Life in Wilmington

I moved to Wilmington, North Carolina this past Saturday and began my career today. I accepted a position in May as WECT-TV’s new Meteorologist/Reporter. I love the job, people, and city. Life is great! Here are some pictures to tell my story, since I need to get some sleep. I’m a working woman now!

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Officially an ALUM

I did it! I walked across the stage at the O’Connell Center yesterday afternoon, proudly sang my alma mater, and flipped my tassel to the left. I am officially a Gator alumna and life is great. Congrats, fellow grads!


Cannot thank you enough

Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough. -Oprah Winfrey

Oprah is right; focus on the blessings in life and be thankful for what you have. Enjoy life and soak in the exciting moments! I am realizing how important this is as graduation approaches. I cannot believe the time is actually here. I graduate from my dream college, the University of Florida’s College of Journalism and Communications, in less than a week. At approximately 2:00pm EST next Saturday, I will walk across the stage at the O’Connell Center with such pride. I DID IT!

However, I did not do this alone. I have so much to be thankful for; there’s much to be grateful for. I really do not understand how I became so fortunate to live such an incredible life up to this point. Family, friends (new and old!), professors, teachers, mentors, my boyfriend… I am just in awe at the amount of support I have in my life day in and day out. Thanks to them I’ve continued to pursue greatness and conquer my dreams.

Although I officially become a UF alumna on Saturday, May 3rd, I will forever carry the memories from Gainesville in my heart. I will never forget the people who helped me become what I am today and I will always remember the experiences I had during undergrad years. This past week has been surreal. I found out I am graduating with Summa Cum Laude honors. I officially joined the UF Alumni Association and I was honored with a UF Tradition Keeper medal. Once a Gator, always a Gator. I am thrilled and anxious for the next chapter of my life.

My job hunt is in full swing and I even begin Mississippi State University to pursue a Masters in Geosciences in Applied Meteorology on May 12th. No matter where life takes me, I have to continue to thank everyone who has stuck by my side since the beginning (you know who you are). So, THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU! Go Gators.

Scuba Certified!

As of April 5, 2014, I am officially a NAUI certified open water scuba diver! Growing up near the beach in South Florida, this has always been a dream of mine. I love being outdoors, but especially spending time at the beach. The beautiful ocean and plentiful life underwater is mind-blowing.

For my last semester of college, I enrolled in a scuba diving class at UF with my younger brother. He’s a freshman and I, of course, am graduating just a couple of short weeks. On Tuesdays, we met with the class to swim in the Florida Pool with scuba gear. Wednesday evenings, we would meet in the classrooms to learn more about scuba. We took two trips this semester: one to Manatee Springs State Park and one to Islamorada, with a total of five certification dives. I saw a puffer, tons of coral, and other colorful fish. My favorite part was the fact that I got to share this special experience with my brother!

I’m very excited for the future with my diver’s license and cannot wait to see where it takes me. Next stop, Tahiti? I wish! 🙂


Celebrating with the CJC

Last night, I was awarded with the Ruth & Rae O. Weimer Award and the Outstanding Scholar Award for UF’s College of Journalism and Communications. I could not be more grateful for all of my wonderful mentors (too many to name because the CJC is amazing!) who’ve helped and guided me during my years as an undergrad. Wow, what a dream come true. I love UF’s CJC and it will forever be my second home.


My time as an undergrad at UF in the CJC has been such a blessing. I’m so thankful for the awards, but at the end of the day I give all of the credit to these two incredible people. Thank you for being by my side for the special occasion tonight. Love you, Mom and Dad!


Take a look at the entire album from last night’s ceremony, too on Facebook! Happy Tuesday.

And the winner is…

What a week it has been here in Los Angeles, California representing UF’s wonderful College of Journalism and Communications. I’ve learned so many new skills and have met many great people. If you’d like a quick recap of what we did this week, I briefly blogged about it in my last post.

Now, on to the exciting news! As usual, UF dominated the student competition. This year, we had 15 finalists in the national competition. That alone is a huge accomplishment. Tonight (Saturday, March 15), UF took home 6 total awards!!!
  • Leanna Scachetti, Audio News Package, Grand Prize (Plane Crash Breaking Newscast)
  • Lauren Rautenkranz, Video Feature Package, Grand Prize (Local farm benefitting from Halloween)
  • Bothaina Saleh, Video Open Category, Grand Prize, WUFT News Veterans Day Special
  • Lauren Rautenkranz, NBS-AERho Member of Year
  • University of Florida, Chapter of the Year
  • Shahd El Lamei, Instagram On the Spot Competition
I am so incredibly proud and honored to be a part of such a great university! The Chapter of the Year award was something I have been striving for during my time as the GatorNBS President. I’d love to know if this is a first for UF!? I’m glad our hard work paid off. I’m also so happy with all 20 students who attended this week. They networked with professionals, asked questions during panel discussions, met with other students from different chapters, acted and dressed very professionally, and were consistently on their best behavior. Next year, NBS heads to Atlanta, GA for the annual convention.


I’ll be back in Gainesville for WUFT News at Six on Monday. I cannot wait to get back to my second home! 🙂