What’s the best thing about the University of Nebraska-Lincoln? I think it narrows down to people. Just the relationships I’ve made with faulty, students, staff, the community here, churches… just the whole place.
Reflecting on her experience at UNL, Butera says she has changed and grown into a person who is no longer scared to ask questions. After living with so many different people and experiencing different perspectives, Butera now feels comfortable with not knowing all of the answers, but to continue learning from the people around her.
"I'm [graduating] from UNL knowing that we do things as a team and we're better off the many we are, the many diverse we are," said Butera. "That I can learn something from you and then I'll bring my experiences and we can make a project that is beautiful, that our differences make us better."
As a student, Butera says she felt the most supported by the university after all of the opportunities she's been able to have, from trips to local attractions to working with New Student Enrollment and beyond. One of her best accomplishments has been learning from her team and experience as a research assistant in the Undergraduate Creative Activities and Research Experience (UCARE) program. Her project focused around designing a baseline measure for soil biodiversity at the volcano national park in Rwanda. Butera is particularly proud that with her team, she earned almost $10,000 in grant money to continue the study and take samples from the park. In addition to the two papers she wrote that will get published, Butera says the entire process of her research has made a big impact on the person she's become.
"Now that I think about it, I just don't think that I could have become the person I am right now going to another place," explained Butera. "Everything just combined together for me to be [at UNL] and be this kind of person."
Through the CUSP program, Butera received a full scholarship to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln for four years, including living expenses and travel costs. CUSP students pursue a Bachelor of Science in Integrated Science that is focused on conservation agriculture, entrepreneurship, leadership and other areas of need identified by the Rwandan Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources. In Butera's case, she graduates in May 2019 with her Bachelor's and minors in conservation agriculture, entrepreneurship and leadership, and water science.
This summer, Butera will go back to Rwanda where she hopes to work in the environmental field or government policy, encouraging social corporate responsibility and better environmental steward practices. Though she is excited to return to her birthplace, Butera no longer feels like she just has one home in the world. After all, as she said, "There is no place like Nebraska."