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Megan (Wesler) Larsen ’12

Megan (Wesler) Larsen ’12 MPAS ’13 said she is grateful for the well-rounded education she received a Butler. So, no doubt, are her patients.

At the time of this interview, Larsen worked as a Physician Assistant (PA) in the emergency rooms at Community North and Community East hospitals in Indianapolis. Now she works in Trauma/Emergency surgery at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in downtown Chicago, where she sometimes has to deliver the worst news possible.

“The first conversation that I had like that takes the breath out of you,” she said. “You don’t know what to say and you don’t want to say it wrong. The first time I had to have that conversation, I brought my attending physician in with me and we had that conversation together. The next time, you do it on your own and you develop your own way to approach it.”

Larsen said that while nothing can truly prepare you for moments like that, her Butler education taught her “ways to cope and think on your feet and be resourceful and use others around you. That’s been very beneficial to me in my specific career path.”

Larsen came to Butler from New Paris, Ohio, a town of 1,500. By the time she arrived on campus, she’d made up her mind to be a PA. She wanted the flexibility to be able to change specialties and the opportunity to finish school faster than physicians do.

While she worked on her five-year degree, she also managed to fit in swimming for the Butler team, participating in Kappa Kappa Gamma, and working with the Timmy Foundation for Global Health.

“I’m truly grateful for the five years I got to spend here,” she said. “At Butler, it’s so much more than a degree. The way you’re taught at Butler—the way I was taught at Butler—it digs a little bit deeper. You learn so much about so much that when you go out into world, you’re not just prepared for your specific career but you also are worldly and you have a touch of humanitarianism.”

Megan Wesler Larsen
OutcomesPeople

Megan (Wesler) Larsen ’12

  Her ER patients will be glad she learned her profession at Butler.

Maria Porter ’12

Maria Porter ’12 grew up in Fishers, Indiana—a hop, skip, and a jump, and maybe another hop, from Butler University—and intended to put some distance between her and her hometown when she went to college. But she visited Butler, met professors and others students, and realized that “this was where I needed to be.”

Time proved her right. Initially, Porter was unsure what she wanted to study. Something to do with technology, media, art, or maybe even theatre, she thought. So she started as an Exploratory major, which gave her time to figure out what she wanted to do. After shadowing a graphic designer, she found her calling.

Four years later—after a college career that included two years as a Butler Collegian photographer, a semester abroad in Australia, and an internship with Indiana Humanities—she was one of the first graduates from Butler’s newly created Art + Design major.

“Even though it was a new program and we were still figuring stuff out, we were all in it together and the professors”—Elizabeth Mix, Gautam Rao, and Leah Gauthier—“made sure our needs were being met and we were having a good time doing it.”

Since graduating, Porter has worked as the Graphic Services Manager for the law firm Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP, which has 10 offices, including in downtown Indianapolis, where she’s based. There, she works with attorneys and the marketing team, human resources, their diversity committee—anyone who needs visual communication.

Porter recalled that while at Butler, she took a Global and Historical Studies course on women, in which the professor encouraged the students to figure out how to learn and grow from listening to the opinions of people who had different backgrounds, beliefs, and ideas than they did.

“In my job, everyone’s differing needs and opinions and priorities are something that I have to balance on a daily basis,” she said. “That’s something I learned at Butler.”

Maria Porter
OutcomesPeople

Maria Porter ’12

  She's using what she learned in Art + Design every day.

Mara Olson ’15

When Mara Olson ’15 embarked upon her search for the perfect college, she knew it would take a special school to support both her academic and athletic interests.

A self-proclaimed science nerd with a proclivity for the creative arts and the drive to run competitively, it became clear to Olson that Butler’s small class sizes and big-time Division I athletics would make for a seamless college fit.

“A lot of people look at my interests as maybe a little bit eclectic or even confused,” Olson said. “But I see it as a good way to get my tentacles out into the world and experience it all. College is what you make of it, and if you are willing to push for what you want, a school like Butler will give it to you.”

In her four years at Butler, Olson participated in four national championship races and competed in countless more national-level meets while at the same time nurturing her academic interests.

In addition, she took the required science classes for her major and plethora of minors, but she also found ways to grow in new areas through art and writing classes.

For Olson, a busy schedule was a small price to pay for well-rounded academic exposure and athletic success. After graduating with a major in biology and minors in Neuroscience, Spanish, and Chemistry, she moved to Boulder, Colorado, to compete as a professional runner for Adidas. Olson has continued her sponsored running in San Francisco, where she's now in medical school at the University of California San Francisco.

When opportunity knocked at Butler, Olson said, she was able to make it happen.

“It’s not because I was an athlete," she said. "It’s because I was a student. My professors had a genuine personal interest in every student. It’s a really incredible thing to experience in college.”

Mara Olson
OutcomesPeople

Mara Olson ’15

  One major, three minors, one huge athletic success.

Josh Pedde ’04

Joshua Pedde came to Butler in 2000 wanting to get into choral conducting—and did he ever come to the right place. Sixteen years later, Pedde was named as the new Artistic Director of the Indianapolis Children’s Choir (ICC). He's now in his second year.

Pedde took over for Henry Leck, the longtime Butler professor who founded the choir 32 years ago and grew it to the point that it provides music education to more than 5,000 children in central Indiana. Each week, the choir holds 110 rehearsals and music classes at Butler, where the organization is housed.

“I’m really honored that the person who started it chose me to take over,” Pedde said. “It’s the biggest compliment.”

Pedde had chosen Butler based on recommendations from several of his high school music teachers in Kokomo, Indiana, who knew Leck and the quality of the music program. “A lot of arrows kept pointing to Butler,” Pedde said. “Once I came to campus, it just felt like home. It felt right to me.” He met Leck at his audition and Leck became Pedde's choir director his freshman year. That year, Pedde walked into the ICC office to ask about becoming a choral conductor.

He said Leck and many others at Butler instilled in him values including hard work and a strong moral and ethical compass. “You put in your time, you put in your effort, but you always bring your best to the table,” he said. “Bring quality and it will always pay off for you.” He also became interested in political science, which broadened his view of the world and the part music can play in creating common culture.

Pedde received his Bachelor of Vocal Music Education and was a graduate assistant in 2005 and 2006 while earning his Master of Choral Conducting. After graduating, he taught elementary school in Zionsville and continued to work with the ICC. Then, four years ago, they created the position of assistant artistic director, and he joined the choir full-time.

“I cannot say thank you enough to the faculty and staff at Butler,” he said. “They are truly top-notch. What they put into their students and what they give is incredible. And the way they care about them as a whole person and help them mature into those people we see out in the community is absolutely wonderful.”

Josh Pedde
OutcomesArts & CulturePeople

Josh Pedde ’04

  He learned from the master. Now he’s taking over for the master.

Jessie Eastman ’15

Less than a year after graduating from Butler’s Lacy School of Business, Jessie Eastman ’15 was working at Sun King Brewing Company, Indianapolis’ second largest brewing company, and feeling grateful for her Butler education.

“Everything I was able to do at Butler really prepared me,” she said at the time. “It is such a great community that encourages you to push yourself to be the best you can be.”

Eastman had interned at Sun King during her fall semester senior year, and she ended up working for them part-time during her spring semester as well.

“Something that I will forever value from the Lacy School of Business is the requirement of two internships,” she said. “My second internship actually landed me my full-time position.”

Internship experience wasn’t the only thing that the Lacy School of Business provided. Eastman said things like cross subject learning really prepared her for the real world.

“I was a marketing major, but I took classes in accounting, classes in finance, and entrepreneurship,” Eastman said. “In the Lacy School of Business, it is real life, real business and it is crazy how true that is. If I didn’t realize that during in my undergraduate studies; I am definitely realizing it now.”

Eastman stayed with Sun King as the Community Development and Events facilitator, working with over 350 nonprofits across Indianapolis, until the end of May 2017, when she moved to Detroit. She is now with a company called Shift Digital, working as a Digital Strategy Associate.

"The company has tons of clients (mainly automotive) but I sit specifically on the BMW team," she said.

Jessie Eastman
OutcomesPeople

Jessie Eastman ’15

“Something that I will forever value from the Lacy School of Business is the requirement of two internships.”

Marco Rosas ’16

Marco Rosas came to Butler as a Biology major. He graduated with a degree in Recording Industry Studies and went into a career that is making him happy.

“I always had a huge passion for music, whether it’s listening to music, playing music, or talking about music, and I really fell in love with the audio production side of the program,” Rosas said. “I always wanted to be part of the music-making process, whether it’s at a studio recording the music or helping to promote the music.”

As a Recording Industries Studies major, Rosas participated in the Butler Music Industry Association club, which records student musicians and their original compositions. That helped him hone his skills. He also had an internship with Nuvo, Indianapolis’ alternative newspaper, where he worked with Sarah Murrell ’10 on a podcast about the Indianapolis food scene.

 

 

But Butler was more than his major. One course he took on climate change and its effects on human behavior gave him a deeper appreciation of nature.

“I have fond memories of going to Holcomb Gardens on a clear night, laying down and just looking at the stars,” he said. “The campus is just beautiful, and the class made me realize that those experiences in that class were not just, ‘Oh, I’m going for a walk,’ but ‘I’m going to help my mind clear itself.’”

After graduation, thanks to “an amazing recommendation” from Cutler Armstrong, who oversees the Recording Industry Studies program, Rosas landed a job with Tour Design Creative, which makes TV and radio commercials and posters to promote concert tours. His job in quality control is to make sure the information in the ads is accurate and that there are no audio mistakes.

“Cutler told me I’d get out of the program what I put into it, and that is exactly right,” Rosas said. “But the rewards are greater than anything I could imagine. I never thought I would work at a place like this, and I would not be here if it was not for Cutler and that program. Going to Butler was one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life.”

Marco Rosas
OutcomesPeople

Marco Rosas ’16

  Going to Butler was one of the best decisions I've made in my life.

Sarah Tam ’17

Sarah Tam spent much of her time at Butler “cocooned in the theatre world,” and when she wasn’t there, she was working on her minor in English writing. The results, she said, prepared her well for what she would like to eventually do—work in publishing as an Editor during the day and pursue acting on the side.

Tam’s work in Butler Theatre productions included a part in the world premiere of The Water Carriers, a play about a group of refugees attempting to flee Africa in a shipping container; the title role in Karlsson on the Roof, in which she learned to fly; and several roles in Caryl Churchill’s Love and Information.

She also had a part in a friend’s theatrical adaptation of The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, which gave the participants—all of them Butler students—a chance to have an ensemble experience where they did everything.

“It feels to me what Butler Theatre encourages—theatre artists who can do lots of things well and can create their own work because they have something they want to do,” she said. “It was really cool to be a part of that.”

Since graduating, Tam has been working as an actor/interpreter in the Indiana Historical Society’s living-history exhibits, which re-create a piece of history. The actors research and train to become characters, then play the parts by interacting with the historical society’s guests. Her next role is in an 1863 Gettysburg exhibit, where she will be dressed in full costume, including corset and petticoats.

“That’s been really cool because it’s a day job, but it’s acting,” she said. “So I get to do theater as my primary job right now.”

Tam, who had been looking at colleges in Massachusetts, said she made the right selection when she chose Butler.

“When I think back on what I’ve done here—I directed my own show as part of my thesis; I studied abroad twice—a semester in Dublin and six weeks in Russia during the summer; I took classes in so many different aspects of theatre and other subject areas—I don’t think I could have done that anywhere else,” she said.

Sarah Tam
People

Sarah Tam ’17

  I don't think I could have done what I did here anywhere else.

Jimmy Lardin ’18

Student Profile

Major / Program: Political Science

 

Meet Jimmy Lardin. SGA president (2017–2018, after two years on Student Senate). Student Orientation Coordinator (promoted after two years as a Student Orientation Guide). Education Reflection Chair for Fall Alternative Break. Four minors (English, Ethics, Environmental Studies, and Peace and Conflict Studies). Campus tour guide.

And that’s just a partial list.

“Out of the three S’s—socialize, sleep, and study—I don’t sleep,” he said with a laugh.

Lardin expected to be active in college. Just not here. The Shelbyville, Indiana, native was “1,000 percent determined not to go to school in Indiana.”

But a friend who was a year ahead of him chose Butler and invited him to campus. Lardin sat in on a business class and, six minutes into the lecture, belched. Loudly. The professor made light of it and used that as a way to incorporate Lardin into the class and make him feel at ease. Afterward, the professor offered her email and phone number in case Lardin had questions about Butler.

Then at lunch in Atherton, Lardin’s friend’s friends told him how passionate they were about Butler. Others chimed in too.

“That’s what sold me,” he said. “People who had no idea who I was were still interested in sharing their love of the school with me.”

He’s seen that love up close in the years since. In summer 2016, Lardin was diagnosed with cancer. He went through surgeries, then chemotherapy.

“The feedback and support I got was outstanding—and far beyond what I could have ever imagined,” including from professors who reached out to express support and offer accommodations for missed classes. Lardin said the cancer is in remission.

“I’m thankful that happened on this campus versus a school where you’re considered more of a number,” he said. 

Lardin is now looking at public policy programs for graduate school, though he wants to work for a while first—ideally on environmental justice issues. In June, he went to India for a month through the School for International Training to work on a food security/climate change project and see if he wants to do international work. He does.

He said Butler has proved to be a great fit, giving him opportunities and satisfying his social nature.

“It’s small enough that I can’t walk from my house to my classes without running into two or three people who I know and love dearly,” he said, “but it’s large enough that I meet one or two new people every single day.”

 

 

 

 

Jimmy
CommencementStudent LifePeople

Jimmy Lardin ’18

Meet Jimmy Lardin. SGA president. Student Orientation coordinator. Education Reflection chair for Fall Alternative Break. Four minors. Campus tour guide.

Jimmy

Jimmy Lardin ’18

Student Profile

Lauren Buenger ’10

Sometimes, parents just know. Lauren (Miller) Buenger’s mom knew that her daughter was good with people and detail oriented, and she thought Lauren would make a perfect Pharmacy major. Buenger’s father knew, after visiting schools, that she favored Butler.

“It was the only place I asked for a shirt,” she said.

Ultimately, Buenger, who initially wanted to major in Chemistry, knew too. Today, she is a Clinical Pharmacist in the Emergency Department at Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health in Indianapolis. There, she works with physicians and nurses, making recommendations about which drug therapy would be best for a patient or how to best administer the doses.

“I also get to talk to patients and families and council them about their medications and answer their questions,” she said. “And then, because I work in the Emergency Department, if there’s an emergency situation, I’m in the room with the team, trying to get medications for the patient as fast and safely as possible.”

Buenger said that when she started in Butler’s College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, the only pharmacists she knew about worked in grocery stores. “I didn’t realize all the different things you could do as a pharmacist,” she said. Through classes, rotations, and job shadowing, she learned.

While in school, she did two rotations at Riley Hospital and, as her PharmD project, interviewed patients about their medication allergies to find the rates of true allergies versus symptoms reported as allergies.

She also made time to play flute and piccolo in marching band and basketball band, and served as President of Kappa Kappa Psi, the band fraternity, where she met her future husband, Eric Buenger ’12.

After graduation, she did a general pharmacy residency through IU Health, a pediatric second-year residency at Riley, and a year at Cook Children’s hospital in Fort Worth, Texas. She and Eric moved back to Indiana so she could take the position at Riley.

She credits Butler with preparing her well.

“Part of how I was able to meet people and be prepared to get a competitive residency like at IU Health was because of my training at Butler and the rotations that I had,” she said. “That set up the chain of events that led me to this position.”

Lauren Buenger
OutcomesPeople

Lauren Buenger ’10

  I didn't realize all the different things you could do as a pharmacist.

Lauren Boswell ’20

Student Profile

Major / Program: Elementary Education

Lauren Boswell says she found her calling in a program at her high school called Cadet Teacher, which takes college-bound students into elementary schools to give them a sense of what it’s like to be a teacher.

“In that class, we got to visit the College of Education here and I just fell in love with it,” she said. “I fell in love with the faculty and all the ideals of the program. That was the main reason I came here. And I’m a big basketball fan, so that’s always a plus.”

Boswell said one of the great lessons she’s learned in the College of Education is that in teaching, “it’s all about the kids and the importance of individualizing learning for each student. You need to look at each student and help them learn based on their ways of learning.”

In addition to her coursework, she’s continued her longtime involvement with Best Buddies, a program that matches volunteers with people who have intellectual and developmental disabilities. “I’ve always loved working with people with disabilities, helping them be the best they can be. And I feel like I’ve learned so much more from them than I could ever teach them. They always have such a positive outlook on life, and that’s something I try to emulate.”

Ultimately, Boswell hopes to be a third-grade teacher. “They’re just developing those personalities. They’re getting witty and kind of funny and they’ll understand some of your humor, so that’s my ideal grade. But anywhere from kindergarten to fourth grade, I’d be really happy.”

And she said Butler has proved to be the right place for her.

“There’s just something about when you step on this campus,” she said. “I feel like it has such a great atmosphere. Even when I came back after being away for the summer, I felt happy. I felt like I was home. Even though I only live 30 minutes away, there’s something about the people here. It was so easy to make friends. Everyone here is just so kind and so enthusiastic about life. I’m really happy that I’m here.”

 

 

 

Lauren
Student LifePeople

Lauren Boswell ’20

Boswell said one of the great lessons she’s learned in the College of Education is that in teaching, “it’s all about the kids and the importance of individualizing learning for each student."

Lauren

Lauren Boswell ’20

Student Profile

Derek Dekoning ’18

Student Profile

Major / Program: Risk Management/MIS

 

Derek DeKoning spent a lot of his free time this summer—10–15 hours a week, he estimates—helping to establish Butler’s new MJ Student-Run Insurance Company. The payback: By the time DeKoning graduates, he will have made four Butler-paid trips to Bermuda, where the company is licensed.

“You can’t complain about that,” he said with a smile.

DeKoning came to Butler from Atlanta, Georgia, as an Exploratory Business major. As he took classes, he began to select majors, starting with Management Information Systems. He knew something about risk management—his father is in reinsurance—so he had exposure to the industry. But it wasn’t until taking Professor Zach Finn’s class creating the “captive” insurance company, which insures University-owned properties such as the live mascot Trip and the Holcomb Observatory telescope, that he found his place.

“Insurance is a great industry to be in, and my experience at Butler has given me so much real-world experience, both through my internships and my experience with the captive, that it should be a big advantage for me,” he said.

Since coming to Butler, DeKoning interned at a suburban Atlanta software company called Concurrent and the cyber-insurance company INSUREtrust. In fall 2017, he interned at M.J. Schuetz Insurance Services Inc. in downtown Indianapolis. He also is an active member in the Phi Delta Theta fraternity and works a part-time job at Woodstock Country Club.

DeKoning said he’s still deciding what he wants to do after graduation—perhaps work for a brokerage or independent insurance agency, or maybe do something in captive management. “Within risk management and insurance there’s so many different career paths that you can take,” he said.

But overall, he said, “I’ve just been thrilled with the environment Butler has provided and the class sizes. The professors I’ve had have been really dedicated to what they’re doing. Butler was my top choice on my list of schools and I’m glad to have been able to come here and end up in the Program I’m in.”

 

 

 

Derek
Student LifePeople

Derek Dekoning ’18

Derek DeKoning spent a lot of his free time this summer—10–15 hours a week, he estimates—helping to establish Butler’s new MJ Student-Run Insurance Company.

Derek

Derek Dekoning ’18

Student Profile

Katrina Rodriguez ’15

Katrina Rodriguez is part of the 100 percent—the job placement rate for the College of Education. Since graduating in 2015, she has been working at the Brownsburg (Indiana) Early Childhood Center, first as a Teacher in the developmental preschool and now in an administrative role as a Transition Teacher who helps parents get special-education services for their children.

She said Butler prepared her well—in small classes taught by professors who have vast experience teaching in elementary school classrooms as well as college classrooms.

“We got to student-teach for a whole year, which I found was not really common in most other colleges,” she said. “And getting you in the classroom in your freshman year to observe was awesome.”

Rodriguez’s mother was a kindergarten teacher, and she wanted to follow in her footsteps. She chose Butler based largely on its placement rate for education, which has been at 100 percent for more than a decade. “The 100 percent placement rate on the poster they have in front of the College was really eye-opening.”

While at Butler, Rodriguez did her student-teaching at the Butler Lab School, a St. Mary’s preschool classroom, and in a fourth-grade classroom in Wayne Township. She also was part of the team of Education, Pharmacy, and Business students who wrote and published the book Max Greene and the Vaccine Team, which was designed to help children get over their fear of shots. In addition, she was a member of the Pi Beta Phi sorority and participated in a trip to Italy to visit schools that use the Reggio Emelia teaching method, which is the foundation of Butler’s College of Education teaching.

Rodriguez’s pride in her education is on full display on her office wall, where she has hung her diploma (Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education, cum laude), Honors Program-High Honors Certificate, and Alternative Special Education Licensure Certificate (2016).

And there will be more: Rodriguez is now back at Butler, working on her Master's in Effective Teaching and Leadership.

Katrina Rodriguez
OutcomesPeople

Katrina Rodriguez ’15

  We got to student-teach for a year, which was not really common in most other colleges.

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