There wasn’t much discussion of, what happens to kids who are good in English or music?”

It was only when Driscoll visited a friend who was two years older than her and a student at CC that she learned of the opportunities available at this small liberal arts college in Colorado Springs.

“I saw the classrooms, and I couldn’t believe how small they were. People were actually facing each other in the classrooms. And I knew that this would be a wonderful place to be, but I couldn’t afford to go here.”

Driscoll received a scholarship from the Boettcher Foundation, which supports promising Colorado students who attend a college or university in their home state, that enabled her to come to CC without cost.

When she arrived on campus as a first-year, Driscoll experienced culture shock.

“Coming from a small farming community and seeing my peers who were so well-traveled and well-read, they had a lot of cultural capital. I had no cultural capital whatsoever — or at least, I didn’t see myself as having any cultural capital,” Driscoll said. “But I loved CC. It was just the most amazing experience to be able to explore a topic really deeply.”

She developed a passion for psychology and the brain, and soon realized she could build a career in academia — a profession she didn’t see anyone else from her hometown pursuing.

“What was life-changing was the attention I received at Colorado College and the importance that was placed on me and my education — the opportunity to grow with others and get to know the faculty more intimately.”

Driscoll graduated in 1994 with a degree in psychology. She went on to earn a Ph.D. in biopsychology at Cornell University and conduct award-winning neuroscience research.

In 2003, she returned to CC as an assistant professor in the same department from which she graduated. Nearly 20 years later, she is associate chair and professor of neuroscience and psychology.

“I loved the opportunities that coming to this school suddenly afforded me. I felt like I had found my people for the first time in my life,” Driscoll said. “I think my parents expected that I would go to college, and I would graduate and immediately enter the world of work. CC was just a different pathway, and it opened up a new world for me.”

Driscoll is also an instructor and mentor for CC’s Stroud Scholars college access program, viewing it as one of the most meaningful roles she can take on.

“I like to share my story and let the students know that it doesn’t matter if you don’t look and talk like other students at the school, because you are valued,” Driscoll said “It worked for me. All you need to do is open your heart and open your mind.”

Report an issue - Last updated: 09/28/2022