UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN River Falls

2016 - Laura Otto

Student Health Nurse Laura (Lori) Otto is the 2016 recipient of the Chancellor's Award for Excellence for Academic Staff. Otto provides nursing care, health information, counseling, outreach, and advocacy for students at the Vibrant Health Family Clinic and education and information on campus. She is available certain days at the Vibrant Health Family Clinics and on campus on a part-time basis.

The letters of nomination received on Otto's behalf repeatedly spoke of her empathetic, caring, and friendly demeanor, as well as her knack for always going above and beyond the call of duty. 

According to Jennifer Elsesser, Otto's reputation precedes her. "In her time at the university, Lori has earned the reputation of being a favorite among our students seeking treatment at the clinic, with our international student population, as well as our office Student Health Interns. Lori doesn't hesitate to offer the support and patience that students need when dealing with physical and emotional struggles." 

Countless nominations conveyed the same message: "Otto is a teacher, a friend, a psychologist, a motherly figure, and an excellent advocate for the students that attend UWRF."

In nominating Otto, Alice Reilly-Myklebust described her as a "behind the scenes unsung hero. She has a remarkable ability to engage and inspire those around her with an empathetic and friendly nature. She is one of the most caring, understanding, nonjudgmental people I know." 

International student Catharina Ortiz Thomazella praised Otto's welcoming nature in her letter of support. "I remember that our Brazilian student group was visiting Counseling and Student Health Services when we discovered that Lori had made a traditional Brazilian dessert. This attitude was very surprising for me and, at the same time, I felt very thankful and glad for that. When she made the dessert, she made me comfortable, like I was home in Brazil," said Thomazella.

Lori Otto