Country rocker Lauren Mink

Recent former GC student Lauren Mink has a lot more on her plate right now – a meaningful full-time job with a non-profit in her hometown (Winchester, KY) with an annual fundraising gala to coordinate and the upcoming “Hollywood Round.”

Yes! One of the breakout stars of the “American Idol” Season 11 premiere (Jan. 18), filmed at the Savannah auditions, Lauren is headed to Hollywood. Stay tuned to Fox in February to see if she makes the Top 12. But, check out Lauren on this YouTube video – her singing and the featurette “Idol” did on STRIDE, the organization she directs, are solid gold!

The “Idol” judges were unanimous. Jennifer Lopez pointed to her own goose-bumps during Lauren’s performance and later said Lauren’s version of “Country Strong” gave her “goosies;” Steven Tyler was amazed at “so much passion behind (her) notes;” and Randy Jackson said she had “a Jennifer Nettles Sugarlandish kind-of-like thing there.”

Known around central Kentucky as quite a country-rock singer, Lauren has auditioned for Idol before as well as tried her luck in Nashville. Neither panned out, but she keeps doing what she loves at places like the patio at Merrick Inn.

Maskrafters director George McGee remembers Lauren as quite “a belter” from when she was double-cast in two roles (Marty and Rizzo) for “Grease” a few years ago. “She impressed me back then with her powerful voice,” said the Theatre & Performance Studies professor.

“Judging by last (Wednesday) night, her voice seems to have really matured. I heard real personalization,” McGee said. “She’s no longer ‘what can I do with this voice,’ but, ‘what can I do with this song’?”

A Communication & Media Studies major when she last attended Georgetown College in Fall 2009, Lauren is suddenly getting a big dose of what it’s like be on a star’s end of public relations.

She’d love to answer more questions from the media in central Kentucky, but contractually “American Idol” won’t let her divulge much at all.

Meanwhile, as Director of STRIDE (Supporting Therapeutic Recreation for Individuals with Disabilities Everyday – a program for adults with disabilities located in Winchester – Lauren Mink is using so many of those communications skills she learned at GC and a lot that comes just naturally to her. Right now she is busy helping the organization put on their annual fund-raising Winter Ball January 28 at Ron & Judy Tierney’s warehouse, 4475 Rockwell Road in Clark County. Dewey Pope and his band Prime Cut will be the entertainment, but surely they’ll be able to coax a song out of “our Idol.”

Tables for eight cost $800 or you may purchase tickets at $200 per couple. Call (859) 744-0370 or email Lauren at for more information on the event.

But, you can forget about more information on her “Idol” journey. You gotta stay tuned for that!