Laura Liptrap (C’23): Mother, Business Owner and Lifelong Learner
Laura Liptrap (C’23) has waited long enough for her diploma. A business owner, mother and lifelong learner, Liptrap is excited to walk across the stage and rack up one more accolade: college graduate.
Raised in Anaheim, California, Liptrap jumped into the workforce at a young age, beginning her first full-time job before she’d even received her high school diploma. Taught from her earliest years to value a hard day’s work, the path to higher education seemed opaque – none of her family members had gone to college, let alone navigated the entrance exams, interviews and financial hurdles associated with a post-secondary degree. So, Liptrap put her nose to the grindstone and didn’t look back.
Absorbing business fundamentals, technical know-how and networking skills as she went, Liptrap quickly established herself as a savvy businesswoman, starting her own company that specializes in legal support services for medical professionals and organizations.
Back to School
When her own daughter finished high school, Liptrap made sure that college was on the table. Then, after her daughter graduated from Harvard University and was accepted into Yale Law School, Liptrap faced a personally transformative event in New Haven, which prompted her to re-evaluate her life’s path. Liptrap began to seriously contemplate returning to school herself.
“I realized that I was the only person holding myself back,” said Liptrap. “It was all up to me and only I could initiate that change. That’s when I set out on my journey.”
Liptrap first earned her associate’s degree from Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa, California before transferring to Georgetown. Vanessa Corcoran, an advising dean in the College of Arts & Sciences, not only reviewed Liptrap’s application essay but also advised her during her time on the Hilltop.
“When I read Laura’s application essay to transfer here in 2021, I knew I wanted her here at Georgetown,” said Corcoran. “I was thrilled that not only were we able to admit her, but that I got to advise her and have her in my medieval history seminar in the spring of 2022. I’m so excited to see her cross this finish line, and look forward to seeing what she’ll do next.”
Crossing the country to finish her bachelor’s degree was a leap, leaving behind her home and her community, but Liptrap knew that the Hilltop was the place for her.
“Georgetown has believed in me as much as I believed in myself,” said Liptrap. “I’m extremely grateful – Georgetown has given me this opportunity and it’s been a lot of hard work, but I am so extremely pleased with my decision to come here.”
Originally drawn to the Hilltop to pursue a government major, Liptrap tacked on another major in history once she began her classes. Her coursework has had a profound impact on her, especially Douglas Reed’s class on race and the U.S. education system.
“Professor Reed taught me about the indifference towards race in U.S. education – I went to schools in Washington, DC to see first-hand the way that policies play out,” said Liptrap. “The education I received from Professor Reed broadened my understanding and perspective regarding the intersection of privilege and education, which was eye-opening for me as I looked back over my own life.”
Reed’s professorial style and attention to detail have left a profound impression on Liptrap.
“He is a remarkable professor,” said Liptrap. “With his understated yet impactful eloquence, he impressively unravels the intricate layers of inequality in America. Professor Reed was always receptive to my curiosity and his teachings have deeply influenced my life.
Engaging coursework and professors like Reed helped transform how Liptrap now views education, as a lifelong, enriching process, rather than a discrete goal.
“I quickly learned after the first semester that this journey wasn’t just about having a degree in my hands, but about pursuing my passions and learning,” said Liptrap. “All people are deserving of an education and I didn’t have access to that privilege until recently.”
After graduating, Liptrap plans to continue growing her business, but she’s not done learning yet.
“I’m excited to take what I’ve learned at Georgetown and go back and apply it to my business,” said Liptrap. “There are so many passions that Georgetown has ignited within me. I plan on narrowing those down and applying to grad schools starting in the fall.”
-by Hayden Frye (C’17)