The Voice of the Wayne State Spotlight Section: Laura Burtwistle
Laura Burtwistle works for the WSC College Relations office in addition to carrying a full load of classes. She writes student profiles in the Spotlight section of the Wayne State website (www.wsc.edu/spotlight) and photographs the students and other campus events.
When Laura started at Wayne State in the fall of 2009, she began her college career as a graphic design major. A native of rural Chambers, Neb., she will graduate in May.
“Though I loved art and design, and still do, I felt like there was something missing—some other way for me to connect with people and serve them more directly on a daily basis,” she said.
Before her sophomore year, Laura changed her major to journalism, picking up a double minor in art and online media. She said she couldn’t have asked for a more perfect fit.
“Besides the wonderful department and communication professors I’ve come to know, I thoroughly loved the opportunities presented to me,” she said. “I was able to network and meet very influential people both on campus and in the community and learn about their contributions to Wayne. I also was able to tell unique stories about some remarkable people who’ve worked incredibly hard to achieve success or who’ve overcome immense obstacles to get where they are today. These people and their experiences were what made me love journalism so much.”
Laura was added to The Wayne Stater staff as the opinion editor during her first semester in her new major in 2010.
“I never imagined that would lead me to become the Editor in Chief for three semesters,” she said. “While on the Stater staff, not only was I able to write and uncover unique stories, I was also able to put my art and design skills to use when laying out pages, and to showcase the work of our staff at the National Collegiate Media Association Golden Leaf Awards.”
“The Wayne Stater is a great asset to our college, and working with this publication has also presented new opportunities to me and allowed me to extend my networking reach,” she added. “It was even a factor in helping me land a writing and photography position with the WSC College Relations office, an internship and full-time summer job at Wayne Area Economic Development, a newsletter designing position for the WSC Wrestling Program and a graphic design position with the Sports Information department, allowing me to design graphics for the Bob Cunningham Field football scoreboard.”
Laura said she does not think these same opportunities would have come around at any other institution?
“Wayne State College is next to none when it comes to professors willing to bend over backward for students, administrators who acknowledge students as equals, endless organizations and activities available for all interests and an acceptance of each individual that truly makes Wayne feel like home,” she said.”
Laura said she has taken advantage of everything WSC has to offer. Since her freshman year, she has been involved in Circle K International, a service organization on campus, and participated in various intramurals. She is a member of the Cardinal Key National Honor Society, where she served as president during the fall 2012 semester, Lambda Pi Eta, the communications honor society, of which she is secretary, the Media Club, a relatively new club on campus, and a founding member of the recently-established Philomathean President’s Honorary Society, a group of active and academically elite students that seek to preserve and share the high standards and precious history of Wayne State College.
In addition, she is a member of Alpha Lambda Delta and student co-vice president of Phi Kappa Phi, the oldest honor society on campus and in the nation. Not surprisingly, Laura is an honors student and recently presented her honors project, “Discovering Wayne State College: A Visual Display Bridging Past and Present.” For this project, she located and edited vintage photographs of WSC and reshot those photos in their present-day settings, showcasing how WSC has changed since the early 1900s.
“I’ve grown close to WSC, and because of my experiences here, would love to make a permanent home in the Wayne community,” Laura said. “After college, I plan to do freelance writing and photography for a magazine and hope to someday open my own art and photography business. I would eventually also like to obtain a master’s degree and doctoral degree.”
“However, any career that allows me to incorporate both art and writing, and keeps me close to this great place, is alright with me,” Laura said.