Since Lauren Shenk’s days of playing basketball for the Buckeyes have ended, there have been a lot of changes in her life, but many of the familiar passions remain. Now nearly two years later, Lauren Shenk Miller, who sported No. 20 when she played for Ohio State from 1998-2002, is definitely keeping busy in her second year as a student in the Ohio State College of Medicine.
A typical day for Shenk includes class at 8:30 a.m. and, depending on the day, she is done with school anywhere between 11:30 a.m. and 5 p.m.
“You’re really expected to learn a lot of things on your own,” Shenk said. “I’m still in the classroom and won’t actually be placed in a hospital until the last two years of medical school.”
This summer Shenk will begin her required clinicals and will work in a hospital. She is done with classes in April and has a month off to study for the state board examinations before she takes the first of several in June. Shenk has not decided on a focus of study, but she still has time to figure that out.
“I haven’t decided on a specialty,” Shenk said. “That comes a lot in your third and fourth years of med school when you are able to have exposure to a lot of different situations. Some areas are certainly more competitive, but at this point I’m open to anything. I want to be sure my specialty has patient interaction and I want it to fit into my lifestyle.”
While attending medical school, Shenk still has time to watch some of her former teammates – and current friends – play basketball in Value City Arena. Sitting in the stands also gives her the opportunity to reflect on her days playing basketball for the Buckeyes.
“I like to go watch the girls play,” Shenk said. “I think it is such a great opportunity to sit in the stands. I can really relate to what they are going through because I have been there too. When they lost at home to Michigan State (Jan. 15), I definitely knew how they were feeling. Looking back, I’m very proud of what I was a part of.”
In addition to being a four-year letterwinner who became part of the Ohio State 1,000-point scoring club, Shenk’s academic honors include being named a two-time Verizon CoSIDA District IV Academic All-American, a three-time Academic-All Big Ten selection, a four-time OSU Scholar-Athlete and a 2002 Big Ten Medal of Honor finalist. She also was the recipient of numerous awards her senior year, including the Phyllis J. Bailey Award (given annually for athletic achievement, academic responsibility, effort, enthusiasm and loyalty to the program), the John T. Sr. and Hulda E. Edwards Award (given to further the education of a student-athlete who is enrolling in professional or graduate school at Ohio State) and the Irving and Melvin Schottenstein Award (based on demonstrated athletic and academic success as well as community contributions through involvement in civic or university organization).
“There are some days I really miss playing,” Shenk said, “but I really enjoy what I am doing now.”
Whether she wanted to be or not, Shenk was one of the Ohio State Department of Athletics’ top role model in terms of a true student-athlete. Shenk and former Ohio State quarterback Craig Krenzel, both molecular genetics majors, excelled not only in the classroom but also in their respective sports. For these accomplishments, they are known for their intelligence in the world of Ohio State athletics.
“It’s something you kind of wish you heard more of,” Shenk said. “You always hear about Craig Krenzel being a molecular genetics major who knows how to throw a football. It’s good to be recognized under that kind of label and it’s great when student-athletes are able to balance to the two.”
Aside from the books and all her hard work in the classroom, Shenk has a lot of memories from her playing days in The Schottenstein Center.
“My favorite memory is probably winning the WNIT, because that was such a tough year and we got through it,” Shenk said. “It was really great playing in that kind of environment. Unfortunately, I never played in an NCAA tournament like the girls last year did. This team has that experience and that (playing in the NCAA Tournament) is something they will never forget.”
Shenk said the most important thing she has taken away from her four years playing basketball at Ohio State is how much a team sport made her grow as an individual.
“It makes you more responsible, having to balance school and basketball. It made me more mature – the way our team had to adapt to the ups and downs of the season,” Shenk said. “I learned from everything. It made me stronger and smarter. I’m able to deal with things going on in my life right now.”
Shenk can put that kind of knowledge to good use in her marriage. She and WNBS-TV sportscaster Ryan Miller, a former Ohio State football player, tied the knot on July 5, 2003. It many not surprise anyone to know how they met – when Miller was just out of college and was working at the time for WBNS-AM radio. As an intern, he was asked to go cover Ohio State women’s basketball. Meanwhile, Lauren Shenk was wearing No. 20 for the squad, in her second season playing for the Buckeyes.
“She was in the postgame interviews and I remember our eyes meeting and it just felt like we had a lot of chemistry. I really wanted to ask her out but I was nervous because I was a part of the media.”
With a new marriage and attending classes, Shenk is no doubt staying busy. She does, however, find some time to lace up her Nikes and shoot some hoops. Her husband, currently working part-time on his M.B.A. at the Fisher College of Business, and Shenk, enrolled in medical school, are signed up to play in an intramural league this winter at Larkins Hall.
“Each of us has a vested interest in basketball,” Shenk said. “We don’t play as much as we would like to but it’s still a lot of fun when we do get to play.”