Rich, who lived much of her childhood in Clarkton, graduated Magna Cum Laude from Campbell University in May 2002, where she earned a bachelor of arts degree with a major in mass communications and a minor in religion.
During the first semester of her senior year at Campbell, she served as an intern at the Biblical Recorder.
The daughter of Reverend Mike Thompson, pastor of Clarkton Baptist Church, and his wife, Rebecca, Rich said she grew up deeply rooted in religious doctrine and the teachings of her denomination.
She said her interest in a career in communications and journalism was kindled while she was a student at Bladenboro High School.
"Susan Kelly taught me English and Journalism and originally sparked my interest in publishing," said Rich. "She gave me my first taste of publishing-meeting deadlines and the creative part of putting a publication together."
Rich continued her studies in communications after she matriculated to Campbell, where she worked on the staff of the Campbell Times, the school's newspaper.
She stated that her interest became deeper under the tutelage of Dr. John Carvalho at Campbell.
"Professor Dan Ensley, who died in the summer of 2001, built a strong, practical Mass Communications program at Campbell that focuses on internships and other hands-on media experiences," said Rich. "Dr. Carvalho, current chair of the department of mass communications, was my Campbell Times advisor, who pushed me to develop my skills as a reporter and editor."
Rich worked as events editor and writer during her tenure with the Campbell Times.
The Biblical Recorder's editor, Tony W. Cartledge, said he is delighted to have Rich on board.
"As a lifelong 'preacher's kid' and graduate of Campbell University, she is well versed in Baptist life," he said. "As a talented and developing young journalist, she is overflowing with potential."
Thompson said her employment with the Biblical Recorder gives her an opportunity to "give back" to her denomination and those who have been so supportive of her during the years.
"I owe North Carolina Baptists a lot," said Rich. "I grew up in a Baptist church, and I went to school on a Baptist scholarship. This is a way I can be of service to the denomination and those who have supported me through the years."
Rich also received scholarship assistance from the North Carolina Rescue and EMS Association.
Rich's parents are natives of the area. Dr. Thompson grew up in Columbus County and Rebecca grew up in the Bladenboro area. Rich's sister, Kristen, is a junior at Wake Forest University.
Laura is married to Wesley Rich, a 1997 graduate of Bladenboro High School and son of Ted and Sandra Rich of Dublin. He is a seventh grade teacher in the Johnston County School system.