Laurel Sutherland: Connecting with communities and giving back


RCAH Class of 2011


  • Arts and Humanities from RCAH
  • Double Major: Professional Writing


Co-Founder and Content Strategist at Slabtown Marketing

Background and Location

  • Grew up in Richland, Michigan
  • Graduated from Gull Lake High School
  • Lives in Traverse City, Michigan

Hi Laurel! Do you recall how you first become interested in RCAH?  

I was drawn to the learning environment and the resources available in Snyder-Phillips. I loved the idea of living near classmates that shared similar interests and being near professors and college activities. I liked that the program encouraged and embraced creativity.

Was the educational experience there helpful as you embarked on your career?

RCAH stoked my ability to think both critically and creatively, which is critical to my work as a content creator and marketer today. RCAH developed my ability to research, write, interview, and edit both written and digital content, all of which are skills I still use daily. The College also fostered a wonderful environment to collaborate, which is vitally important to success in a marketing agency environment. 


"The experiences that stick with me most are
the deeply personal, inspiring, hands-on learning
experiences that only a small college like RCAH can offer."


Are there some memorable or meaningful RCAH experiences that have influenced your life?

My time at RCAH impacted me far beyond developing the more tactical skills I mentioned: research, writing, editing, etc. The experiences that stick with me most are the deeply personal, inspiring, hands-on learning experiences that only a small college like RCAH can offer.

Can you remember some specific examples?

Experiences such as visiting farms and local businesses to learn about the food system, attending regular poetry readings through the RCAH Center for Poetry, volunteering at REACH Studio Art Center, having the opportunity to have my photography exhibited at the Lookout! Gallery, learning how to play the mandolin, and attending alternative spring break in Ghost Ranch, New Mexico, are just a few of the curricular and extracurricular opportunities RCAH gave me that helped me grow as a conscientious, open-minded human being.

What professors were particularly notable for you?

I don't remember the course names specifically, but Eric Aronoff, Laura Delind, and Anita Skeen were most impactful to me. 

You co-founded and serve as content strategist at Slabtown Marketing. When did you launch that?


Laurel sits at her desk

Where had you worked previously?

Oneupweb Digital Marketing Agency, as content marketing project manager, and Schumacher Clinical Partners as content marketing advisor.

Last question: How would you say that the arts, humanities, and community engagement are parts of your life today?

Similar to joining the RCAH, I chose to make my home in a smaller community, Traverse City. I chose that because I feel I have a great opportunity to build meaningful connections with the community around me. Because of my experiences in the RCAH, I seek out opportunities to hear poetry, view art, write, and connect with other creatives locally and when I travel. I also seek opportunities to share my skills with local organizations I care about by offering writing/marketing services at no cost or a discounted cost.