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Augustana Global Ambassador Program


Augustana's Global Ambassadors are a group of dedicated students who work closely with the International Student Life office to support the international student population.  Many of the Global Ambassadors are international students, have lived or studied abroad and often in multiple countries.  

The Global Ambassadors lead sessions during International Student Orientation, pick students up at the airport and plan programming throughout the year.

As mentors they work closely with international students helping them adjust to life not only on campus but also in the surrounding area.

2014-15 Global Ambassadors

Alyssa Clarida '16 — USA

alyssa clarida

It is incredibly difficult to describe oneself, let alone succinctly, though I will give it a shot. I am going to be a junior in the upcoming 2014-15 school year and have had unbelievably incredible experiences at this school.

I study Geography and Environmental Studies and hope to delve into the field of agriculture, eventually owning and cultivating my own land. Needless to say, I thrive in the outdoors and spend hours biking, hiking, and mindlessly wandering the woods.

In the fall of 2013, I traveled with my peers to East Asia: Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and China. The experiences I had there were incomparable to any I have ever had before. I saw incredible architecture, met interesting people, and ate much delicious food (though it did not always agree with my stomach as I am conditioned to American cuisine—you may experience the same issue! ).

On campus, when not studying or in class, I spend a good portion of my time goofing off and playing games with friends, camping, and biking around the Quad Cities. I work on a farm over the summer and we grow hundreds of different types of fruits, vegetables, and herbs. I look forward to finally cooking my own food in my own kitchen next year and always welcome visitors!

Michaila Cooper '17 — USA (lives in China)

michaila cooper

I’m American and was born in the US, but I lived in China for over 10 years before I came to Augustana.

I’m majoring in biology and pursuing the pre- occupational therapy program. I love philosophy and art, as well as participating in sports; I’m currently on the women’s soccer club.

I am also working in the admissions office with a focus on international students.

Growing up overseas is such a crucial part of my identity, and I couldn’t imagine my life without having lived in China. I value cultural experiences and know the challenges and benefits of going to a school away of your home country.

I’m so excited to be a global ambassador. It is such a great opportunity to meet new cultures. I am looking forward to spending time and becoming friends with more international students.

Jessica Gerdisch '15 — USA

jessica gerdisch

Hi! I am a senior, and I am from the USA, more specifically from the suburbs of Chicago.

I have been a Global Ambassador for three years now, and I love meeting new people from different places around the world!

I am a communication sciences & disorders and French double major, looking to go into the profession of speech-language pathology.

On campus, I am involved in many things. I play the viola and am a part of the Augustana Symphony Orchestra. It is a blast!

I am also active in UNYK Multicultural Dance Troupe, which is a club for anyone who loves to dance, with an emphasis on bringing dancing from all types and cultures together. I am also involved in one of the many social sororities on campus: Zeta Phi Kappa.

In my free time, I love to travel and learn about other cultures, and I am also an avid reader.

I can’t wait to keep meeting as many international students as possible as I continue on my journey as a Global Ambassador at Augie. :)

Savi Jayawardana '17 — Sri Lanka

savi jayawardana

My name is probably one of the most unpronounceable names around — Savindri Jayawardana. Savi for short.

I hail from, well I was born in Sri Lanka. Didn't hang around there for long. When I was 9 months old, I moved to Germany and that's how it all began.

I am what is known as as a Third Culture Kid, a.k.a. a kid who has grown in places other than her home country. This was all due to my dad's job as a diplomat; therefore I grew up in five different countries.

In all those countries I followed the British curriculum in schools. Things one needs to know about me (besides what is mentioned above) range from me being a dog person to my favourite cuisine being Chinese/Thai.

If someone were to ask me why I wanted to be a global ambassador, it would be an easy question to answer. It's a wonderful life!

Being surrounded by people from all around the world is how I want to spend my entire life as I relate to many of them and I want to learn to relate with the others. My own GAs inspired me to want to help and befriend the incoming internationals.

Meagan Murphy '15 — USA

meagan murphy

I am a senior and beyond excited to be a global ambassador.

Shortly after transferring to Augie this past school year, I knew I had found the perfect home to complete my undergraduate education.

I grew up in Chicago, but now I am located an hour northwest of the city. At the moment, I am proud to call Augustana College my home away from home!

I am a religion major who is interested in studying Christian theology, Christian ethics, and interreligious dialogue.

Beyond being a global ambassador, I am currently on the golf and basketball teams. Because of my athletic involvement at Augie, I am part of the Student Athletic Advisory Committee. I am also employed at the CSL and Augustana Video Bureau on campus.

I am particularly looking forward to being a Global Ambassador because I love meeting new people and sharing with them what I love about Augustana.

Mayu Oya '16 — USA/Japan

mayu oya

I am a junior majoring in biology, pre-medicine, and neuroscience.

My hometown is Iowa City, Iowa, but I was born in Tokyo, Japan. I moved to America when I was 6 years old due to my father's work.

I have 2 sisters and 1 brother. I also have a dog named Robo!

I decided to come to Augustana College because it is a small school with lots of opportunities. They have a cadaver lab, which is very unique to this small school, and all the professors care very much about your education.

An opportunity that I took my freshman year was the Augustana Fencing Club. I am now the vice president. I am also involved in UNYK, which is a multicultural dance troupe.

I also work as a tutor in the Reading/Writing Center, which is an area where students can get help on their essays and reading skills.

In my free time, I like to knit and catch up on my favorite TV shows. I also love to play the piano and dance. In the future, I hope to become a doctor or a surgeon and work with kids.

Tharakie Dhaneesha Pahathkumbura '17 — Sri Lanka

tharakie pahathkumbura

If a friend were to describe my personality in three words it would probably be "caring," "spontaneous" and "creative." Then again, friends usually like to point out the best, but I am a firm believer in never judging a book by its cover, or the first few chapters(or else I would never have fumbled across the mystic wonders of “Eragon”).

So, if you see me in crazy clothes, an awkward grin and perhaps a bald head, look past it, for you would discover all the good I have to offer wholeheartedly served on a silver platter.

You see, from all the time I have spent here in Augie, one thing that was hard to miss, like a big yellow bus, has been the diverse range of people, and the wonders it brings to your character if you so choose to immerse in it.

To understand the core of humanity, the single string that runs across all skin types and colors in all its splendor. So, of all the words you would choose to describe me, I hope that “truly” “international” “child” would be some of them.

Nicole Radloff '15 — USA

nicole radloff

I'm a senior studying graphic design and English.

I'm involved with the SAGA Art and Literary magazine and the Web Guild on campus. I also work at the communication & marketing department and Special Collections at the library.

I enjoy reading, knitting and baking in my free time.

Maggie Richardson '15 — USA

I am a senior majoring in geography and anthropology, with a minor in Spanish.

At school, I am actively involved in a number of clubs including Spanish Club, Geography Club, and College Democrats. I am also a member of the social sorority Sigma Pi Delta.

maggie richardson

I am passionate about social and environmental issues and try to get involved with service projects and events happening on campus and in the area.

When I am not busy with school, I try to spend as much time outside as I can. Whether it be reading, walking, or just sitting in the sun, I am not one to waste time indoors. I also love hiking and biking and I am always looking for new places to explore and new friends to explore with. I am always up for a weekend excursion to the Mississippi riverfront or to one of the nearby state parks.

After graduating from Augustana next year, I hope to find a job with a local government doing urban planning.

I can’t wait to make some more international friendships this fall!

Jonathan Schwengler '15 — USA

jonathan schwengler

I am studying environmental studies and geography.

I am a first-generation U.S.-born child in my family. I am of both Polish and German descent. I speak Polish fluently and have taken four years of German able to get by in a conversation.

With that I have found myself traveling abroad to Germany and Poland to see family. I have been raised here in Illinois in the suburbs of Chicago in a city called Bensenville, neighboring O'Hare International Airport.

In high school I got involved in a number of sports ranging from volleyball to basketball, cross country, track and swimming. All in all I enjoy being physically active. I had run competitively for Augustana until I realized the huge time commitment it was and decided to resign after my first year.

I have not looked back ever since and have found myself falling in love with the Augustana community and involved myself heavily with its many groups, activities and events through which I have made a number of my friends.

Some other interesting things about me are that I am a talented drawer, enjoy getting together with friends to cook a extravagant meal, play some board games or simply have a good time.

I am very optimistic and energetic and always on the move, barely have time to sleep. I am tall, 6 foot 5 inches, or 1.95 meters.

alecsus sebben

Alecsus Sebben '17 — USA

Hello! I will be a sophomore at Augustana College during the 2014-2015 school year.

I am double majoring in Pre-music Therapy and Business and also minoring in German. I love music and spending time with my family and friends. I enjoy staying active and I am involved with Global Ambassadors, UNYK, Deutsch Klub, and International Club on campus.

Learning about new cultures and getting to know people are some of my passions. I am very excited for what the coming years at Augustana will bring!

Emily Stanevicious '16 — USA

I am a junior, and I'm involved in many things around campus.

Emily Stanevicious

My majors are environmental studies and biology, and I am double minoring in Chinese and Asian Studies.

In the future I would like to do something in herpetology (study of amphibians and reptiles) or maybe teach for a while in China. I love traveling and I have been to 10 different countries so far. I hope to double that within the next five years. In fact, here is a picture of me in GuiLin China exploring all of the Karst.

I’m also a huge goofball and my favorite movies are comedies and action/comic book films. I’m a huge fan of DC comics and I even do a little bit of cosplay here and there. Overall, I’m and easygoing gal and I love joking around.

Yee Mont Thant '16 — Myanmar

yee mont thant

Hi! I’m a junior international student from Myanmar (Burma).

I chose Augustana College mainly because of my brother’s recommendation, who also went here, and realized it met my expectations. I also had a good time studying here.

Working as a global ambassador is definitely an enjoyable, fun, yet challenging experience.

I love to travel a lot so meeting with many international students from all over the world is always something that I am excited and looking forward to. See you all in coming fall!

Will Toht '17 — USA

will toht

Hey everyone! I was born in the U.S. and grew up in the suburbs of Chicago. However, I spent my high school years in London, England.

I am a sophomore this year with my future not quite picked out. My plans right now are to major in International Business and also to work German in there somewhere.

Some of my hobbies include music, video games, reading and cooking. My passion in life is traveling, but that is a bit hard to do right now, so I have to wait for a while.

I cannot wait to get back to Augustana and meet all of the new international students. It should be a fantastic year!

Rachel Vandermyde '15 — USA

rachel vandermyde

I and am a senior majoring in biology with a focus on pre-veterinary medicine. After my senior year I’ll be attending the University of Illinois’ College of Veterinary Medicine.

On campus, I am involved in Augustana Community Health Outreach Organization (ACHOO), Beta Beta Beta Biological Honor Society, Mortar Board and Concert Band. I play the clarinet, as well as the guitar and ukulele.

This is my second year as a global ambassador. I love being a GA and working with the international students. I have a passion for learning about new and different cultures, especially when it comes to cooking and trying new foods.

Outside of school, I enjoy swimming, biking, being outdoors, watching football and traveling. I’ve been to Europe several times and will be going to Nicaragua and Sri Lanka through Augustana’s study abroad programs.

I’m also passionate about animals and helping others. I hope to one day be able to combine my love of traveling, animals, and helping others — I would really like to live abroad for a while!

I’m looking forward to meeting all the new international students and making their time here at Augustana rewarding and fun!

Megan Young '15 — USA

megan young

I am a senior communication sciences & disorders and Spanish for the professional use major. After I graduate from Augustana, I plan on getting my master’s degree to become a speech-language pathologist and then eventually going back to get my PhD.

Outside of my major, I’m passionate about issues of social justice, human rights and the environment. Clubs I’m involved in include Augustana College Democrats, Spanish Club, Augustana Student Speech and Hearing Association, and Sigma Pi Delta sorority. I also volunteer once a week at Casa Guanajuato, a not-for-profit center offering services to Hispanic families throughout the Quad Cities.

I am a member of the club basketball team and love to participate in any intramural sport. In my spare time I like to cook, exercise, explore, listen to live music, hike, speak Spanish and hang out with my friends.

I love to travel, and was lucky enough to participate in Augustana’s study abroad program last year in Ecuador and Peru.

This leads to one of my favorite things about being a global ambassador: meeting new friends and learning about their cultures. I love getting the opportunity to show new students around the college and community that I have grown to love and appreciate so much, while at the same time learning about the place that they call home.