Laura Butcher

Laura Butcher excels in college by connecting with faculty

Within the first semester of Laura’s time at Iowa State University, she made an instant connection with a faculty member. Little did she know the impact it would make in the years to come.

“My most influential professor has been Chuck Achter,” Laura said. “Although I never had a core course with him, I was lucky enough to have had him as an instructor for the elementary education learning community when I first came to Iowa State.”

Since Laura’s first encounter with Achter, he has made an enormous impact on her life by showing her what it’s like to be a true role model as a teacher. Although Achter has recently retired, Laura said the students and faculty he impacted still carry his values and standards in whatever they do. 

“He holds his students and peer mentors to a very high standard, puts so much trust in us, and respects us,” she said. “So I put myself to a higher standard because of him.”

Laura became a peer mentor for the elementary education learning community after her experience in the learning community her freshman year with Achter. He also has influenced Laura to become a strong educator by getting involved in numerous ways.

“I think being involved helps me a lot,” she said. “I’m interested in seeing students grow, so for me I try to go out of my way to make sure my mentees are prepared for even the little things.”

Laura credits her well-rounded teaching approach to Achter.

“He does stuff for students he doesn’t necessarily have to do but does for their success,” Laura said. “From helping students find the right contacts to letters of recommendations, he’s helped me get so many scholarships.”

Laura found Achter’s guidance by simply talking to him throughout her time in the learning community. Laura knows clubs and organizations are great; however, she encourages students to find that faculty member connection as well.

“Reach out,” she said. “Ask for help when you need it. Don’t be afraid to go out of your comfort zone. Professors are more than willing to help.”