Photo Profile: Laura Cotten Howell, UD Honors Associate Director

Sean Newhouse 
Online Editor-in-Chief

“Laura is like a cool aunt figure…a cool aunt who can get you on Capitol Hill,” said Alexa Rojas, a University of Dayton senior who considers Laura Cotten Howell (left), the associate director of UD’s Honors Program since 2012, to be a mentor. 
In her role, Cotten Howell advises many UD students about graduate school and applying to prestigious fellowships. She also works with the DC and Global Flyers cohorts in the Honors Program. “[Cotten Howell] encouraged me to apply for the DC Flyers program even when I felt like I wasn’t qualified enough,” said senior Cierra Stewart. “Her encouragement and support ultimately led me to participate in one of the most enriching experiences I’ve ever had the opportunity to receive.” 
She didn’t plan on working in higher education. Her first job out of college was as an intern at a primate sanctuary. On one of her first days, a spider monkey named Charlotte grabbed Cotten Howell’s ponytail and wouldn’t let go. Cotten Howell laughs about it today and says she wasn’t in any danger. 
Cotten Howell graduated from James Madison University (JMU). She transferred to JMU from the University of Oregon due to financial reasons; this is partly what made her want to work in higher education. “My experience in undergrad made me realize how important these four years are of a student’s life,” she said. 
Her father was an officer in the Marine Corps. When he was stationed in South Carolina, Cotten Howell would have to wait after turning on the kitchen lights in the morning for the cockroaches to scatter away. 
 
“Laura Cotten Howell is one of the most selfless people I know,” said UD junior Megan Passon. “She is willing to do whatever she can to ensure you succeed as a student and a person.” 

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