Photo credit: Bailey Karfelt, Houghton class of 2012

A textbook introvert who likes to throw out the textbook every once in a while just to see what happens, Laura grew up in Buffalo, New York, where she learned valuable life skills like how to clear a snowy driveway in under 20 minutes and how to cheer for the perennial underdog. She graduated from Houghton College in 2013 with a degree in media arts and visual communication and with a deep appreciation for sunny days over 35 degrees. When she’s not writing novels under her pen name Elle Katharine White, she spends her time loitering in libraries, dreaming of world travel and obsessively searching for the perfect cup of tea.

“Houghton challenged me in all the best ways intellectually, emotionally and socially,” said Laura White, a 2013 graduate of media arts and visual communication. She currently has two full-time jobs: one as a marketing manager for a company that sells online continuing education for licensed professionals, and the second as a writer, publishing novels under the pen name Elle Katherine White.

Houghton provided a community where White could explore her thoughts about her faith, cultural background and beliefs. “I credit Houghton and the professors who took the time to have me look at different perspectives,” she said, noting that these tough conversations brought growth and evaluation that gave her a firm footing in emerging adulthood.

White misses the Houghton “bubble,” where “it was nice to walk out and know everyone.” Inside that bubble, White formed deep relationships with the professors and fellow students. Everyone was growing and learning together, which created a strong bond within the community. To this day, White still keeps up those relationships she made at Houghton.

Now six years after graduation, White said she “was prepared well for the real world with the skills I learned.” She also made important connections that provided outlets to use those skills. White received assistance from a fellow Houghton alumnus who connected her with the marketing position she currently holds. “The Houghton alumni network all over the world was tremendously supportive and helped me land where I am today,” she said.

White’s advice for incoming students is to be open to growth. “You are surrounded by people who have a lot of experiences; take advantage of the chance to sit and learn from these people.” This is a time when you do not need to show what you know, but to absorb the horizons of growth open to you, she said.

For future alumni, White advises establishing good financial, social and spiritual habits. “You have a fresh start, you have a chance to establish a life you want to live,” she said. These habits cultivate the environment and community in which you want to immerse your life.