Meet Alumna Michaelanne Butler ’14

Michaelanne Butler by a lakeWhy did you choose MCU?
I was really looking for three things when applying to schools. I wanted a low teacher-to-student ratio, beautiful location, and innovative programming. Marymount proved to be a trifecta. On my first tour, I was equally smitten with both the view and the learning environment.
What did you like most about your MCU Days?
My time at MCU really felt like a sort of Instagram montage. It was just a reel of amazing people and memories, but I think the opportunity to study abroad was a standout for me. Spending a semester in England as a sophomore and in South Africa as a senior really changed my life. I was able to deepen friendships with other MCU Mariners, explore cultures different from my own, apply classroom concepts in an entirely new context, and discover parts of myself I might not have known had I studied only in the United States.
How did MCU prepare you for your career?
As a student I studied global studies and business, so I came to MCU wanting to fuse the best of business and philanthropy. I basically wanted to learn how to change the world. I knew that I didn’t know everything, but my freshman year certainly taught me that I had a lot more to learn than I had anticipated. I distinctly remember leaving a session of Dr. Earle’s Perspectives in Global Development class in tears, wrecked by the scale of problems facing civilization. But as I continued my studies, I took more classes from Dr. Earle and I began to see solutions to the problems that had once been overwhelming. One of those solutions I learned about was Jadora, the company I now work with in Seattle. I think my entire experience at MCU really prepared me to work in this innovative conservation context. Not only do I frequently find myself applying concepts I learned in class, but I am also constantly drawing on the skills I developed in my study-abroad experiences and extracurricular activities.
Tell us what you’re doing now and what are your plans for the future?
I recently moved to Seattle to work with Jadora International, a company bent on combating climate change by preserving the rainforest in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Basically, because trees act like lungs for the planet, we need to help keep them standing so they can absorb the carbon dioxide produced by driving, flying, or even just eating a burger. I’m really excited by this work because protecting trees gives us an opportunity to improve the livelihoods of those living under the canopy. Our program has created more than 40 jobs in one of the poorest nations in the world and enabled hundreds of kids to go to school. I’m basically able to do the kind of work I set out to do when I started at Marymount! I am planning on applying to grad school to deepen some of the skills I honed at Marymount and enhance my work at Jadora, but I really see myself on a career track with Jadora.
What advice do you have for current students?
Marymount is a student-centered, tight-knit community—engage in it! Whether that means going to your professors’ office hours—and Marymount has some AMAZING professors—engaging in student life activities, joining a club, becoming an SOSer (Student Orientation Staff), getting questions answered in the advising office, or hanging out in the learning center, everywhere you turn, there are people rooting for you and looking to help you succeed and make your experience meaningful. Seriously. Hanging out in one of my professor’s office hours landed me a job after I graduated. Being a SOSer helped me break out of my shell and introduced me to some of my lifelong friends. Hanging out in the advising center helped me craft an education plan that was perfect for my interests. The Marymount community is a safe place in which to explore different interests, gain job experience, and grow as a person, but you have to engage in it.