Meet Laura Smith
By Anthony Galliano
Laura Smith has authored Scene’s Top 5 column since January of this year. She is a freelance writer, content creator and communications professional based in Fort Collins. When Laura isn’t writing stories, she works with community nonprofits and travels the world.
Laura grew up in Nebraska and began her journalism career reporting for The Friend Sentinel. Her beats ran the gamut of small-town life. She covered city council meetings, local sports, education, and community events. Seeking the outdoors, Laura moved to Fort Collins nearly three years ago with her partner. “We like it here—it’s a cool town,” she says. “There’s always something going on.” She hikes 14ers in the summer, and enjoys biking and running year-round.
Laura is a community relations coordinator for the bicycle advocacy nonprofit Bike Fort Collins. The organization collaborates with local government to promote a safe and inclusive bicycle culture in town. Their motto is more bikes, safe streets. “Fulfilling our mission is really important,” she says. “We do a lot of good advocacy work, working with the city and making sure everyone is safe when they’re out there.” Laura has worked with a number of nonprofit organizations since moving to Fort Collins. Her first job in town was with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Larimer County, and it spurred her to become more involved with the community.
Recently, she became a coach for Girls on the Run, a youth development program that emphasizes teamwork and physical activity to teach girls in grades 3-8 life skills. The program ends with a 5k that marks the achievement of the participants. “Running is a huge part of my life,” she says. “Helping girls become more confident is also very important.”
Laura has traveled the world since 2012 when she visited Tanzania—her first venture out of the country—and hiked Mount Kilimanjaro. At the time she was an inexperienced hiker, and acclimating to the increasing altitude was strenuous. “My body got really tired at 17,000,” she says. “But I paid so much money that I wasn’t just going to be sick.” She summited the mountain which stands at 19,340 feet in elevation.
Since then she has traveled to the Netherlands, Peru, Colombia, Ecuador, Iceland, Ireland, France, Luxembourg, and Belgium. She prefers to visit natural areas over cities and seeks out locals to meet. Iceland, with its many stunning waterfalls, is her favorite destination.
Laura will keep traveling the world. But she plans to stay in Fort Collins, working with the community and writing stories.