Laura Briere '12: "My professors are just like family to me."
Randolph-Macon College student Laura Briere ’12, a
history major and secondary-education
minor, spent the past semester student-teaching U.S. History at Stonewall Jackson
Middle School in Mechanicsville, Virginia.
“It was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life—exhausting, yet so much
fun,” says Briere. “At first, it was a little scary; I couldn’t believe that I was
suddenly responsible for 119 students. And then I got excited and thought, ‘Wow.
Look at what I can do here. Let’s see how far these kids can go.’”
On campus, Briere has been very involved with the International Interest Group (IIG),
which aims to prepare members of the R-MC community for life in an increasingly
“I really enjoyed being able to put on school-wide programs and perform community
service with international students,”
says Briere, who lives in the
International House. The IIG hosts a variety of events on campus, from Salsa
Night to an international soccer game. “I have learned invaluable lessons from my
international friends,” she says.
In 2011, Briere received the the Simpson-Cottrell Research Grant, which provided
her with the resources to “really put my heart into Native American studies. With
this grant I was able to dedicate a semester to studying the Nez Perce and Sioux
peoples. I am very interested in Native American studies, and I discovered a parallel
history between the two groups, both of whom live in the Pacific Northwest region
of the United States.”
“My professors are like family to me,” says Briere, who
transferred to R-MC at the beginning of her junior year. “My advisor, Professor
Bergmann (history), has been my biggest champion. He always encouraged me to explore
different areas of research and held me to a very high standard. Professor Porter
also assisted me in numerous ways. As a transfer student, I worried I wouldn’t graduate
on time, and I will never forget when Professor Porter promised me that the history
department would make sure I succeeded.”
Briere’s post-R-MC plans reflect her desire to teach and her commitment to instilling
confidence in young people. She plans to teach history and recently interviewed
at several schools.
“I want to be the same kind of teacher that my professors have been for me,” she
says. “I hope to work in a rural, lower-income area and provide opportunities for
students who struggle academically. I want to give them the same message my R-MC
professors always gave me: Give it your very best, and you will go far.”