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My Augie Choice

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  • andrea1

    Andrea Mazza '12

    andrea2

    Andrea Mazza '12

    Andrea Mazza ’12

    INTERNSHIP

    Major: Communication sciences and disorders
    Hometown: River Grove, Illinois

    Internship—Lopburi, Thailand, Summer 2011

    Andrea Mazza used her Augie Choice money to travel to a village in Thailand, north of Bangkok, to work at a local elementary school. She taught English to the students, sometimes as many as 700 a week.

    What did you learn from your internship?
    I learned how to be a leader and how to adapt to any situation. For example, when I arrived at the school, I found out that no one spoke English (not even the English teachers). So I had to quickly figure out how to be the lead teacher in a classroom where no one shared a common language.

    Highlight of your internship?
    The highlight of my internship was definitely the kids that I worked with. Most of them were orphaned, but they always showed up to class with a smile on their face and respectfully bowed to me each morning (as is Thai custom for anyone in an authoritative position).

    How did the experience reaffirm or change your plans for the future?
    This experience reaffirmed my desire to work with diverse populations (whether linguistically, socioeconomically, physically, mentally, etc.) It also taught me that community, at its heart, is the same no matter where you go in the world.

    Who was important to your internship experience?
    My host family was probably the most important to me. They helped me bridge the language gap, learn the cultural norms and see a whole other side of this beautiful country that I would have never seen otherwise.  

    How did you use the $2,000?
    I used the $2,000 for room and board as well as airfare. Without this money, I definitely wouldn't have been able to afford this trip. And even if I did somehow come up with the money, I would have never been able to rationalize spending it on myself like this.

    How has this experience helped you after leaving Augustana?
    This experience has helped me tremendously. Thanks to this experience, in every job interview that I've had, I have been able to give concrete examples of my leadership skills and out-of-the-box thinking.

    What are your post-graduate plans?
    Believe it or not, I actually found a job in my field of communication sciences and disorders (without a master’s degree)! And it's salary pay with benefits!

     

  • Jamila

    Jamila Washington '12

    Jamila Washington  ’12

    STUDY ABROAD

    Major: Communication studies
    Hometown: Chicago, Illinois 

    Study Abroad—Vietnam Term, Winter 2011-12

    With her Augie Choice money, Jamila Washington joined fellow students and Augustana professors to study in Vietnam. She describes it as the best experience of her life. Being able to travel in a country that is vastly different and experience the life and culture of the people is something she will never forget.

    What did you learn from your experience?
    Even though cultures can vary in their traditions and customs, almost everyone has the same values of love, life and family.

    Highlight of your trip?
    Spending the night in the Mekong Delta. This allowed us to taste traditional foods while sleeping in the same traditional homes as the people in the Delta region. The food was amazing, some of the best I have ever had in my life, and the music made the environment something that stays in my mind.

    What did you learn about yourself?
    I learned that I want to do more with my life after graduation than just having an office job. After a few years of work experience, I want to travel abroad, finding jobs that help people in different countries and making myself more culturally well rounded.

    What most surprised you about the experience?
    I was most surprised about how westernized the country is. So many iPhones and Western name brand clothes mixed in with Vietnamese clothing kept me from becoming homesick.

    How did you use your $2,000?
    I used the money to pay for the additional costs of the trip. I would not have been able to go without the money so I was grateful for the assistance.

    How has this experience helped you after leaving Augustana?
    This experience has helped me to communicate with people of different backgrounds and personalities. It has made it easier to communicate with different people and to meet new people.

    What are your plans after Augustana?
    I will be teaching early childhood education in Chicago through the Teach for America program.

     

  • Joseph

    Joseph Santucci '12

    Joseph Santucci  ’12

    RESEARCH

    Major: Physics
    Hometown: Bartlett, Illinois

    Research—Quantum Hall Effect for Physics, Summer 2011 (Augustana College)

    Joseph Santucci, or Joe as most people know him, conducted a research study at Augustana College for his Augie Choice experience. He learned more about quantum mechanics than what had been covered in his classes. In addition, he was able to explore the Quantum Hall Effect and learn about the specific behaviors of that phenomenon.

    Describe your Augie Choice experience.
    My Augie Choice experience was great, beginning with the work involved at the start of the experience. My professor asked me to create a proposal that had much more content than what was required, which helped me gain experience in every part of research. Throughout the whole experience, I worked on a topic that I was interested in and developed skills that aren’t necessarily found in the classroom, such as using different reference resources and giving scientific presentations.

    What did you learn from your experience?
    Besides the information about the Quantum Hall Effect, I was able to develop research techniques. Specifically, after the summer I was much more efficient at looking up information through different sources and determining what sources were worth the additional time to look into. I would consider that the most valuable thing that I learned.

    Highlight of your research experience?
    The highlight was getting to look really closely at a topic I didn’t know much about. I was able to come to my own understanding on how the Quantum Hall Effect worked and how it related to information I learned in past classes.

    How will this experience help you after you leave Augustana?
    This experience has provided me with the tools to be able to approach any problem and find a solution. The general information/skills that I took away from this experience can be applied to every discipline, and I think I will continue to use those skills and improve them with my future endeavors.

    How did you use the $2,000?
    I used it to pay my living expenses to stay in the Quad-Cities during the summer.

    What are your post-graduate plans?
    I have obtained a job as a web/applications developer in Sarasota, Florida, and I am attending the University of South Florida to obtain a master’s in business administration.

     

  • Ryan

    Ryan Lulofs '13

    Ryan Lulofs ’13

    STUDY ABROAD

    Majors: English, creative writing
    Hometown: Antioch, Illinois

    Study Abroad—Summer Spanish in the Andes, Summer 2011

    Through Augie Choice, Ryan Lulofs studied abroad for 10 weeks in the Andes region of South America. He spent the majority of his time taking Spanish classes in Cuenca, Ecuador, and the rest was spent traveling throughout Ecuador, including Quito and the Amazon region, and also Peru, where he visited the ruins of Machu Picchu.

    What did you learn from your experience?
    By living with the natives of South America and engaging with the people on a daily basis, I experienced the customs and traditions of a group of people that I otherwise never would have gotten to know. For instance, I learned that in Ecuador and Peru, many of the natives still practice Incan traditions, such as the religious rituals, and at markets, traditional Incan clothing and jewelry are sold. Above all, I learned that my American customs are not the only way of doing things.

    Highlight of your trip?
    Apart from seeing some incredible sights, including the Andes Mountains and several Incan ruins, the highlight of my trip was staying with a host family. My host family welcomed me in as their own, and by spending more than two months with them, I was able to get a snapshot of daily life in Cuenca, practice my Spanish every day with native speakers, and forge some incredible bonds that I know I won’t forget.

    What did you learn about yourself?
    My grandmother is from Peru, but before this experience I did not know much about my Peruvian heritage. What I gained from this trip was the chance to finally learn more about my past and to see where my family came from.

    What most surprised you about the experience?
    I was most surprised to see the impact that the United States has already left on the people of South America. Most of the TV shows my host family watched were American, and in Peru, a large number of people spoke English. It definitely made me think about my role as an American in the world and what I can do to be more inclusive of other cultures.

    How did you use your $2,000?
    My Augie Choice money went to several different expenses, including airfare and tuition for my classes in Cuenca. Without the $2,000, my trip would not have been impossible, but it would have been much more difficult for my family.

    How will this experience help you after you leave Augustana?
    I will be leaving Augustana with a much greater appreciation of diversity, as well as the ability to speak Spanish much more fluently. I now know how important it is to see other parts of the world, which I hope to be able to do after I graduate.

     

  • Taylor

    Taylor Tjardes '13

    Taylor Tjardes ’13

    INTERNSHIP

    Majors: Business administration-marketing, communication studies
    Hometown: Gibson City, Illinois

    Internship—Quad Ciy Mallards, Winter Term 2011-12

    Augie Choice funding allowed Taylor Tjardes to accept an unpaid internship as a community relations intern with a semi-professional hockey team. Her main duty was to coordinate community outreach events such as the scholastic incentive programs Blades for Grades and Hat Trick for Reading.

    What did you learn from your internship?
    I learned a lot, but learning and applying different types of marketing strategies has been the most helpful to me in the working world. It is one thing to learn about them in a marketing class, but it’s another to actually put them into action.

    Highlight of your internship?
    Game days were my favorite part of the internship.

    How did the experience reaffirm or change your plans for the future?
    Throughout my internship I realized that I would like to continue working in the professional sports field, but I would like to be more involved with the marketing and event planning side. The internship helped me decide which direction I would like to pursue after graduation.

    How did you use the $2,000?
    Since the internship was unpaid, I used my Augie Choice money as compensation and to purchase work clothes.

    How will this experience help you after you leave Augustana?
    My internship with the Mallards was a great résumé builder and provided me with a portfolio that has already helped me get a job with Newhouse Health Solutions as a marketing assistant.

     

  • Ryan

    Ryan Davi '13

    Ryan Davi ’13

    STUDY ABROAD

    Majors: Psychology
    Hometown: Willowbrook, Illinois

    Study Abroad—Rome, Spring 2011

    Ryan Davi chose to use his Augie Choice funding to study in Rome. He learned about ancient Roman history and got a firsthand look at some of the tasks for which the Vatican is responsible.

    Describe your Augie Choice experience.
    It was essentially my first time leaving the U.S., and the trip was immensely enjoyable from start to finish.

    Highlight of your trip?
    Selecting a highlight of the trip is difficult because each place we visited and each experience we had was exciting and interesting, to the point where I couldn't really select a favorite.

    What did you learn about yourself?
    Before this trip I was not as interested in traveling abroad, but I learned that I am interested in seeing other parts of the world, and this will likely influence some of my future plans.

    What most surprised you about the experience?
    Seeing the small similarities between different cultures was probably the most surprising part.

    How did you use your $2,000?
    I used my Augie Choice money to help cover the cost of the program fee.

    How will this experience help you after you leave Augustana?
    This experience has shown me that I enjoy seeing and experiencing other cultures and places, particularly those intertwined with my own heritage (as Italy was). Without Augie Choice, I may not have had this experience and been able to enjoy its rewards.

     

  • Alicia1

    Alicia Oken '13

    Alicia2

    Alicia Oken '13 and U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr.

    Alicia Oken ’13

    INTERNSHIP

    Majors: political science, communication studies, multimedia
    journalism and mass communication
    Hometown: Naperville, Illinois

    Internship—Capitol Hill for Congressman Alcee L. Hastings from Florida, Summer 2011

    With her Augie Choice money, Alicia Oken went to Washington, D.C., to intern for Congressman Alcee L. Hastings from Florida. During that time, she observed how Congress works and met many politicians and lawmakers.

    What did you learn from your internship?
    I learned that more people care about politics than I originally thought. During the 2011 debt ceiling crisis, the phone lines shut down because too many constituents called after a Presidential address. It was nice seeing that people actually take action when they feel passionate about an issue.

    Highlight of your internship?
    The House of Representatives has speakers who talk to summer interns. I was able to see Former Secretary of State Colin Powell, Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan, Attorney General Eric Holder and many others. Another highlight was when I got to sit down with Congressman Alcee L. Hastings and discuss the debt ceiling crisis.

    How did the experience reaffirm or change your plans for the future?
    Although I didn’t have an epiphany about what I want to do after college, my experience confirmed that I want to live in Washington, D.C., after I graduate. The city is so vibrant; there is so much going on every single day.

    Who was important to your internship experience and why?
    Prior to my internship, there were a lot of people at Augustana who helped me out. The CEC helped me find more means to finance my internship, and my advisors helped me figure out credit logistics.

    How did you use your Augie Choice money?
    I used the $2,000 to help cover the cost of housing at American University. The money definitely eased the financial strain of living in D.C.

    How will this experience help you after you leave Augustana?
    This experience has given me many life skills that not only helped me gain an internship at WGN Radio this past summer, but will also help me when I apply for jobs after Augustana.

     

  • Kimberly

    Kimberly Coakley '12

    Kimberly Coakley ’12

    STUDY ABROAD

    Majors: Psychology
    Hometown: Springfield, Illinois

    Study Abroad—East Asian Term, Fall 2011

    Augie Choice money helped Kimberly Coakley finance a trip where she learned about East Asian culture and about herself.

    Describe your Augie Choice experience.
    Amazing! The Augie Choice money allowed me to visit so many new places and experience so many new things I would have never been able to do otherwise.

    What did you learn from your study abroad experience?
    Overall I learned about the East Asian culture and how there are differences in cultures not only between the United States and East Asia but also within the different regions of East Asia. One more specific thing that I thought was great was to learn more about World War II and the attacks on Hiroshima and Pearl Harbor and to get different viewpoints on both events. The trip was also a great time to learn about myself.

    Highlight of your trip?
    There were so many great experiences it’s hard to choose one highlight. The Yehliu Geopark in Taipei, Taiwan, was amazing! I also loved seeing and walking along the Great Wall. One last favorite thing of mine was feeding various animals, including deer and monkeys.

    What did you learn about yourself?
    Some of the things I learned are indescribable, and some were realizations. I am not much for stepping out of my comfort zone, but I realized that with support from friends I can go and experience new things. Studying abroad gave me a chance to work on talking to new people and gaining confidence.

    What most surprised you about the experience?
    When we went to a baseball game, I was very surprised at how different the atmosphere was because they do not boo and try to distract the opposing team. Fans cheer when their team is up and then when the next team is up, the other fans cheer. It was quite different from sporting events in the United States.

    How did you use the $2,000?
    I used the $2000 to help pay for preparations for the trip, like immunizations.

    How has this experience helped you after leaving Augustana?
    Studying abroad makes people more aware of different cultures and circumstances, and I believe that being aware of those differences is very important in today's society.

     

  • Michael

    Michael Maloney '12

    Michael Maloney ’12

    RESEARCH

    Major: Biology
    Hometown: Belvidere, Illinois

    Research—Molecular genetics research project, Summer 2011-May 2012

    Augie Choice provided Michael Maloney with valuable funding for a yearlong molecular genetics research project that he completed on campus with Dr. Lori Scott. This research was part of the Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute’s Interpret a Genome Project. Maloney says the experience allowed him to build on the concepts he learned in the classroom and apply them in a laboratory setting.

    What did you study?
    Dr. Scott and I worked with the bacterium Meiothermus ruber. We examined the metabolic pathway that this microorganism uses to synthesize arginine from glutamate. Bioinformatics predicted that M. ruber uses a nontraditional, shorter pathway to produce arginine, despite possessing the traditional pathway genes. Our goal was to isolate these genes and determine their functionality.

    What were the findings of your research?
    We found evidence that M. ruber does in fact use the predicted shorter pathway. Our results suggest that the genes predicted to be active in the shorter pathway are functioning and that the traditional pathway genes are not active in arginine synthesis.

    What did you learn from your experience?
    In addition to increasing my proficiency in the lab, my work helped to improve my critical thinking skills, and gave me the opportunity to examine and explain something in the natural world. This was a valuable experience that I can build upon in the future as I continue to study the sciences.

    Highlight of your research experience?
    The highlight of my experience was being able to see all of our hard work and data come together to produce tangible results. This experience helped solidify the concepts I learned in the classroom and showed me their real-world applicability.

    How did you use the $2,000?
    Given the high cost of research, my Augie Choice funding was instrumental in helping to provide needed materials for our work. It also helped offset my costs of living near campus during the summer. Without this funding, it would have been very difficult to conduct the depth of research that we completed.

    Since you are a current graduate, what are your post-graduate plans?
    I will be attending medical school at Midwestern University in Downers Grove, Illinois. In addition to my studies, I hope to be involved in research, and I am confident that my studies at Augustana and my research in Dr. Scott’s lab have prepared me well for my future.

     

  • Nathan

    Nathan Smith '13


    Nathan Smith ’13

    INTERNSHIP

    Majors: biochemistry, pre-medicine, chemistry
    Hometown: Bensenville, Illinois

    Internship—Midwest Orthopedics at Rush University Medical Center, June-August 2011

    With his Augie Choice money, Nathan Smith worked with orthopedic surgeon Dr. Brett Levine, helping him start a retrospective study on knee and hip aspirations and knee and hip replacement revisions. He collected data from medical records and prepared the Institutional Review Board (IRB) research proposal, in addition to shadowing Dr. Levine in the OR.

    What did you learn from your internship?
    I was introduced to the field of clinical research and learned a great deal about knee and hip replacements and orthopedic surgery in general. 

    Highlight of your internship?
    Shadowing Dr. Levine in the OR.

    How did the experience reaffirm or change your plans for the future?
    The experience reaffirmed my interest in medicine and my desire to pursue it.

    Who was important to your internship experience and why?
    Dr. Levine provided me with the opportunity to work with him and observe his work. Also, a fellow Augie student and teammate, Michael Tisza, was important as he worked alongside me.

    How did you use your Augie Choice money?
    I used the $2,000 mainly for commuting expenses and a stipend.

    How will this experience help you after you leave Augustana?
    I now have a medical research experience to add to my medical school applications.

     

  • Johnson

    From the left, Michelle Hanson '13, Stephanie Kendzior '13, Amanda Johnson '13 and Kate Cannova '13.

    Amanda Johnson ’13

    RESEARCH

    Major: Elementary education
    Hometown: Elmhurst, Illinois

    Research—Augustana/Longfellow School Number Sense Project, Winter Term 2011-12

    Amanda Johnson’s Augie Choice experience allowed her to develop as a teacher and learn about her love for teaching. The focus of her study was to understand how kindergarten students develop their number sense so that math is easier for them in the future. Another aspect of the number sense program was working closely with Dr. Randy Hengst in developing iPad apps to help young students gain a stronger number sense.

    What were the findings of your research?
    Many researchers have determined that there is a typical developmental progression that kindergarten students follow as they develop their number sense. The research proved that not all students follow the general developmental progression, but that does not mean they don't understand math and number sense at the same level as other students.

    What did you learn from your experience?
    From working with the kindergarteners I learned important values about teaching and ideas I can use in the future when I have my own classroom. The experience also helped me develop my own style of teaching because I was planning the activities.

    Highlight of your research experience?
    The highlight was seeing how much the students progressed…specifically the students who really struggled with number sense at the beginning of the year. It was so inspiring to see how far they had come by the end of the year and to see their faces light up when they understood a difficult concept.

    How will this experience help you after you leave Augustana?
    This experience has given me a lot of confidence in my teaching ability. I will be able to use that confidence as I gain a classroom of my own. I also hope this experience will help to set up programs like the number sense program in the school where I teach.

    How did you use the $2,000?
    Some classroom activities required me to purchase materials, and the Augie Choice money helped me purchase those materials. I am also attending a conference in Chicago, and my Augie Choice money will help me to offset the expenses of the trip. Without the $2,000, it would have been harder for me to conduct my research.

     

  • Kevin

    Kevin Cooper '12

    Kevin Cooper ’12

    MEDICAL SERVICE ABROAD

    Major: Pre-medicine
    Hometown: Lombard, Illinois

    Medical Service Abroad—Nicaragua, Spring break 2011

    Kevin Cooper used his Augie Choice money to travel to Nicaragua to help provide basic medical care to those who cannot afford to see a doctor.

    Describe your Augie Choice experience.
    In addition to providing basic medical care, I was also able to spend some time learning about public health. On days when we did not have a clinic, we went on tours to learn about Nicaraguan culture.

    What did you learn from your experience?
    I learned to recognize basic illnesses in the area and how to treat them. I also learned about Nicaraguan culture and how it differs from ours.

    Highlight of your trip?
    My favorite part was spending time in the capital, Managua.

    What did you learn about yourself?
    I learned about what my interests were and ruled out certain aspects of medicine that I did not know I disliked before the trip.

    What most surprised you about the experience?
    I was surprised to find that many people live with almost no technology...not even running water.

    How did you use the $2,000?
    I used the Augie Choice money to pay for some trip expenses and the plane ticket.

    How has this experience helped you after leaving Augustana?
    It helped broaden my understanding about how life is in a different area of the world, and I began to appreciate their way of life.

    What are your post-graduate plans?
    I am currently getting my master’s degree in biomedical science at Midwestern University, then afterwards hopefully enrolling in their medical program.