In 2003, Natalie Meyer’s journey in Iowa State’s English Department began in her undergraduate career as an English major. She continued her education, earning a Master’s degree in Literature in 2008, after which she remained at the university and transitioned into her role as a lecturer. Today, she is involved at Iowa State as an Associate Teaching Professor and, more recently, as an LAS Representative. Between her wonderful colleagues, the beautiful campus, and the unique students she encounters, Meyer couldn’t imagine spending the last 20 years of her career anywhere else.
In her teaching tenure at Iowa State, Meyer has taught various courses between Foundation and Advanced Comm. One of her most enjoyable teaching experiences has been teaching Learning Communities, most commonly for Criminal Justice majors. Being able to mesh her personal interest in true crime with her students’ criminal justice education has been a rewarding and fun experience. As she has taught Criminal Justice Learning Communities, Meyer has accumulated a variety of engaging learning materials, such as Cold Case playing cards, Jeffrey Dahmer interviews, and The Deck podcast. Meyer says, “It’s fun to try to connect what we’re doing with a specific field. Being able to tell them you’re actually going to use this concept in this way is why I like the learning communities.”
For the past year, Meyer has also expanded her departmental responsibilities in the role of LAS Representative. In this position, she participates in monthly meetings with the LAS Dean, Beate Schmittmann, and representatives from every LAS department to discuss updates from the Dean, college-level news, and department needs or concerns. Meyer describes, “I see myself as representing the English Department and our interests and where we want to be–to advocate for us and then report back–but also it’s a way for faculty to have a voice in how things are being run.” She has also come to further appreciate “the well-oiled machine” that the English Department is and become more aware of why decisions are made for the department.
Working as the LAS Representative has not only strengthened Meyer’s understanding of college-level and departmental-level processes and inner workings but also allowed her to connect her experiences to her classroom and her students’ work. For example, the LAS Rep Committee was discussing usability testing for WorkDay that will occur in January 2024, which she could connect to her students’ usability testing projects in English 314: Technical Communication. The ways in which Meyer intentionally connects her experiences outside of teaching–through being the LAS Representative and through her personal interest in true crime–and integrates those connections into the classroom demonstrates her passion for teaching.
Reflecting on her time at Iowa State, Meyer says she always tries to put herself in her students’ shoes. Her teaching philosophy has always been based on a student-centered perspective; she says, “My goal is always education; how are they going to learn best? And how can I best help them?” As she looks toward her future in teaching, she hopes to maintain this mindset by creating more entertaining activities, taking advantage of brown bag sessions and other learning opportunities from the department, and improving her grading methods as well.
Outside of Iowa State, Meyer fuels her passion for literature through teaching literature classes at Des Moines Area Community College as well as indulging in her favorite novels. Even though she maintains a busy work schedule and home life with her two sons, Meyer managed to read 110 books in 2023! Her reading buddy is her dog, Patsy Cline.