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More Than I Imagined

Augustana faculty and coaches were asked to nominate students they saw as outstanding. This series is the result, named "More Than I Imagined" because that comment was a common thread in the students' answers about what they had done in their four years at Augustana. (Browse by major/minor) More student profiles will be added each week. 

  • Gaetano's activities: Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, Wennerberg Choir

    Gaetano Iaccarino

    “Guy has an exceptional drive. From the first time I met him several years ago, he wanted to find a way to make Brazilian culture his focus. A double major in anthropology and music was a perfect fit. During his time in college, he’s researched Brazilian folk music, how the globalization of industrialized agriculture impacts Brazil, and Brazil’s indigenous population, among other topics. After graduation, he will be taking yet another trip to Brazil to hone his language skills before applying for graduate school in anthropology.”

    — Dr. Adam Kaul
    Associate Professor Sociology, Anthropology & Social Welfare

    Gaetano Iaccarino

    Majors: Anthropology and general music

    Post-grad plans: Live in São Paulo, Brazil, for a year to study Portuguese, teach English and apply for graduate programs in anthropology

    Why did you choose to attend Augustana?
    I chose Augustana because it provides its students with generous scholarship that allows for a liberal arts experience.

    Are you where you thought you’d be four years ago?
    Four years ago, I was attending Augustana for music education. Now I am finishing my degree in anthropology and could not be happier!

    Who helped you get to where you are now?
    Augustana's professors have been a positive influence in my college experience. The passion they have for their work has set an example of how I want to live my life. I am honored to have been taught by them.

    A peak experience?
    My peak experience occurred when I discovered how much I enjoyed learning about anthropology. The professors and staff in the Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Social Welfare have been amazing.

    What did you learn about yourself in these past four years that surprised you?
    Most of the time, it is OK to make mistakes as long as you learn from them.

    What will you miss the most?
    I will miss Augustana's campus and how it fosters growth socially, spiritually and intellectually.

    Advice for this fall’s incoming class (Class of 2016)?
    Come to Augustana with an open mind and follow your instincts.

  • Maren's activities: Augustana Photo Bureau, Udden Geology Club, Sigma Gamma Epsilon, Chi Omega Gamma

    Maren Mathisen

    “It’s often said that the best geologists are those who have seen and studied the most geology in the widest range of places. As Maren begins her graduate work at University of Texas at Austin, she will be able to draw from her field experiences over the past four years in the Andes, Hawaii, the Florida Keys, the Grand Canyon, and the Rockies of Colorado and Wyoming. She is a gifted scholar with the ability to understand and articulate clearly how the minute details of the science contribute to a greater understanding of the big picture. Her adventurous spirit and steadfast determination to learn have guided her well at Augustana, providing the foundation for an excellent scientist and problem-solver."

    — Dr. Jeffrey Strasser
    Professor of Geology

    Maren Mathisen

    Major: Geology
    Minor: Spanish

    Post-grad plans: Pursue a M.S. in geology at the Jackson School of Geosciences at the University of Texas at Austin

    Why did you choose Augustana? 
    My dad, an Augie alum, really encouraged me to come to Augustana because he loved it and knew that it would be a good fit for me. I decided to come here after visiting, meeting students and learning about the geology program and all that Augustana had to offer. The generous scholarships also helped in the decision-making process.  

    Are you where you thought you’d be four years ago?
    In most ways, yes. I’m graduating with a degree in geology and continuing on to pursue a M.S. in geology, but I’ve had so many fantastic experiences and learned so much more along the way than I thought was possible.    

    Who helped you get to where you are now?
    Everyone in the geology department and Office of Communication and Marketing. They’ve encouraged me in every way possible and have become like a huge family to me.      

    A peak experience?
    I have too many peak experiences to pinpoint just one! Exploring geology in the field (see Acknowledge, Field Notes section; learning Spanish and meeting people from all around the world while studying abroad in Ecuador, Peru and Mexico; teaching geology to local Rock Island elementary school kids; presenting my senior research at several scientific meetings and symposiums across the country; presenting photography at Augustana Sights and Sounds, and the list goes on...

    What will you miss the most about Augustana?
    I’ll miss the people here — especially my friends and everyone in the geology department and Office of Communication and Marketing. They truly care about me and my future and have always been so supportive and encouraging. I’m going to miss many other friendly faces around campus, too. Maria Fonseca, who works for food services, knows every student by name, and it’s people like her who make Augustana special. 

  • Hannah's activities: Alpha Psi Omega, Electric Theatre Unplugged (ETU), Jenny Lind Choir, Augustana Observer

    Hannah Johnson

    “I was pleased to nominate Hannah as the first recipient of the Hasselmo Prize for Academic Pursuit. Her work with me on a student-faculty research fellowship led to presentations at two national conferences. The University of Iowa’s Ph.D. program in communication studies, arguably the nation’s top program, saw the potential in Hannah’s insightful research on the rhetorical performance of LGBTQ identity when they admitted her to begin study this fall."

    — Dr. Stephen Klien
    Associate Professor
    of Communication Studies
    Chair, Fine and Performing Arts Division

    Hannah Johnson

    Majors: Communication studies and English
    Minor: Women’s and gender studies
     
    Post-grad plans: Pursue the Ph.D. in communication studies at the University of Iowa

    Why did you choose Augustana?
    I chose Augustana because I saw an excellent presentation by Dr. Snowball on gender and advertising during the January Scholarship competition. I was really impressed and intrigued with where communication studies could take me, not just career-wise. I fell in love with the campus when I visited, even though it was the coldest day of the year. Everyone was friendly, and I saw my future here.

    Are you where you thought you’d be four years ago? 
    I never even dreamed I would be where I am now. I’m going to graduate school to get my Ph.D., and in the fall I’ll be a teaching assistant for freshman rhetoric classes. I came to Augie thinking that I’d leave with a good job, but now I get to be a nerd for the rest of my life and do what I love. I’m a much better writer, speaker and human because of my experiences here. 

    Who helped you get to where you are now?
    I would be lost without the communication faculty. They’ve given me a huge amount of opportunities, like nominating me for the Hasselmo Prize last year, and have guided me towards where I need to be, and I’ve learned so much from their classes. Dr. Klien has been an awesome advisor, and his classes (rhetorical criticism and rhetorical theory) gave the necessary push I needed towards studying rhetoric for a career. I’ve been taking classes from these great people for the last four years, and I don’t think I’d be anywhere close, academically, if I hadn’t been a communication major. 

    A peak experience? 
    My peak experience was traveling to New Orleans for the National Communication Association’s annual conference, where Dr. Klien and I presented our work from my Summer Research Fellowship. I not only gained valuable conference experience but also got to meet people who are doing awesome work in my field, which gave me connections when I was applying for graduate school. To be able to recognize scholars I’ve cited in papers and actually have conversations with them is the coolest thing in the world — I was definitely a little star-struck at times.

    What will you miss the most about Augustana?
    I’ll miss walking down the slough path, waving to every other person and napping on the quad. I’ll definitely miss my professors here and taking classes with my best friends. I really won't get the chance to sing in a great choir like Jenny Lind again or write/direct/act in plays like I’ve done in ETU. I’ll miss the extracurricular aspects of Augie the most. 

  • Veronica's activities: The Redwood Movement, Sigma Alpha Iota, Alpha Psi Omega, Omicron Delta Kappa, Farm2Fork, Global Affect, SAFARI, Augustana Observer, Symphonic Band

    Veronica Smith

    “Veronica Smith has shone bright in more areas of talent, intellect and dedication than I can keep track of. I enjoyed her writing, admired her performance on stage, watched her draw and build an impressive portfolio, shared her wonderful news of acceptance into graduate school in art history, and caught bits of her musicianship and leadership in meaningful causes on and off this campus. She is a gifted leader, definitely one of the best graduates out of Augustana. I look forward to hearing about her future accomplishments."

    — Peter Xiao
    Professor of Art
    Co-chair of the Asian Studies Program

    Veronica Smith

    Majors: Studio art, art history, environmental studies

    Post-grad plans: Attend the University of Iowa for my master’s in art history in the fall, and I intend on continuing straight to the Ph.D. I’d also like to release an album before December full of catchy dance music about possible ways the world could end.

    Why did you choose Augustana?
    I chose Augustana because of the trees. I grew up in the woods, and the Quad-City area is a booming metropolis compared to my hometown. I needed some kind of buffer from the onslaught of urban living. I also liked the fact that I could continue participating in theater and music without majoring in either discipline.

    Are you where you thought you’d be four years ago?
    Considering I thought I would be living in Germany and traveling through Europe by motorcycle, not really! However, I can't imagine a better place to be! I am poised to be a professional lifelong learner and am surrounded by amazingly creative, compassionate and accomplished friends, and am more than excited to be staying in the Midwest for the next few years!

    Who helped you get to where you are now?
    My professors challenged me to academically justify the innate connectivity I experience in day-to-day life, which has led me to finding even more connections and possibilities and curiosities, and has left my brain (and heart) itching for more exploration. Additionally, my professors challenged me to be a better person by constantly encouraging and guiding me in the more personal aspects of my life. My parents have also been instrumental, especially in keeping me motivated and determined. And my friends — sometimes, I feel overwhelmed with the foreboding sense that I will never again have the privilege of seeing, interacting with and creating with such amazing people on a daily basis. Then again, my friends have taught me that there is beauty in genuinely connecting with those around you, and that beauty transcends time and place and even individuals.

    A peak experience?
    Either traveling to West Africa in the spring of 2010 or traveling with the Symphonic Band to Italy! I’ve also loved getting to know the Quad Cities on bike. The Redwood Movement was an incredible experience as well.

    What will you miss most about Augustana?
    I will miss watching the sky darken through the windows of the Ensemble Room, the particular smell (musty, papery, thick with history) of the art storage room in the museum, and having my own studio to work in. But above all else, I will miss the people I met here, and the relationships I formed with them. I will miss knowing almost everyone I pass on the sidewalk.

  • Ariel's activities: Black Student Union, Diversity Initiatives Committee

    Ariel Edgeworth

    “Ariel has a meaningful, fun, challenging and rewarding future ahead of her! I have been encouraged by her brave and thoughtful comments in class, her passion for engaged learning, and her ability to cut through to the heart of the matter. She is a student of life, with heart and mind and spirit. Lucky us.”

    — Dr. Sharon Varallo
    Professor of Communication Studies
    Violet M. Jaeke Chair of Family Life

    Ariel Edgeworth

    Major: Communication studies
     
    Post-grad plans: Master’s program in college student personnel at Western Illinois University

    Why did you choose Augustana?
    I chose Augustana College because it was home to me. My father attended Augustana in the ’70s, and I grew up attending campus community events. At the time I made my college decision, Augustana offered me not only a sense of comfort, but also a great academic financial aid package.

    Are you where you thought you’d be four years ago?
    Four years ago, I knew that I would be a different person at this stage in my life, but I did not realize how different I would be. I have developed an entirely new way of thinking and looking at things. Little things that used to seem so big to me are miniscule now. However, although my thinking has changed, I was able to maintain and strengthen my values as a person.

    Who helped you get to where you are now?
    I definitely would not have made it through these past four years without the help of God. There were many times when I wanted to give up. God always reminded me that my purpose at Augustana College was far greater than just my education. Many others helped me as well. My parents were a great source of encouragement, and Dean Anderson, Greg Aguilar and the staff in the Community Engagement Center opened up many opportunities for me to be able to experience new things.

    A peak experience? 
    My peak experience was my internship at the Child Abuse Council as a doula intern. I provided support for first-time mothers and pregnant teens. I also assisted in prenatal support and education during home visits, and attended doctor’s appointments with clients. This experience helped me to become a more humble person. I saw that there are many young people in the community who could benefit from the help of Augustana students.

    What did you learn about yourself in these past four years that surprised you?
    I can handle much more than I thought I could. Although challenging, I have learned how to manage my time.

    What will you miss the most about Augustana?
    I am going to miss just being on campus.  A lot of growth happened on this campus so it is going to be hard to leave all the memories behind.  

  • Amy's activities: Sigma Pi Delta, Dance Marathon, Jenny Lind Choir, Omicron Delta Kappa

     

    Amy Moon

    “Amy will bring a truly special spirit and passion for learning to her own classroom as a teacher. We often talk about the fact that the best learners make the best teachers. At Augie, Amy has shown herself to be an outstanding student — curious, creative, always ready to contribute ideas and to argue for what she believes in, a true leader among her peers. She is destined for great things as an educator.”

    — Dr. Michael Schroeder
    Professor of Education

    Amy Moon

    Major: Elementary education and Spanish
     
    Post-grad plans: Teach in an elementary bilingual or dual-language classroom

    Why did you choose Augustana?
    When I first visited Augustana, I fell in love with our beautiful campus. I was also extremely impressed with Augustana's education department and the study abroad opportunities. Everyone I met was very genuine, and walking around campus, I could picture myself spending the next four years here, which would become the best four years of my life.

    Are you where you thought you’d be four years ago?
    I am in an even better place than I thought I would be four years ago. After graduation, I will be pursuing both my passion for teaching and my passion for Spanish by teaching in a bilingual classroom. Four years ago, I wouldn’t have had the confidence to teach in Spanish, but my experiences at Augie have fully prepared me for this dream job. My time at Augie has also made me a better person. My inspiration to give back to others has really grown these past four years, and I know that my philanthropic work will still play a big role in my life.

    Who helped you get to where you are now?
    My professors, especially in the education department, have helped me grow into a confident and passionate educator. They have taught me so much about myself and have prepared me extremely well for a successful teaching career. They genuinely cared about me as an individual and my success in the ed program, and they have inspired me to want to do the same for my students! I also wouldn’t be where I am today if it weren’t for my parents who have supported me every step of the way and who have always inspired me to follow my dreams.

    A peak experience?
    I’ve had so many unforgettable experiences that it’s impossible to choose just one. My top three are: 1) Studying abroad in Cuenca, Ecuador, where I immersed myself in the Spanish language for three months, rappelled down a waterfall, ate guinea pig, lived with an amazing host family and spent three days in the jungle without running water or electricity! 2) Student teaching in a second-grade classroom at Garfield Elementary School and 3) Winning the Sing competition at Homecoming in 2009 with my Speed sisters! 

    What will you miss the most about Augustana?
    I will definitely miss my best friends, sorority sisters and favorite professors who made Augustana a true home away from home and made these past four years completely unforgettable and absolutely incredible! 

  • Davis's activities: Phi Omega Phi fraternity, Greek Council Executive Board, Homecoming Co-Director, Dance Marathon Executive Board, Office of Student Activities, Omicron Delta Kappa National Leadership Honor Society, Order of Omega Greek Leadership Honor Society, Beta Beta Beta Biology Honor Society

     

    Davis Frease

    “An Augustana student walks into a bar. This is not a joke — it’s an anecdote of a meeting with Davis Frease last summer. ‘Everyone says you need to go to medical school right after college,’ he told me. ‘So you’re not going to do that,’ I conjectured. ‘No, not right away,’ he said. And that’s Davis in a nutshell: a serious man who senses what he could be, but not yet is. A man immune to conventional wisdom.”

    — Dr. Lendol Calder
    Professor of History

    Davis Frease

    Major: Biology/pre-medicine
    Minors: History, biochemistry

    Post-grad plans: 2012 Teach for America Corps Member in the Mississippi Delta

    Are you where you thought you’d be four years ago?
    Not even close. I don’t think I’d even recognize myself (and that’s a good thing). Also, I had no inclination I would be devoting myself to something like Teach for America, a cause I’m now fully vested in.  

    Who helped you get to where you are now?
    First and foremost is Jesus Christ. Additionally, my family and my friends have always been there for me, encouraging me to make my dreams a reality. Ken Brill, the director of student activities, has helped me develop my leadership skills an enormous amount. And the faculty members in the biology, chemistry and history departments have all pushed me to be the best I can be academically. In particular, Dr. Calder in the history department has been a phenomenal resource for me and has truly gone out of his way to help me develop and succeed.

    A peak experience?
    The first thing that comes to mind is the unique opportunity I had to attend the U.S. Air Force Academy National Character and Leadership Symposium over spring break last year, an experience coordinated by Dr. Van Sandt of the business department and funded by the Institute for Leadership and Service. I met some truly incredible young men in my cadet hosts and had the chance to listen to inspiring heroes like Medal of Honor recipient Staff Sergeant Salvatore Giunta.

    What did you learn about yourself in these past four years that surprised you?
    It’s the vast array of interests I have in a number of different disciplines. Classes I’ve taken outside of my major and minors have sparked my interest in such disciplines as economics, ethics and religion. 

    Anything you’d like to add?
    The Texas Medical Center Summer Research Internship Program, coordinated by Dr. Storl of the philosophy department, was a truly profound experience for me as an individual. The research I completed on pituitary tumors was the paramount academic experience of my undergraduate career. Additionally, the time I spent with my mentor, Dr. Ian McCutcheon of MD Anderson’s Cancer Center, in the clinic and operating room, greatly altered my self-concept and instilled a new level of drive and motivation in me.  

  • Kevin's activities: Augustana Symphony Orchestra, Jazz Ensemble, Jazz Combo, Alpha Phi Omega service fraternity, Augustana Community Health Outreach Organization, Beta Beta Beta Biology Honor Society, Sigma Xi Research

     

    Kevin Pettit

    “It’s difficult to pin down the diverse skills Kevin has gained during his four years on our campus. Instead, it’s best to understand Kevin in terms of the unique aspects a liberally educated person brings to his community. In Kevin, we encounter a curious, rigorous, enthusiastic and compassionate human being. He has contributed to campus aesthetics via his music, to our larger Quad-City community via his work in assessing the strengths of a local hospital ethics committee, and to his future medical profession via first-class research at Baylor College of Medicine. Kevin is the kind of person our world needs—fully invested in life and generous in those abilities that enrich the lives of others.”

    — Dr. Heidi Storl
    TMC-SRIP, Director
    Professor of Philosophy

    Kevin Pettit

    Majors: Biochemistry, political science

    Post-grad plans: Attend the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine

    Are you where you thought you’d be four years ago?
    I came to Augustana expecting to major in biology but found myself drawn to biochemistry instead. I also found a passion for political science that resulted in an additional major. Augustana enabled me to find my passions, and I am glad to be where I am today.

    Who helped you get to where you are now?
    The support of family and friends has been crucial to my development both in and out of school. I have also been able to develop strong academic and research relationships with some of the faculty, enabling me to broaden my experiences and knowledge. Three who really stand out as both classroom and research mentors are Dr. Storl (philosophy), Dr. Crawford (biochemistry) and Dr. Weissburg (political science).

    A peak experience?
    For me, this is a tie! I loved participating in a medical mission trip to Nicaragua, which was my first time out of the country. I was also incredibly fortunate to be able to participate in the internships at Texas Medical Center, experiencing research at Baylor College of Medicine, one of the nation’s major medical research institutions. 

    What did you learn about yourself in these past four years that surprised you?
    I had always assumed that laboratory research would be for me, but I found other fields that are very appealing. I have cultivated new, unexpected interests in medical ethics and health care policy.

    Anything you’d like to add?
    Augustana provided me with opportunities whenever I reached for them. I was able to complete a case study of a local hospital’s ethics system, volunteer in the community, research with our fantastic biochemistry professors, and participate in music ensembles. None of my goals were off limits at this school.

    What will you miss the most?
    I will miss the multi-disciplinary nature of everyone at this institution. So many people work across disciplines and are multi-talented. It is rare to experience such diversity of experiences, knowledge and perspectives.

  • Nicole Imparato

    “Nicole is one of those students who make teaching a real pleasure. She’s bright, articulate and asks damn good questions. Beyond that, she genuinely cares about the world around her. Nicole doesn’t just study hard so she can get an A on the exam; she studies because she wants to figure out how to make the world a better, more just place. That’s what makes her exceptional.”

    — Dr. Paul Weissburg
    Assistant Professor of Political Science

    Nicole Imparato

    Majors: Political science and English
    Minor: Spanish
    Post-grad plans: This is more my life plan, but I am going to try and find where I belong.

    Why did you choose Augustana?
    For me, Augustana just fit. Small, close-knit student body, a green and vibrant campus (in the correct months of course!) and professors whose doors are always open. Augie was everything I was looking for in a school — accomplished and yet not pretentious.

    Are you where you thought you’d be four years ago?
    Well, I knew I’d be graduating, but as far as everything else I could have never anticipated being the person I am today. Change is a guarantee in life, but only the lucky ones get to experience growth, real growth, and thanks to Augustana and everything I have done here and everyone I have met here, I can say that I am a part of that lucky few.

    Who helped you get to where you are now?
    Specifically my parents, my good friend Martha Rothchild, and Dr. Weissburg. Without my parents’ continual support in everything — from constant words of advice to those extra dollars when money was tight — I would have never made it. I would have never made it through Augustana with my sanity if I hadn’t met my good friend Martha, who has always been there no matter what time of day or night. And finally, without a great professor, mentor and I hope friend, Dr. Weissburg, I wouldn’t have been the political science major and person I am proud to be today.

    A peak experience?
    Probably the scariest one, the experience of right now. Having to face leaving the Augie bubble and becoming a member of society is definitely a highlight. Incredibly frightening and yet exhilarating. The real growth and challenge has just begun!

    What did you learn about yourself in these past four years that surprised you?
    That I am a total nerd and am incredibly in love with being one.

    What will you miss the most about Augustana?
    Probably the Quad-Cities area itself. I like to explore, and I have found some very memorable places both off and on campus.

  • Troy's activities:Varsity basketball
    Troy Rorer

    “Troy Rorer stood 6'1" and weighed 175 pounds and was an unsure, wide-eyed freshman moving into Westerlin Hall four years ago. Today, the CCIW All-conference senior stands 6'3" and weighs 195 pounds. Troy went through a great process of growth in every respect during his time at Augustana. During his junior and senior year, his leadership was evident when he was an integral part of a team that posted 46 victories and won both a regular season and conference tournament championship. As the conference’s best defender, he showed a tenacity that will serve him well as he moves into the post-graduate experience. Troy will be an alumnus that all at Augustana will be proud of, and I was lucky to be his coach.”

    — Grey Giovanine
    Coach, men's basketball

    Troy Rorer

    Major: Business (marketing and finance)
    Post-grad plans: Move to Chicago and find a job

    Why did you choose to attend Augustana?
    I chose Augustana because my brother came here before me, and he made Augie seem like a great place to go. Also, Augustana is a well-known, prestigious school, and it carries weight when you’re looking for a job.

    Are you now where you thought you’d be four years ago?  
    Absolutely. Augustana has really prepared me for my life to come and because of that I will join the job market and hopefully be successful.

    Who helped you get to where you are today?
    Coach G. (Grey Giovanine) really put me on track not only on the basketball court but he has taught me that nothing is given to us, so we have to work as hard as we can to reach the goals we want to achieve.

    What did you learn about yourself in these past four years that surprised you?
    I learned that I am able to balance everything I do in a way that is healthy and efficient.

    A peak experience?
    My peak experience would have to be getting to the Elite 8 game in the NCAA tournament. The intensity in Carver was unbelievable because of the students who would cram the gym an hour before the games. I will remember that forever.

    What will you miss the most about Augustana?
    I will miss my team the most. Those guys are all my family, and I will never be with a team like that ever again. 

  • Samantha's activities: Augustana Symphonic Band, Sigma Alpha Iota, Alpha Phi Omega
    Samantha Tyner

    “Samantha was a great student and so much fun to work with! She has a great attitude about mathematics and its connections to other disciplines. She gave several talks about her work, and they were always professionally done and well received. I’m proud to know her.”

    — Dr. Tom Bengtson
    Professor of Mathematics
    & Computer Science
    Earl H. Beling Chair in Mathematics

    Samantha Tyner

    Majors: Mathematics, French, economics
    Post-grad plans: Attend Iowa State University for the statistics Ph.D. program

    Why did you choose Augustana?
    I chose Augustana because of the liberal arts curriculum, its small overall size and small class sizes. Also, the campus is beautiful, and there is a lot to do in the Quad Cities!

    Are you where you thought you’d be four years ago?
    Not at all, but in a really excellent way! I didn't know what I was going to do, or even what I was going to major in when I first got here, but now I know exactly what I’m doing next year, and what I want for my life after Augie. I am so excited for the future!

    Who helped you get to where you are now?
    My advisor, Dr. Bengtson, helped me a lot by encouraging me to take the classes that I was interested in, but also by nudging me into the upper-level math classes early on. I was a little scared of them, but he was always very encouraging and knew that I would succeed. He also encouraged me to apply for an REU (Research Experiences for Undergraduates), which I am extremely grateful for, because my REU experience at Valparaiso University helped me decide to go to graduate school.  

    A peak experience? 
    Touring Italy with the Symphonic Band in my junior year was one of the greatest experiences of my life! The Symphonic Band is truly a family, and traveling and playing with them in one of the most beautiful countries in the world was amazing. It was beautiful to see a completely different kind of audience be moved by the music we played, even though they didn't know a thing about us, nor us about them.  

    What did you learn about yourself in these past four years that surprised you?
    I learned that I can balance lots of schoolwork with lots of activities and time with friends and not be extremely stressed out. My experience at Augustana definitely helped with my time- management skills, which I will benefit from in the future, especially in graduate school.<

    What will you miss the most about Augustana?
    I will miss the people and the sense of community the most. I got a great education here, but the friends I made made the experience truly wonderful!

  • Mark's activities: ACHOO/JETS, Chi Alpha Pi sorority (honorary Cutie), Relay for Life, Beta Beta Beta Biological Honor Society
    Mark Tanner

    “Mark is very altruistic and understands how critical public health issues can be to a country’s overall status at a variety of levels — individual, community and national. He is a fairly quiet individual, but was a guiding force in his clinic group while in Nicaragua, nudging others to consider less obvious interpretations of a patient’s history and to diligently follow the protocols provided by the doctors. I believe his good sense of humor and warm interpersonal manner will serve him well in either clinical or laboratory research settings.”

    — Dr. Dara Wegman-Geedey
    Professor of Biology

    Mark Tanner

    Majors: Biochemistry and biology
    Minor: Chemistry

    Post-grad plans: Pursue a Ph.D. in translational biology and molecular medicine at Baylor College of Medicine

    Why did you choose to attend Augustana?
    I chose Augustana because it intuitively felt like the right school for me. The strong academics, picturesque campus and overall reputation of the college gave me a strong desire to come here. Along with the myriad of extracurricular activities that were available, Augustana just seemed like the perfect fit.

    Are you where you thought you’d be four years ago?
    Definitely not. If you told me four years ago that by my senior year I would have worked in rural Nicaraguan clinics, done research in the world's largest medical center, and even joined a sorority, I would have thought you were crazy...but now that has all become a reality.

    Who helped you get to where you are now?
    The faculty, particularly in the biology and chemistry departments, has consistently shown an interest in helping me throughout my time as an undergrad. Whether I wanted to study abroad, do on-campus research, get an internship or just succeed in a class, these professors have always been there to help out in any way they could. 

    A peak experience?
    Participating in the Texas Medical Center Summer Research Internship Program was my peak experience. Through this program I got to be immersed in the world of biomedical research and put what I learned in the classroom to use while working in one of the nation’s top institutions. It also proved to be pivotal in helping me to secure plans after graduation.

    What did you learn about yourself in these past four years that surprised you?
    I’ve learned that if I want to make an accomplishment or do something memorable I need to step out of my comfort zone. My best times at Augustana have been when I’ve done this, and the memories I have from them comprise my fondest times as an Augie student.

    What will you miss the most?
    I’ll miss the friends that I had the pleasure of getting to know while at Augustana. They truly made these last four years a unique and unforgettable experience, and for that I am incredibly grateful.

  • Jacquelyn's activities: Alpha Psi Omega National Theatre Honor Society, Omicron Delta Kappa National Leadership Honor Society, Peer Mentor Program

    Jacquelyn Schmidt

    “Not only has Jacqui Schmidt excelled academically, she has consistently exhibited a love of learning. As a theatre arts major, Jacqui has been actively involved in virtually every area of production, both on stage and behind the scenes. As this year’s president of our campus chapter of Alpha Psi Omega, she has spearheaded efforts to increase the number of theatre service projects performed by the group, making it one of the most active service organizations on campus.”

    — Jeff Coussens
    Professor of Theatre Arts

    Jacquelyn Schmidt

    Majors: English with writing emphasis; theatre arts
    Minor: Art

    Post-grad plans: Continue my internship at Sage Products in Cary, Ill., where I have interned for the past four years

    Are you where you thought you’d be four years ago?
    I am nowhere near where I thought I would be. When I first came to Augustana, I only took a theatre class because it was something I had done in high school. I soon learned that theatre was one of my passions and that I needed to continue growing as an artist to fulfill the overwhelming desire to learn more. I also feared that I wouldn’t have a solid plan for after graduation. Through my hard work during the past four years, three departments at Sage Products have inquired about continuing my internship after I graduate.

    Who helped you get to where you are now?
    I am incredibly lucky to have such a supportive family. My parents never told me what I could and could not study in college — they simply warned me not to take on more than I could handle! My brother is two years younger than I am; he is more than just a brother, he is a friend. I also have had the opportunity to work with some phenomenal professors. Dr. Irelan was my advisor for my Senior Inquiry, and he helped me find a way to bring together all of my passions and fields of study into one cohesive project. Through our one-on-one discussions, he helped me grow as an artist and a scholar.

    A peak experience?
    My peak experience is definitely the culmination of my Theatre Senior Inquiry at the end of winter term. I did dramaturgical research for the spring production of Bat Boy: The Musical, and through my discussions with the director and designers, some of my ideas made their way into the design.

    What did you learn about yourself that surprised you?
    When I first came to Augustana, I was incredibly shy and had difficulty approaching a professor to ask for help or present an idea. The classes I have taken and the challenges I have faced at Augustana have helped me gain the confidence to articulate my ideas. I am now more comfortable talking to managers at work and am able to express my ideas in a professional manner.

    Anything you’d like to add?
    I participated in the Foundations honors program during my first year and continued with the program to complete the honors capstone my junior year. It was one of the most rewarding and amazing experiences I had in college. I learned so much about synthesizing disciplines. I have been in karate since I was 6 years old, and I was able to incorporate the disciplines of karate with what I learned to create an actor training program.

  • Clara's activities: Sigma Pi Delta sorority, Jewish Student Organization

    Clara Franklin

    “Clara is not only a top-notch anthropology student with a stellar work ethic, but she has also traveled as far and wide as India, West Africa, Israel and Latin America. This extensive international and intercultural exposure has given Clara a uniquely cosmopolitan, global perspective that simply cannot be taught. It must be lived. Furthermore, these experiences have honed her maturity and her ability to adapt to new cultural milieus where she must negotiate new cultural patterns. Clara also is very focused on issues of social justice and alleviating inequalities. Even when I first met her several years ago, she had already developed a passion for serving others less fortunate than herself.”

    — Dr. Adam Kaul
    Associate Professor Sociology, Anthropology & Social Welfare

    Clara Franklin

    Majors: Anthropology and sociology (social welfare)
    Minor: Africana studies

    Post-grad plans: International volunteering

    Are you where you thought you’d be four years ago?
    No way. I thought I would have an exact plan for the future and a path I wanted to take. While I do have a clearer view of who I am, I still do not know what to do with my life.

    Who helped you get to where you are now?
    My professors, parents and friends helped me get where I am today. They always encouraged me to do things that I thought were beyond my reach and ability. The fact that they never lost faith in me helped me keep faith in myself.

    A peak experience?
    My study abroad term in West Africa was my peak experience. Augustana has amazing study abroad opportunities and professors that make the experience unforgettable. West Africa allowed me to immerse myself in a culture that I would not have otherwise gotten the opportunity to experience. Also, this term gave me the chance to meet amazing Augustana students that otherwise would have been strangers.

    What did you learn about yourself in these past four years that surprised you?
    I learned that I do have the ability and confidence to be a leader. While I can be very quiet and do not like public speaking or talking amongst a lot of people, Augustana gave me the skills and resources to find my voice and speak my opinions.

    What would you like to add?
    I am very interested in Jewish studies and hope to return to Israel to do research on the Middle East.

    Advice for this fall’s incoming class (Class of 2016)?
    Don’t take your four years at Augustana for granted. It will fly by. Have an amazing time living with friends, and take advantage of every opportunity Augustana offers, especially the study abroad programs.

  • Michael's activities: Black Student Union, Phi Alpha Theta 
    Michael Rogers

    “Michael Rogers has a quiet wisdom that transcends the classroom. He is a young man who is motivated by his faith to reach out to others. He is also a leader among his peers. In his time at Augustana, he has studied political theory, presented a national paper on American Indians and masculinity, and studied abroad in Brazil. But what impresses me the most about Michael is his commitment to use what he has learned at Augustana to improve the world we inhabit.”

    — Dr. Steve Warren
    Associate Professor of History

    Michael Rogers

    Majors: Political science and history 

    Post-grad plans: Master’s program in college student personnel at Western Illinois University

    Why did you choose Augustana? 
    I felt so welcomed by all the staff, whether it was my admissions recruiter or volunteers helping at the Visit Days. It’s also because Augustana offered me the most scholarship money.   

    Are you now where you thought you’d be four years ago? 
    Not at all. I had no idea that so much maturity and development would take place in four years that have flown by! I literally look back, and I am such a different person now.  

    Who helped you get to where you are now?
    Without a doubt, Dean Mark Anderson has played a tremendous role in my development. Also, Dr. Jane Simonsen and Dr. Steve Warren. In different capacities, these individuals helped me realize my own potential and challenged me to work above and beyond what is required.

    What did you learn about yourself in these past four years that surprised you? 
    Even though you may be considered a quiet or shy person, it doesn’t make you any less of a leader. Oftentimes, we think of leaders as people who are out in the front and very candid. Even though I don’t consider myself a very outspoken person, I have been amazed at how many of my professors and friends have recognized me as a leader. 

    A peak experience? 
    Definitely traveling abroad to study in Brazil! I would consider this the zenith of my undergraduate experience because I learned so much about other cultures and myself. I have been back on campus for a couple months now, and I still think about my experience every day! I would recommend foreign study, especially Brazil, to all students. :)  

    What will you miss the most about Augustana? 
    I will miss the close-knit community of Augustana. Now that I will be attending a school with more than quadruple the number of students, it frightens me a bit. I truly believe that Augustana genuinely cares about all their students, and I am not too sure a lot of schools are like that. I will also miss the friendships that I have made, not only at Augustana, but the many connections that I have built through my community involvement while at Augustana. 

  • Brittany's activities: Varsity tennis and Young Life

    Brittany Reece

    “Brittany has been a tremendous player on the tennis team. Her competitive spirit and will is shown every time she plays an opponent and is a reason why she surpassed 100 wins during her career at Augustana. That will and determination also is shown daily in practice as she looks to improve, and by doing so, pushes her teammates to get better.”

    — Jon Miedema
    Coach, women’s and men’s tennis

    Brittany Reece

    Major: Elementary education
    Minor: Religion
     
    Post-grad plans: Teach elementary-age students 

    Why did you choose Augustana?
    It provided me with the opportunity to play college tennis, do Young Life, and it had a beautiful campus with small class sizes. 

    Are you where you thought you’d be four years ago?
    Yes, however Augustana provided me with much more than I could have ever asked for. Being at Augustana, I met great friends, competed on the varsity tennis team, student-taught first graders, traveled to Kentucky for mission trips, and had wonderful professors.

    Who helped you get to where you are now?
    My parents encouraged and guided me throughout my four years here, lovingly giving advice and support. I am so thankful for my parents. My professors made learning exciting and took an interest in me as a student and as an individual.

    A peak experience?
    My peak experience was getting my student teaching placement to teach first grade at Ridgewood Elementary. I loved the students and the staff at Ridgewood. Everyone there was extremely welcoming and willing to help me with anything. My students were both challenging and amazing. They showed me so much love, which made teaching them exciting.

    What did you learn about yourself in these past four years that surprised you?
    I learned the importance of getting involved in activities on campus. I also learned that God placed me at Augustana purposefully so that I could meet wonderful people and experience the joys of being on a team and working with students. 

    What will you miss the most?
    I will miss the wonderful people I have met here, the professors who impacted my education, and the opportunity to play tennis on a college team. 

    Advice for this fall’s incoming class (Class of 2016)?
    Take the opportunity to get to know a lot of people at Augustana because you can learn a lot from each one of them.

  • Jessica’s activities: Varsity soccer, Phi Rho sorority, Mortar Board, Business Club

    Jessica Dodds

    “Jessica is one of the brightest students I have had the privilege to work with in my 17 years of teaching accounting. She has taken full advantage of Augustana’s liberal arts education by majoring in accounting and business, minoring in Spanish, studying abroad extensively and starring on the women’s soccer team. Her contributions to our department as a tutor, office worker and participant in the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program show her commitment to campus and public service. In short, Jessica is an outstanding representative of Augustana and a shining example of someone who made the most of her time here.”

    — Dr. John Delaney
    Associate Professor of Accounting

    Jessica Dodds

    Majors: Accounting and business administration (finance)
    Minor: Spanish

    Post-grad plans: Master of Accounting Degree program at University of Northern Iowa; begin work as an audit assistant at McGladrey & Pullen, LLP in the fall of 2013

    Are you where you thought you’d be four years ago?
    Coming into Augie, I did not have any set plans of what I wanted to do or where I wanted to be by graduation. Leaving Augie, I think I have put myself in a position that is much greater than I would have ever counted on, and I never expected to leave Augie knowing I have developed some of the most valuable friendships of my life. 
      
    A peak experience?
    I don’t think I can pinpoint one peak experience. However, my opportunities to travel abroad were very valuable to me. I was able to study twice in Spain. I went to Salamanca in the summer of 2011. While we were there, we were able to experience the vivacity of Spain after they won the World Cup! I returned to Spain the following spring trimester to study Spanish in the city of Granada. My home-stay in Granada taught me so much about the Spanish culture. I also traveled around Europe with my soccer team after this study-abroad. I will never forget the people I met and experiences I had while traveling.

    What did you learn about yourself in these past four years that surprised you?
    I have learned how much I can change and grow in only a few short years. I am continually learning new things about myself. I’ve learned and am still learning how to push myself and how to recognize my limits. 

    Advice for this fall’s incoming class (Class of 2016)?
    Be accepting of the unfamiliar. Try new things, and if it doesn’t work out, try something else. You will be amazed by the people you meet and how much they can teach you. At the same time, keep in mind the importance of balance and try not to overload yourself. College is short so make time to do the things you love!

  • Katie's activities: Delta Chi Theta sorority, Augustana Student Speech-Language-Hearing Association, Royal Neighbors of America
    Katie Devore

    “Katie is a highly successful Augustana student, encompassing all things Augie! She is very talented academically, earning a 4.0 GPA during her four years, and is actively engaged with several on-campus groups. After graduation, she will continue her academic pursuits at the University of Iowa while earning a master’s degree in speech-language pathology.”

    — Dr. Ann Perreau
    Assistant Professor in Communication Sciences & Disorders

    Katie Devore

    Major: Communication sciences and disorders (CSD)
    Minors: Psychology and Spanish

    Post-grad plans: Attend University of Iowa to become a certified speech-language pathologist

    Are you where you thought you’d be four years ago? 
    My college experience has far surpassed what I had expected. I came to Augustana not sure of my future. At Augie, I’ve developed a strong circle of friends, traveled overseas and have been accepted into graduate schools across the country. I couldn't ask for a better college experience. 

    Who helped you get to where you are now?
    I owe a lot of thanks to my family and friends for their constant support and encouragement. The CSD faculty also helped me immensely to get to where I am now. They were always supportive, approachable and a constant source of knowledge and wisdom. 

    A peak experience?
    One of my peak experiences here at Augie was joining a sorority. Being part of a sorority has been extremely rewarding as I have developed strong friendships that I know will stay with me long after I leave Augustana. 

    What did you learn about yourself in these past four years that surprised you?
    I learned that I can accomplish much more than I ever thought possible. If you surround yourself with positive people, work hard and take advantage of the opportunities that you are presented with, the possibilities are truly endless.

    Advice for this fall’s incoming class (Class of 2016)?
    Take advantage of all that Augustana has to offer. Get involved, travel overseas, but most of all enjoy Augie! The time here goes by too fast.

  • Ly's activities: Sigma Kappa Tau sorority, Asian Student Organization
    Ly Pham

    “How can you not admire a student like Ly Pham? She left her family in Vietnam to come to Augustana and has taken advantage of the many educational, cultural and social opportunities at the college like no other student I've met. Ly is one of our Outstanding Senior Accounting Majors this year. Soon she will be off to The Ohio State University to complete a master's of accountancy fellowship. Did Ly get the most from her time at Augustana? Absolutely! I'll miss that smile she wears every day.”

    — Dr. John Delaney
    Associate Professor of Accounting

    Ly Pham

    Majors: Accounting and business administration (finance and international business)

    Post-grad plans: Earn my Master of Accounting at The Ohio State University, and then work at a public accounting firm

    Are you where you thought you'd be four years ago?
    No, I didn't imagine I could be offered so many opportunities in terms of academics as well as personal growth.

    Why did you choose to attend Augustana?
    Before I came here as a freshman in August 2008, I had never been to the U.S. and I don't have any relatives here either, so my entire decision was based on a combination of what I learned about the school from the Augie website, the school's rank and my impression of the admissions staff. Best decision I’ve ever made!

    A peak experience?
    Being the co-chair of Business Day 2011 was my peak experience. It was a combination of all the previous leadership positions I had at Augustana. Planning the event was a long process, but I felt rewarded for my efforts, knowing that I helped other students get closer to the real business world. 

    Who helped you get to where you are now?
    Dr. Delaney recommended me to the recruiter at Ohio State and put in a good word for me. Dr. Delaney also works hard to help students get awesome accounting internships. It was thanks to him that I got my internship at PricewaterhouseCoopers, which led to a full-time job offer. In addition, Dr. Ericson in the business department and my boss, Dr. Smith, in the sociology department, have helped me get used to life at Augustana. My family and best friend, Jamila Washington, also provided great support as our conversations always urged me to expand my horizons.

    What will you miss the most about Augustana? 
    I will miss the people here –– my friends, the business and accounting departments, my boss, Dr. Marsha Smith –– and the beautiful campus. I won't miss all the hills though.

  • Dean's activities: Chargers Club Soccer Team, Casa Guanajuato, Augustana Observer
    Dean Burrier Sanchis

    “Dean thinks out of the box and is constantly applying critical thinking to the situations he is exposed to. He described this first trip to Spain as a ‘life-changing experience’ and, since then, studying Spanish language and culture has become one of his passions. Thus, it is no surprise that Dean has achieved one of the highest proficiency levels that we have seen in the department in recent years, and has chosen to be a Spanish teacher for his professional career.”

    — Dr. Jeanneth Vazquez
    Associate Professor in Spanish

    Dean Burrier Sanchis

    Major: Teaching Spanish
    Minor: Latin American studies

    Post-grad plans: I hope to either teach Spanish at the high school level in the U.S. or teach English in Spain. I will also be applying to graduate schools with the hope of pursuing an advanced degree in Spanish literature or history.

    Are you where you thought you'd be four years ago?
    Not at all. I have come to understand myself in ways I did not know I could. I have discovered and pursued my aspirations to the fullest, and I have grown so much more as a person than I could have hoped for four years ago.

    Why did you choose to attend Augustana?
    I wanted to find a place where I could easily try my hand at several different majors and be able to live out my passions, all with the hope of discovering what I truly wanted to do with my life.

    What did you learn about yourself in these past four years that surprised you?
    I learned that I am a very passionate and hard-working individual who depends on the love and support given daily and without conditions from my family and my loved ones.

    A peak experience?
    Becoming a citizen of Spain this past November was a culminating achievement for me. It represents so many things I have been working for during my Augustana career: integrating myself into Spanish culture; studying the Spanish language, Spanish history, Spanish literature and Spanish soccer; and embracing my ancestral homeland as a huge part of my personal identity.

    Who helped you get to where you are now?
    Really every professor in the Spanish department has played an important role in forming me as a student and helping me accomplish my goals. David Arbesú has really pushed me, helping to bring out the most curious, ardent intellectual in me. Araceli Masterson has not only inspired me to pursue greater understanding of culture, identity and life in general, but her counsel and wisdom have pulled me through trying times and turning points in my life.

    What will you miss the most about Augustana?
    My roommate Martin Skantze '13, my friends and teammates, so many professors and Augustana staff, intramural sports and Dining Services’ peanut butter and chocolate brownies.

  • Caitlin's activities: Varsity soccer, Athletes Giving Back, Phi Rho sorority, Best Buddies, Mortar Board National College Senior Honor Society, Augustana Student Speech-Language-Hearing Association, National Student Speech-Language-Hearing Association
    Caitlin Winkelman

    “Taking full advantage of our liberal arts curriculum, Caitlin explored several majors before she decided on CSD. As a professor, it's been rewarding watching Caitlin mature as a student. She effectively has learned to balance her responsibilities as a student, student clinician here and in Australia, varsity soccer player, sorority sister, club member and community volunteer. I look forward to hearing about Caitlin's successes in her next big adventure — graduate school!

    — Dr. Kathy Jakielski
    Professor of Communication Sciences
    and Disorders

    Caitlin Winkelman

    Major: Communication sciences and disorders (CSD)

    Post-grad plans: Obtain a master's in speech-language pathology

    Are you where you thought you'd be four years ago?
    Four years ago, I was completely unsure of where I would be come graduation day. I came in as a biology major interested in different health-related fields, but I hadn't really found my niche. I was lucky enough to have a summer job that sparked my interest in speech-language pathology. I took an introductory course in CSD my sophomore year and quickly fell in love. 

    What did you learn about yourself in these past four years that surprised you?
    Coming into college, I was really nervous about finding a major that could lead me to a career that I was passionate about. I was so unsure about what I wanted to do and what direction I would go, and I felt like I was running out of time. Through my academic, clinical, extracurricular and athletic experiences, I think I found a new confidence in myself as a leader and discovered a lot more about myself as a person. This experience at Augie helped me to find an area of study that I can truly say I am passionate about and I am excited to do for the rest of my life.

    A peak experience?
    I have so many great memories that stand out for different reasons. Traveling to Europe and making it to the Sweet 16 with my best friends on the soccer team were incredible experiences that I will never forget. However, I think my peak experience was traveling to Australia this past winter term. As an intern at The University of Sydney Faculty of Health Sciences, I was able to give speech therapy to a 4-year old girl with childhood apraxia of speech and actually had to fake an Aussie accent to do so.

    Who helped you get to where you are now?
    I have an incredible support system of family and friends from home and at Augie who have always encouraged me in everything I do and have always been there for me. My CSD professors and clinical supervisors have been amazing mentors and teachers throughout my undergraduate academic experience. I have learned so much from them and have formed relationships on a personal level as well, something that I think is a unique quality of professor-student relationships at Augustana. My soccer coach, Scott Mejia, has also been a crucial aspect of the quality of my athletic experience at Augie. He has pushed me to be the best leader I can be on and off the field.

    Advice for this fall’s incoming class (Class of 2016)?
    It's the best and fastest four years, and college is completely what you make of it. Sometimes it may seem like it's only week three and you just can't wait for summer, but some day you will be wishing you were moving back into Westerlin.

  • Grant's activities: Varsity football, Gamma Alpha Beta fraternity, American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
    Grant Ollenburger

    “Grant has found unique ways to merge his varied interests and talents in his work in the CSD major. He has taken a genuine interest in learning about the daily lives of families affected by communication disorders through respite care work. He has used his woodworking experience to design therapy materials and his athletic skills to teach swim lessons to children with communication disorders. His creativity and compassion are limitless.”

    — Dr. Allison Haskill
    Associate Professor
    of Communication Sciences and Disorders

    Grant Ollenburger

    Major: Communication sciences and disorders

    Post-grad plans: Graduate school for speech-language pathology (SLP) at Louisiana State University

    Are you where you thought you'd be four years ago?
    I did not think I would be preparing to move to Louisiana four years ago, but I am proud of my accomplishments at Augustana. Four years ago, I did not know what direction I was heading, in terms of a future job, but with the help of my advisors, I was able to find my true vocational calling as an SLP.

    What did you learn about yourself in these past four years that surprised you?
    My ability to work with others. Opposed to high school, Augustana encourages a variety of team activities in the academic setting to infuse different views and opinions on certain topics. I did not think that I would be as comprehensive toward others’ thoughts as I found myself to be.

    A peak experience?
    The best experience I had was traveling to Europe with the football team in the summer of my junior year. Playing overseas and touring Switzerland and Vienna, Austria, was an experience I would not have had if I had not attended Augustana. What made the experience so great was being there with my friends and my family. Playing in a stadium that had every seat filled made the experience that much better.

    Who helped you get to where you are now?
    The faculty have devoted a lot of time outside of the classroom to ensure I can accomplish the academic success that I desire. They are pleased to assist the students and direct them to sources outside the classroom to enrich their education.

    Advice for this fall’s incoming Class of 2016?
    Get involved. Join clubs, intramural sports, Greek life, etc. Augustana offers a diverse network of extra-curricular activities, and getting involved helped me to meet new people, remain stress-free and make memories.

  • April's activities: Chi Omega Gamma (president 2011-2012), Mortar Board National College Senior Honor Society
    April Runde

    “April’s curiosity about other cultures is what we desire in students with an international business major. She completed a second major in Spanish, and her sense of adventure led her to overseas academic experiences in Spain and Vietnam. April will be a valuable addition to the family business as it expands its international business dealings.”

    — Dr. Ann Ericson
    Associate Professor
    in Business Administration

    April Runde

    Majors: International business and Spanish

    Post-grad plans: Pursuing a career as an entrepreneur and successor of my father's startup business, Nack Enterprises, which is involved in the recycling industry

    Are you where you thought you'd be four years ago?
    I am in a better place than where I thought I would be four years ago. I came to college to improve upon my academics, but it is obvious that I have also bettered myself as a person. Today, I have a clearer view of where I stand morally, politically and socially. 

    What did you learn about yourself in these past four years that surprised you?
    I have what it takes to go outside my comfort zone, to lead a group of peers and to live independently.  

    A peak experience?
    Augustana has provided me with the opportunity to study abroad in Spain, France, Vietnam and Hong Kong. Each experience was fantastic in its own right, but I feel especially moved by my time in Vietnam. I am forever a different, finer person because of it. 

    Who helped you get to where you are now?
    My mother and father have offered me endless support. The faculty members of the business department are wonderful. I particularly appreciate the help I have received from Dr. Amanda Baugous and Dr. Ann Ericson; they truly care about Augustana's students and their success.

    Advice for this fall’s incoming Class of 2016?
    It is important not to lose sight of your goal. It is going to be hard to adjust to college life at first, but you will find your niche, and Augustana will become a second home. 

  • Morgan's activities: Indoor and outdoor track and field, Phi Rho sorority, OSA Spirituality Committee, Student Athletic Advisory Committee, student ambassador in Admissions, Omicron Delta Kappa National Leadership Honor Society
    Morgan Gale

    “Morgan Gale has grown as both an athlete and as a team leader. This season she was elected by her teammates to be their captain. The combination of four years of hard work, the role of team leadership and the realization that this is her final season has helped Morgan compete at a much high level. This past indoor track and field season, she earned All-Conference for the first time in her career at Augustana. She has continued this hot streak into the outdoor season with personal records in all of her events!”

    — Frederic Whiteside ’74
    Coach, women’s cross country,
    track and field

    Morgan Gale

    Majors: Accounting and business administration (marketing and management)
    Minor: Art

    Post-grad plans: Post Graduate Accounting Certificate Program at Augustana, then complete CPA before starting an auditing position at Deloitte CPA in Davenport

    Are you where you thought you'd be four years ago?
    Four years ago, I didn't know what I wanted to do with my life, and I didn't feel as though I knew as much about myself as I do now. Today I can say that I know I'm very proud of what I've accomplished at Augustana, and it is because of Augustana that I've been able to do everything that I wanted.

    A peak experience?
    Becoming part of a Greek organization. I’ve learned so much about myself throughout this process and being able to have such a close group of girls who support me in everything that I do has really changed my experience at Augustana for the better. Being in a Greek group created opportunities for me that I might not have had.

    Who helped you get to where you are now?
    If it weren’t for my parents, I would not be where I am now. They have supported me in everything that I’ve done and the decisions that I’ve made. My brother and sister also have been there to support me, especially with Ethan (my brother) being here at Augustana with me. The friends that I made at Augustana also have made a world of difference in my life, and I wouldn't be the better person that I am if it weren’t for them.

    What would you like to add that we didn’t ask about?
    Throughout my time at Augustana, I have learned to reflect on my life and to appreciate the good and bad things. Every battle that I’ve been given has only made me stronger and helped me grow into the person that I am today.

    Advice for this fall’s incoming Class of 2016? 
    Do everything that you want to do in college and follow your instincts in all decisions that you make. Your time as a college student will be some of the best years of your life.

  • Ashley's activities: Women’s soccer, Heywire, The Redwood Movement, Phi Rho, Farm2Fork, Saga Art and Literary Magazine
    Ashley Higuchi

    “I often speak to recruits about our engaged community at Augustana. Ashley Higuchi personifies that kind of engagement. Her impact on our soccer program cannot be quantified, and she will be sorely missed, but her contributions to the campus community as a whole is really what is impressive. Her leadership with The Redwood Movement is just one example, but a shining one, of how she has inspired others and left her mark on our campus. I am proud to say that Ashley has accomplished things at Augie that many can only dream of.”

    — Scott Mejia
    Women’s Soccer Coach

    Ashley Higuchi

    Major: English
    Minor: Philosophy

    Post-grad plans: Keep exploring

    Are you where you thought you'd be four years ago?
    Not even close…there are so many people and places that I could never have imagined I would be so much a part of.

    What did you learn about yourself in these past four years that surprised you?
    A lot. The most resonating is probably how much I admire and try to maintain balance. I want to balance social life with serious stuff, individual time with group time. Keeping in touch with the ebb and flow of life and going with it, rather than fighting or complaining when work gets heavy or stressful. Life being hard is just as important as life being fun and at ease. You learn so much in both times.

    A peak experience?
    This has got to be it — the eve of so many different projects that feel like a four-year process. Being co-editor-in-chief of the art magazine and sending our final spring edition to the printer in a week, the eve of the premiere of a fund-raising documentary art film that I co-founded and my last term with Phi Rho. Everything is wrapping up, and it feels like the hardest part of the climb, but I can’t wait to look at everything from the top.

    Who helped you get to where you are now?
    All my friends, professors and coaches. It’s hard to pinpoint one person. There are certainly pushers that stand out like Dr. Peters and Coach Mejia. And then there are perspectives from students that I will never forget from people like Hannah MacDonald and Kelly Johnson. But I feel that even the slightest encounters with so many different people have shaped the continually changing person I am right now.

    What would you like to add that we didn’t ask about?
    The Redwood Movement started as an idea and was made into a reality, initially from passion and creativity, but was carried out and executed because of hard work and other people. If anything, Augustana has taught me that when there is a will, there is a way. Just make sure you know why you are doing something, so when the work gets hard, you don’t quit. I love how I learned the importance of defragmenting my life through the liberal arts education.

    Advice for this fall’s incoming class (Class of 2016)?
    If you have the slightest inclination towards something, take a step in that direction and see where you end up. You don’t climb a mountain by jumping to the top.

  • Mike's activities: Cross country, track and field
    Mike Tisza

    “Mike is the captain of track AND cross country, and he is the conference champ in the5,000-meter run (in the toughest conference in the country!). He’s also a pre-med and English double major with a 3.7+ grade point. Need I say more? But I will: He’s principled and has lived his entire college career with purpose and integrity.”

    — Dr. Paul Olsen
    Professor of English
    Coach, men’s cross country and men’s track and field

    Mike Tisza

    Majors: Biology/pre-med and English

    Post-grad plans: Coach college cross country and track and apply for medical schools

    Are you where you thought you'd be four years ago?
    Four years ago, I knew I wanted to come to Augustana, but I didn’t know I would develop my potential in academics, a social life and athletics as much as I have.

    What did you learn about yourself in these past four years that surprised you?
    I love the Quad Cities, and I will have a lot of trouble leaving.

    A peak experience?
    One that immediately comes to mind is the 5000m race at last year’s outdoor track and field conference championship when I pulled off an upset victory in front of the home crowd. It was a major reaffirmation of the way I approach running from both a training standpoint and a philosophical standpoint.

    Who helped you get to where you are now?
    My parents, for one, have been a huge help in encouraging me to pursue my education and providing me the tools and freedom to do so. My coach, Dr. Paul Olsen, has inspired me to know, among other things, that the “impossible” isn’t. My friends have helped me remember that I’m neither as smart or charming as I sometimes think I am.

    Your research interests?
    — Last summer I was a research assistant at Midwest Orthopedics at Rush University Hospital collecting data from total knee and hip replacement patients in order to improve the outcomes of revision surgeries.
    — My English Senior Inquiry was an analysis of the Nigerian author Chinua Achebe and his views on colonial discourse and a comparison of those views to Marxist ideas of subaltern.
    — I’m currently doing research for my Biology Senior Inquiry, which will examine insect-borne parasites and their effects on agriculture and ecology of cattle grazing in Africa. 

  • Jaron's activities: Farm2Fork, Global Affect, Augustana Interfaith Understanding, Augustana Symphony Orchestra
    Jaron Gaier

    “Instability precedes sure-footedness. My sense — though I may be wrong about this — is that Jaron arrived at Augustana on somewhat wobbly knees. This isn’t a criticism. He was “on to something,” a searcher of the Walker Percy sort, when he entered the Honors program. And to be on to something means to be thrown off balance a little. So it has been fun to watch this young searcher come to himself — like Percy’s characters, and like Dante before them. Jaron has achieved, by considerable effort, some real clarity — and, like all of us, he’s become wobbly in new and interesting ways.”

    — Dr. Jason Peters
    Dorothy J. Parkander Chair in Literature

    Jaron Gaier

    Major: English
    Minors: Philosophy, Africana studies

    Post-grad plans: Farming, just outside of the Quad Cities; reading and writing

    Are you where you thought you'd be four years ago?
    No way — I guess I figured that I’d be reading and writing, but not doing stuff outside. Not farming. But I also hoped that I’d be graduating, and it looks like I am. So that’s good.

    What did you learn about yourself in these past four years that surprised you?
    I think I'm more creative in some ways than I thought — in terms of writing and viewing the world — and much less creative than I thought in some ways — in studying, for instance, and sleep patterns. I pretty much still need the eight hours.

    A peak experience?
    While studying abroad in Ghana and Senegal, I had a slew of experiences that were especially momentous. I got to spend some time with great friends and faculty in a place that is amazingly different from here, learning all I could and soaking it all up.

    Who helped you get to where you are now?
    Professors have given me the right books to read, my friends and I have had all the right conversations, and my family has encouraged me to follow what I think is right.

    What would you like to add that we didn’t ask about?
    Although this borders on cliché — the learning hasn’t (and shouldn’t have and won’t) stopped outside the classroom. I’m glad that I got off campus a lot, got to know the Quad Cities pretty well, and did some exploring.

    Advice for this fall's incoming class (Class of 2016)?
    Be curious. Look around. Ask questions. Don't hesitate.

  • Adam's activities: Varsity tennis, Student Athletic Advisory Committee, Athletes Giving Back
    Adam DeSimone

    "Adam has been an invaluable player on the tennis team. He works extremely hard every day and never asks for time off. Through his commitment and positive attitude, he pushes those around him to be better. His teammates also recognize this as he was voted the most valuable player his freshman and sophomore year and voted team captain his junior and senior year."

    — Jon Miedema
    Coach, men’s and women’s tennis

    Adam DeSimone

    Major: Economics and mathematics

    Post-grad plans: Doctoral program for economics at Michigan State University

    Are you where you thought you'd be four years ago?
    I'm in a completely different place than I thought I would be when I arrived at Augie. I initially wanted to study history and go to law school, but ended up doing neither. While I do not doubt that I would have enjoyed studying history and attending law school, I've been more than happy with the direction my studies have taken me.

    A peak experience?
    The connections and friendships that I made were definitely the best parts of college. I especially enjoyed spending time with my teammates and peers. The professors were always available to talk when I needed them. It is those types of interaction that I think I will miss most in the years after I graduate.

    What did you learn about yourself in these past four years
    that surprised you?
    I was surprised mostly by my decision to be a math major. I took a couple of math classes as a freshman and just never stopped. At the end of my sophomore year, I realized that I needed only three more classes for the degree; that was when I officially made the decision to declare as a major.

    Who helped you get to where you are now?
    My teammates, classmates and professors were so important to me over the last four years. For instance, my economics advisor, Dr. Short, helped me with the graduate school application process. My classmates and I pushed each other to succeed in classes.

    What would you like to add?
    The Texas Medical Center Summer Research Internship Program (coordinated by Dr. Storl) was a truly defining academic experience for me. Prior to the biostatistics and medical decision-making research that I did at Houston’s M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, I still did not know whether to pursue law school or an economics graduate program. That experience really took my interest in economics to a new level.

    Advice for this fall's incoming class (Class of 2016)?
    College is what you make of it, especially at a liberal arts institution. If you enter with an open mind and a strong work ethic, you will be amazed at the connections you can make between multiple disciplines, and what you can learn about yourself in four years.

  • Courtney's activities: Chi Alpha Pi and Epsilon Sigma Alpha
    Courtney Grob

    “Courtney’s friendly personality complements her dedication to her education and professional development. From challenging courses to leadership positions, from competitive internships in the U.S. to foreign term in Vietnam, Courtney has pursued experiences that challenge and expand her understanding of the world. It is no surprise that her career is off to a strong start.”

    — Dr. Amanda Baugous
    Associate Professor of Business Administration

    Courtney Grob

    Major: Business administration (finance)

    Post-grad plans: Financial institution specialist at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) regional office in Chicago

    Are you where you thought you'd be four years ago?
    I honestly can say I’ve surpassed my expectations. If you had asked me four years ago if I’d be a productive, employed citizen at the end of college, I probably would have been skeptical. But through my time at Augustana, I’ve grown up and realized my true potential. Bring it on real world!

    A peak experience?
    The highlight for me was studying abroad in Vietnam. It opened my eyes to the rest of the world and made me excited to further my traveling later in life. It was through that experience that I met some of my best friends, and I loved becoming close with the faculty on the trip. They really made the experience special, and I know that I will maintain contact with them after graduation.

    Who helped you get to where you are now?
    Every professor at Augustana has helped me on my journey — whether it is from the advice that they gave or the individual attention that I received from both in-class and office hours. They have been my lifelines throughout college, and I’m going to miss them once May 20 rolls around.

    Advice for this fall's incoming class (Class of 2016)?
    Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. This is your experience — make the best of it. And don’t get caught up in the long-term. Enjoy the day-to-day journey, and don’t take everything so seriously. It will always work out in the end.

  • Jordan's activities: Delta Omega Nu fraternity, Homecoming Committee
    Jordan Thomas

    “In the classroom, in the workplace and in extracurricular activities, Jordan has shown himself to be an effective and respected leader among his peers, as well as a dedicated and diligent student. His strong work ethic and warm demeanor will serve him well in both his professional and personal endeavors.”

    — Dr. Amanda Baugous
    Associate Professor of Business Administration

    Jordan Thomas

    Majors: Business administration (finance and management) and accounting

    Post-grad plans: Seeking an entry-level financial position in the Chicago suburbs

    Are you where you thought you'd be four years ago?
    Not at all. Back in high school, I was pretty shy and had no idea where I wanted to go in life. But in coming to Augie, I have made many strides. I am the president of my fraternity, involved in a variety of campus-wide events, and through the help of the great business and accounting departments, I have learned what I want to do post-graduation. My experience at Augie has allowed me to step out of my comfort zone and to develop into who I am today.

    What did you learn about yourself in these past four years that surprised you?
    I have learned the importance of hard work and determination. You can truly accomplish anything that you put your mind to.

    A peak experience?
    My peak experience would definitely be my study abroad trip to Brazil. It is awesome that Augie provides the opportunity for its students to take advantage of these trips. In going to Brazil, we were immersed in an amazing cultural experience that many people will have difficulty finding elsewhere in their lives. The trip has helped me to step back and enjoy the little things in life.

    Who helped you get to where you are now?
    The key source of my help would definitely be my family. I have always been very close with them, and their support and advice has continually helped me to grow throughout my college experience. In addition, I would say that my fraternity brothers and my amazing professors have all helped tremendously in helping to shape the course of my life.

    Advice for this fall's incoming class (Class of 2016)?
    Take advantage of each opportunity you are presented with. Whether it is clubs, intramurals, networking, etc., it is always best to keep an open mind and give it a shot. These four years are going to be the best of your life, but they unfortunately will be over before you know it. Take time to enjoy every day, and make the best of each experience!