Laurie Dien

Vice President & Executive Director for Programs, Pinkerton Foundation

Laurie Dien grew up in St. Louis with dreams first of designing toys and later entire playgrounds. She went on to earn a B.A. from Barnard and a Ph.D. in environmental psychology from the CUNY Graduate School. Only then did she realize that her true motivation was a desire to improve the lives of young people in general. That led her to the Hasbro Children’s Foundation and ultimately to The Pinkerton Foundation in 1997. More than a decade ago, Laurie was instrumental in the founding of the Career Internship Network, a source of education and professional development opportunities for organizations that offer internships to thousands of high school students each year.

Laurie continues to have a special fondness for programs that provide career exploration for all young people and education and employment opportunities for those who are out of work and out of school. She is a member of the New York Community Trust Workforce Funders Collaborative, and is also one of the architects of the Science Research Mentoring Consortium. Currently in its third year, the initiative — now known as the Pinkerton Science Scholars Program — offers intensive science training and one-on-one mentoring in an authentic laboratory research project to talented high school students from disadvantaged backgrounds. That’s a long way from the toy box (or the sandbox, for that matter), but we see evidence every day that Laurie’s still having a lot of fun.