Alumni Spotlight: Beth Rausch
March 29, 2017
Having been a student and now an educator at UW-River Falls, one alumna has collected enough wisdom about the university experience to pass down to her students.
Rausch instructs courses such as Companion Animals (Animal Science 121) and Pets in Society (Animal Science 221). Having started her role as an adjunct instructor, she has worked full-time in the department since 2015.
Rausch’s first experience at UWRF was a pivotal one that she said she remembers vividly. She remembers touring the campus with her parents on a cold, windy day in December 1984. Despite the cold, she said she was struck by how nice her tour guide was that day.
“I remember consciously asking to myself, ‘I wonder if everyone else here is this nice,’ like she was,” Rausch recalled.
While walking around campus, the tour guide brought Rausch and her parents to Rodli Hall (which was a dining hall at the time) and Crabtree Hall, all while the sun was setting and the wind was howling. Rausch met with biology professor Bob Calentine, who was very straight to the point.
Taking interest in the university’s veterinary science program, Rausch started school at UWRF the following year.
As a biology student minoring in chemistry, Rausch participated in intramural sports and was a resident assistant in Stratton and Hathorn halls under Residence Life Director Ken Olson. She also had the opportunity to become an intern through a partnership with the University of Minnesota, being able to work in a lab during a time when molecular biology was an emerging field of study.
After graduation, Rausch decided to attend graduate school at the University of Minnesota. She attended veterinary school, graduating with a doctorate in veterinary medicine in 1996. Her experience includes working with dairy and mix-animal health, small animals, surgery and, more recently, emergency care, which she still practices today on a part-time basis.
What Rausch said she enjoys about UWRF is the school’s emphasis on teaching, where the department’s discussion is centered on how to become a better teacher. She said that improving the student experience is how the university makes a good thing better, with hands-on class experiences and interactions with faculty.
“Certainly, it was my experience as a biology student here that the amount of hands-on experience and experiential learning is important,” Rausch said.
Rausch suggests students be pragmatic and persistent, and offers three key pieces of advice to students: work hard in life that gives meaning, be careful about consumer debt, and stay away from drama. Jokingly, she said that those are her three “very boring and simple keys to a happy life.”