From the beginning, Butler checked all of her boxes—small, liberal arts, major city with lots to offer, and not in Iowa. It was the “perfect fit” for Laura Michel ’08, the daughter of two public school educators and a middle child from—you guessed it—Iowa.
Michel started out as a Chemistry major with pre-med plans. After taking a few classes and thinking about what she wanted post-grad, she switched to Communications Disorders—a major that incorporated her love of helping others and a medical field component. Michel went on to earn a master’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln (UNL).
And, she found her way back to Iowa.
As she says, “the stars aligned” for Blank Children’s Hospital in Des Moines to have a pediatric speech-language pathologist opening when she graduated from UNL in 2010. The close proximity to her hometown of Clinton, Iowa, is perfect for Michel, a self-proclaimed family girl who recently got engaged and counts spending time with her niece and nephews among her favorite things to do.
What else does she like to do? Well, there is golf, yoga, and traveling. But, the two most noteworthy (in my opinion), are Michel spreading the word about Butler in Des Moines because of her “fandom during the NCAA tournaments” and staying involved with Alpha Chi Omega, a sisterhood that has followed her from her days at Butler to her time at UNL and now to Des Moines.
Michel also credits Alpha Chi with helping her stay connected to Butler, since she tries to visit campus once a year to reunite with her friends at Butler and her Alpha Chi sisters. On a recent visit, she was excited that there were places on campus to grab lunch, but admits it was a huge change to see the parking garage and new residence hall.
“Campus is still as beautiful as ever … It’s evident Butler is invested in continuing the growth needed to attract and retain students,” she said.
It also was important for Michel to note that despite growth she hopes the feeling of belonging on campus never changes. As she put it, “The close-knit community and relationships I built with peers, professors, student organization advisors—even Dr. Fong and L.J.—are what made my years at Butler so impactful.”
In fact, she said if she had to sum up her Butler experience in one word she would choose “life-changing.”
Michel said her involvement in the Butler University Student Foundation (BUSF) and Student Government Association (SGA) helped shape her Butler experience and gave her the chance to learn and grow into who she is today. She also benefited from the relationships she built and leadership skills she honed while serving as SGA President.
As Michel spells it out, “I wish more people knew that you can really make the Butler experience your own. Whatever you invest or put in is directly correlated with what you will get [in return].”