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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. More student profiles will be added each week in spring 2013. (Browse profiles by major)

  • Renae's activities: Clogustana, Biology Club, TriBeta, Mortar Board, Omicron Delta Kappa (leadership honor society)

    (See Renae's page link)

    Renae Reynolds

    "Renae has the academic ability to pursue any of several careers in biology, medicine or biomedical research, but she has been focused (pardon the pun!) on optometry since long before I met her. During summer 2011, Renae worked as an optical assistant for an optometrist to determine her aptitude for the profession. I feel that experience helped Renae understand the many hats a private practitioner must wear, including community service and outreach efforts that can make eye care accessible and affordable for everyone. Renae is a compassionate person and by undertaking leadership roles in various groups during the past few years, she has steadily developed the confidence all health care providers need."

    — Dr. Dara Wegman-Geedey
    Professor, Biology

    Renae Reynolds

    Majors: Biology, pre-optometry
    Minor: Sociology

    Post-grad plans: I will begin classes at the Illinois College of Optometry in August.

    Why did you choose to attend Augustana?
    As soon as I stepped foot on the campus, I had a gut feeling that I was going to choose Augustana as my undergraduate program. Then, as I learned that the college had great biology and pre-optometry programs, I knew that I was going to choose this school.

    Are you where you thought you’d be four years ago?
    Academically, I have met all the goals I set for myself when I entered Augie. I’ve managed to earn a biology degree, and I’ve been accepted into grad school. Socially, I was able to make friends that I know will be with me for the rest of my life. I didn’t necessarily expect that when I enrolled in college, but I’m glad it happened.

    Who helped you get to where you are now?
    My parents helped me immensely. They always provided an encouraging word if I was feeling stressed, and they were always there to celebrate when something good happened.

    A peak experience?
    I am studying abroad in Ireland right now, and I would say that it’s probably the best experience I’ve had while enrolled at Augustana. I’ve made so many new friends, and I will miss them so much when I graduate. Additionally, I love traveling and learning about new places, so combining the two into something I get credit for is amazing!

    How did you use your Augie Choice?
    The money from my Augie Choice went towards my study abroad term in Ireland.

    What did you learn about yourself in these past four years that surprised you?
    I learned that I actually like to lead things if I have the opportunity to do so. Through high school, I never wanted to be in charge of anything. However, I took executive positions in clubs on campus, and I’ve had leadership roles during group projects in class. It’s extremely satisfying when one of my groups is successful, and I’m glad that I’ve developed leadership skills.

    What will you miss the most?
    I’ll miss the warm, sunny days that happen at the beginning and at the end of the year. Those days, I would eat and study outside with whatever friends were available. We didn't always get a lot done, but spending time outside was always wonderful.

    Advice for the Class of 2017?
    Don’t be afraid to go to your professors for help if you need it. They’re not scary, and they genuinely care about their students. My time at Augie would have been a lot more stressful if I hadn’t taken advantage of office hours!

  • Ellen's activities: Phi Rho sorority, Student Government Association, President’s Student Advisory Council

    (See Ellen's page link)

    Patricia (Ellen) Lose

    "Ellen shows a passion for Augustana that I’ve seen in few students. Her love for Augustana is one the things I most admire about her. She has coupled this passion for her school with a deep dedication to her studies. As a culmination of her double major in sociology and political science, Ellen wrote a superb Senior Inquiry paper on domestic violence in Brazil, research for which she conducted in Brasília during the summer of her junior year."

    — Dr. Mariano Magalhães
    Professor, Political Science

    Patricia (Ellen) Lose

    Majors: Political science, sociology

    Post-grad plans: Enjoy grad life and be open to wherever it might lead.

    Why did you choose to attend Augustana?
    I was so impressed by the number of faculty that attended and engaged with prospective students during the summer scholarship reception. I later sent President Bahls and Kent Barnds an email thanking them for such a great visit. My email was forwarded to the faculty and staff, and I received responses from the professors I had spoken with on that day. It was then that I knew that the quality and character of Augustana was deep and unparalleled.

    Are you where you thought you’d be four years ago?
    I am worlds beyond where I thought I would be four years ago. I have traveled abroad, conducted undergraduate research, made long-lasting relationships with faculty and administrators, found friendships that will continue to blossom, and I have learned more about myself than I ever imagined I could.

    Who helped you get to where you are now?
    The Phi Rho sorority is a group of truly exceptional women who have helped me to grow and love deeply. Dr. Mariano Magalhães and Dr. Paul Croll have been most helpful and influential advisors to whom I owe much of my academic success. My parents, siblings and extended family have been the greatest support system that I could have ever asked for.

    A peak experience?
    Conducting research on domestic violence in Brazil in the summer of 2012 was the peak of my off-campus Augustana experience. The trip was challenging and rewarding in so many ways. On campus, my happiest experiences have been related to the leadership positions that I’ve held and grown from.

    How did you use your Augie Choice?
    I used my Augie Choice funds for Brazil Term, winter 2012.

    What did you learn about yourself in these past four years that surprised you?
    I have learned to understand difference in a way that I never could before. The people who I have been exposed to through Augustana come from different backgrounds that I enjoy learning from. I’ve also learned that not every person is as open to difference and that you must meet each individual from wherever they are currently situated. Stand up for what you believe in, even in the most difficult of times, but never forget to respect those who are different from you.

    What will you miss the most?
    I will miss being surrounded by the uniquely Augustana way of life and, most importantly, the people that comprise this amazing institution.

    Advice for the Class of 2017?
    1. Study abroad — It is an experience that will push you outside of your comfort zone and teach you more than nearly anything on-campus could. It is life-changing and crucial to do during this time.

    2. Get involved — This means with things that immediately sound intriguing as well as with things that you’re not so sure about yet. You will get out what you put in, and getting involved on campus will create a lasting impact on your college experience. Again, challenge yourself!

    3. Trust and work with Augustana's administration — Find a way to get involved up on the Hill. Our administrators are focused solely on the best interest of our students and I, unlike many of my disgruntled peers, have learned this by having spent time with people like President Bahls and our deans. I have been able to shed truthful light on numerous rumor-based situations regarding our administration because I simply walked into an office, set up a meeting or asked a question via email.

  • Heather's activities: Circle K International, Collegia Classica (Classics club), Beta Beta Beta Biological Honor Society, Eta Sigma Phi (honor society for Classics), Phi Beta Kappa

    (See Heather's page link)

    Heather Ohde

    "Heather is proof that a student’s interests often lie outside of their majors. Look at her majors and then note that she is the lead event planner for a professional international conference. Working with a team in the EDGE Center, Heather has proven her exceptional skills in communication, logistics, planning and management. This conference brings about 400 attendees from 35 countries together annually to share information on family therapy... and for the past two years, her team has scored top reviews by the attendees."

    — Doug Tschopp
    Director, Entrepreneurial (EDGE) Center Instructor, Speech Communication

    Heather Ohde

    Majors: Classical studies (Latin emphasis), biology
    Minor: Environmental studies

    Post-grad plans: I will be working as a naturalist at Trees for Tomorrow in Eagle River, Wis., as well as continuing to work with Augie students planning the annual  sessions of the International Family Therapy Association World Congress.

    Why did you choose to attend Augustana?
    I came to Augie because they gave me the best financial aid package.

    Are you where you thought you’d be four years ago?
    Not really. I came to Augie with the original plans of becoming a medical examiner. Now I’m doing event planning and environmental education — which is what I always wanted to do, but just hadn’t explored if there were actual opportunities.

    Who helped you get to where you are now?
    Honestly, there isn’t really just one person who got me where I am today. I was lucky enough to get to know Doug Tschopp through my sporadic decision to go to a meeting about an event planning internship that has given me two amazing years of event planning experience. There are also the wonderful Honors professors of my year, Classics professors, my biology advisor Dr. Kevin Geedey, the environmental studies heads as well as my time working with Mrs. Taylor at a local elementary school environmental club and all the folks out at Nahant Marsh during my environmental education internship. As well as my crazy roommate, Carla, who put up with my insanity and helped edit my terrible grammar for four years. Everyone around me just did a little something that got me where I am now.  And I’m forever grateful for all of them.

    A peak experience?
    It’s so hard to pick one experience but running the 20th International Family Therapy Association World Congress in Vancouver, Canada, my junior year was probably the peak experience. Vancouver is a beautiful city, and the months of hard work and planning we had put into the conference finally came down to the big event. We were told by many of the attendees that we had helped run one of the best — if not the best — conference they had been to.

    How did you use your Augie Choice?
    I used my Augie Choice during my unpaid internship at Nahant Marsh to help cover my living expenses so I could pay rent as well as make my deposits to on Ireland Term, spring 2013.

    What did you learn about yourself in these past four years that surprised you?
    I learned that I had taken growing up in the country completely for granted as well as all the beauty around me — with the forests and streams running through our backyard. It’s one of those things that you don’t realize until you aren’t surrounded by it and assume everyone holds as dear as you do. After I realized that many other people hadn’t had the experience to get down and dirty with nature, I knew that I not only wanted to, but had to go into environmental education to share my passion.

    What will you miss the most?
    I’ll miss the professors and Web Guild folks the most. They were responsible for some of the most stressful, but also most rewarding and productive moments of my undergraduate career. Without them, I never would have helped plan two international conferences, written some of the most intense research papers or learned how to play whiteboard darts.

    Advice for the Class of 2017?
    Do what your heart says and don’t treat college like some place to gain a degree. Don’t pick a career just because of the money. Pick a job where you want to go in every day and you feel like you belong. And make sure to start building a résumé right away! The folks in the CEC will be more than happy to help, and it makes everything a lot easier down the road. Oh, and make sure to take at least one Classics course in college. Classics really do give you a foundation for everything in life.

  • Annie's activities: Phi Rho sorority

    (See Annie's page link)

    Annie Nordin

    "I supervised Annie’s student teaching experience, so I got to see her in action, using her intelligence, creativity and liberal arts education to create engaging learning opportunities for her high school students. Annie has myriad talents and could have chosen to pursue many other passions, but she decided to become an English teacher and positively impact the world through teaching. She will represent Augustana’s education department, and the teaching profession, well."

    — Katie Hanson
    Assistant Professor, Education

    Annie Nordin

    Majors: Secondary education, English
    Minor: Spanish

    Post-grad plans: Searching for a position in a middle school or high school English department

    Why did you choose to attend Augustana?
    Augustana had the right answers to all of my college questions. More than anything though, it was the good vibes that Augie just exudes. From my first time on campus, I knew this was the place for me. 

    Are you where you thought you’d be four years ago?
    Yes and no. I thought I’d be graduating and celebrating a successful four years, for certain. However, four years ago, I did not realize how much Augie would mean to me. I have made some of the greatest friends and memories I could ever ask for, and I never expected how bittersweet it would be to leave them all.

    Who helped you get to where you are now?
    I would not be where I am today without the education department. They have prepared me fully for my future career, providing me and my classmates with unending advice, encouragement and ideas. They modeled for us all what it means to be great teachers, and their support for one another taught us the importance of collaboration. I will forever be grateful for what they have given me, and I’m sure I will turn to them for years to come. 

    A peak experience?
    Augustana has been quite an adventure, but one of my peak moments was my student teaching experience. I was challenged on a daily basis, but in spite of that, I was never more certain of what I wanted to do with my life. 

    How did you use your Augie Choice?
    I used my Augie Choice money to study abroad in Salamanca, Spain. It was an incredible adventure, and I am very thankful that Augie Choice helped make it happen!

    What did you learn about yourself in these past four years that surprised you?
    It’s not so much what I learned, but what I gained. My Augie experience has given me a confidence that I didn’t always have. Maybe it comes with growing up, but I’ve done so many things that I wouldn’t have been comfortable doing four years ago.

    What will you miss the most?
    It’s hard to imagine my life without seeing all the people I love on a daily basis! I’ll miss my friends the most. We have all called each other ‘home’ for the last four years, so leaving them all will be incredibly difficult.

    Advice for the Class of 2017?
    A successful college experience is a balanced one. Work hard in school, get involved outside the classroom, and never miss out on a chance to spend time with your friends. These four years will fly by, and finding the right balance will make them as rich as possible. If you're lucky, you'll be crying like a baby at graduation like I am sure to be, but completely prepared for the next chapter of your life.

  • Rabia's activities: Alpha Phi Omega service fraternity, Beta Beta Beta Biological Honor Society, Circle K International, Mortar Board, Omicron Delta Kappa, South Asian Student Association

    (See Rabia's page link)

    Rabia Jawed

    "I learned to know Rabia when as a sophomore she participated in the Rome program that I direct. A year ago, she took the medical ethics class that I teach. The paper that she wrote on accountable care organizations was absolutely first-rate, as was her performance on exams and participation in class discussion. Rabia exemplifies the value of a liberal arts education for those anticipating careers in health care. Her breadth of perspective, compassion and genuine concern about the well-being of others will be real assets throughout her career."

    — Dr. Dan Lee
    Marian Taft Cannon Professor
    in the Humanities
    Professor, Religion/Ethics

    Rabia Jawed

    Majors: Biology, pre-medicine, neuroscience

    Post-grad plans: Attend Midwestern University in Downers Grove, Ill., to pursue a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.)

    Why did you choose to attend Augustana?
    After attending a large high school, the small size of Augustana combined with the strong biology department and beautiful campus made it an easy decision.

    Are you where you thought you’d be four years ago?
    Yes, for the most part. I’ve always known I wanted to be a physician, but I never could have imagined how much my experiences though Augustana have changed me, both as a student and as a person.

    Who helped you get to where you are now?
    My parents. They have always been the most supportive of all my dreams and ambitions, and encouraged me to always put my best foot forward. The faculty has also helped me learn more than I thought possible — especially Dr. Gehler, Dr. Lee and Dr. Storl — who entertained all of my questions outside of the syllabus and prompted me to really think about my views. 

    A peak experience?
    Traveling to Rome in 2011 and participating in the Texas Medical Center Internship Program were life-changing experiences. In Rome, I was able to see the history I studied in the classroom come to life, all while experiencing a different culture. Because of Rome, I have a greater appreciation for history, Catholicism and the Italian culture. In Texas, I learned what it meant to be a practicing physician and conduct research. Because of Texas, I became a better researcher, a better thinker, and I am sure the skills I learned will help me become a better physician. 

    How did you use your Augie Choice?
    I used Augie Choice to participate in the Texas Medical Center Internship Program in Houston.

    What did you learn about yourself in these past four years that surprised you?
    I have learned that I can accomplish and learn more than I ever thought possible, as long as I set my mind to it.

    What will you miss the most?
    I will definitely miss my interactions with the faculty, and my friends.

    Advice for Class of 2017?
    Don't be afraid to join clubs outside of your discipline, explore your options and don’t limit yourself socially.

  • Ben's activities: Web Guild, Debate, Philosophy Club

    (See Ben's page link)

    Ben Fischer

    "A man of many diverse interests, I met Ben his freshman year as he joined both ADs and the Web Guild. He worked on marketing projects early on, but his primary responsibility became the creation of custom software that we needed to run an international conference. Working much on his own, he drove this critical project for the EDGE Center. The foundation he laid with this project created additional opportunities for students from many disciplines. As a primary leader for Web Guild, Ben will be missed as he leaves Augie."

    — Doug Tschopp
    Director, Entrepreneurial (EDGE) Center
    Instructor, Speech Communication

    Ben Fischer

    Majors: Computer science, philosophy

    Post-grad plans: I am applying to medical schools this spring!

    Why did you choose to attend Augustana?
    I found Augustana while researching which schools had won the most debate national championships. After I visited the campus and met some of the students here, Augie felt like a great fit for me. 

    Are you where you thought you’d be four years ago?
    Absolutely not. Augustana creates opportunities for its students to step outside their comfort zone and try exciting new things. If you choose to take those chances, you’re not going to end up where you originally planned.  

    Who helped you get to where you are now?
    First, my debate coach, Max Archer, because he sagaciously pushed me to make friendships a core priority in my debate experience, and friendships are the most valuable thing I’m taking with me after graduation. Second, Doug Tschopp because he’s created insanely cool opportunities for me to grow professionally, and, big opportunities aside, he always brings a laugh or amusing story to the office which constantly helps me enjoy work/not stress. 

    How did you use your Augie Choice?
    I did an internship with John Deere, which was very cool for its own reasons, but I wouldn’t hold it up as a paradigm of how to use Augie Choice. If you can find the time to go abroad, I’d tell you to do that.

    What did you learn about yourself in these past four years that surprised you?
    I’m a bit of a Les Misérables devotee. I’m constantly having identity crises, constantly wondering who I am and what I value. But my bit of luck is that in college I learned to stop being terrified of those fluctuations. I met other existential people and let out a sigh of relief like, ‘Oh phew, if I’m weird, it’s not because I can’t figure out what I’m doing with my life.’

    What will you miss the most?
    Family dinners. We have a tradition where one person in the house has to prepare a nice meal for everyone else in the house. Occasionally, it’s civilized, but usually it’s more like an authentic Greek family dinner. It starts with a prayer and immediately devolves into chaos. There’s a lot of bickering and jostling and interruptions, but at a completely unspoken level it’s grounded in love. It takes a while to develop relationships like that, so it’ll be hard to start over in a new city after graduation.

    Advice for the Class of 2017?
    There’s only one way to mess up your college experience — a bad attitude. Make mistakes, let problems roll off your back and go out of your way to get to know people. Augustana tends to be very inclusive, but that isn’t magic, it’s more like a ripple effect. If one person sets a positive tone, it spreads outwards — so be that one person.

  • Lauren's activities: Vikettes, Alpha Phi Omega service fraternity, Mortar Board, Augustana Observer, Phi Beta Kappa

    (See Lauren's page link)

    Lauren Gebhardt

    "Lauren exemplifies how the liberal arts prepare students for careers in the new information economy. Her communication studies and English majors gave her a thorough background in rhetorical analysis, complemented by media studies and public relations. Her excellent Senior Inquiry research, examining the construction of Coca-Cola’s brand identity on Facebook, not only contributes to what we know about social media but also makes a strong case for the applicability of traditional rhetoric in cutting-edge 21st-century PR."

    — Dr. Steve Klien
    Associate Professor, Communication Studies

    Lauren Gebhardt

    Majors: Communication studies, English
    Minor: Art 

    Post-grad plans: Pursue a career in public relations and event planning

    Why did you choose to attend Augustana?
    The people and sense of community on campus convinced me that this was the right place. Every person I talked to at Augie was so friendly, welcoming and helpful that I knew I would be happy and successful here.  

    Are you where you thought you’d be four years ago?
    Not even close. I changed majors and career paths rather drastically after freshman year. I ran for executive board positions I never thought I would, worked internships I never expected to get, and am so much more upset to be leaving this place than I ever expected to be. 

    Who helped you get to where you are now?
    Dr. Klien was a rock star advisor, excellent teacher and master at calming me down every time I thought my Senior Inquiry project was a failure. The entire course of my education would have been different (and slightly jumbled up) without him. I also wouldn’t be who I am today without the support of my family, friends and Vikettes teammates.  

    A peak experience?
    Studying abroad in Paris last summer was the peak experience of my college life and of the last 22 years as a whole. I had the opportunity to immerse myself in another culture, try foods I never thought I would touch, and see things I have been dreaming of since I was a kid. Beyond that, spending my time there with an amazing group of Augie students and two of the best professors I’ve ever had (shout-out to Dr. Hall and Dr. Gillette!) made the experience fun, educational and unforgettable.  

    How did you use your Augie Choice?
    I used it to help fund my time abroad in Paris. 

    What did you learn about yourself in these past four years that surprised you?
    I am my own harshest critic and my own biggest fear, but if I get out of my own way, I can be successful.    

    What will you miss the most?
    Having my friends no more than five minutes away, dancing at football and basketball games, campus in the springtime, the incredible professors I’ve had, and the Brew.   

    Advice for the Class of 2017?
    Enjoy every single moment, spend time outside when it is warm enough to do so, plan your course schedules far in advance, never be afraid to try new things, and eat a lot of Whitey’s ice cream. 

  • Annie's activities: Varsity cross country, varsity track & field, Alpha Phi Omega (national service fraternity), Delta Chi Theta sorority, Augustana Symphony Orchestra

    (See Annie's page link)

    Annie Heifner

    "Not only is Annie a terrific student, but she also excels beyond the classroom as a musician and athlete. She was voted captain of both the track and cross country teams, which speaks to her excellence as a leader. Put simply, Annie is one of the most talented and well-rounded students that I have come across. Amid a very busy schedule of rigorous classes, music and running, she remains amiable, down-to-earth and productive at the highest level. I have no doubt that she will continue to make the Augie community proud."

    — Dr. Tim Muir
    Assistant Professor, Biology

    Annie Heifner

    Majors: Biology, pre-medicine
    Minor: Spanish

    Post-grad plans: I am applying to medical schools this spring!

    Why did you choose to attend Augustana?
    I chose to attend Augustana because of the many academic, musical and athletic activities available for students to participate in. I also valued the close faculty/student relationships, intimate class sizes as well as the wide range of classes and disciplines to choose from. 

    Are you where you thought you’d be four years ago?
    Four years ago, I knew that I wanted to pursue a career in medicine, and that still holds true today. However, I have grown substantially spiritually, emotionally and intellectually from my experiences at Augustana that I could not have anticipated. I am thankful to those who challenged me in all of these areas.  

    Who helped you get to where you are now?
    My parents have been so supportive throughout my college career, and I am eternally grateful. Many of the science faculty members have played instrumental roles in guiding through these four years. In addition, the women of the Augustana track & field team have been fierce friends and a strong support system. 

    A peak experience?
    A highlight of my experience at Augustana was studying abroad in Ecuador during the summer of 2010! I felt strongly that the only way I was going to learn to speak Spanish well was to immerse myself in a culture of Spanish-speaking people. This opportunity allowed me to put aside my inhibitions about speaking a foreign language, experience a culture other than my own, and become a more independent person. 

    How did you use your Augie Choice?
    I used my Augie Choice money to help pay for living expenses while studying abroad in Ecuador.  

    What did you learn about yourself in these past four years that surprised you?
    I learned that I can lighten up! There were times when I struggled to maintain a balance between classes, relationships and other activities. I grew through this struggle and learned to always maintain balance, roll with the punches and adapt to new situations when things don’t always go as planned. 

    What will you miss the most?
    I will miss the wonderful friends that I have made while at Augustana who have become like family to me. I will also miss being a part of an athletic team and a member of a musical ensemble. This beautiful campus will be hard to leave! 

    Advice for the Class of 2017?
    Don't be afraid to put yourself out there, experience as much as you can and take advantage of all that Augustana has to offer. 

  • Robin's activities: Chi Alpha Pi sorority, Alpha Psi Omega (national theatre honor society), Augustana Choir, Admissions Ambassador

    (See Robin's page link)

    Robin Quinn

    "I have had Robin in several classes, and I am her academic advisor. It has been fun to watch her teach in area schools and perform in productions on campus. Robin has poise and passion, creativity and determination. She is a talented student who makes teaching at Augustana College the best job I could imagine. I look forward to keeping in touch after graduation so I can follow her sure-to-be-successful future."

    — Katie Hanson
    Assistant Professor, Education

    Robin Quinn

    Majors: English education, theatre arts

    Post-grad plans: Teach English and drama

    Why did you choose to attend Augustana?
    I chose Augie for the abundance of opportunities. After performing in Carnegie Hall, traveling to Germany, teaching in three different local schools, and volunteering locally, it's clear to me that I made the right choice. 

    Are you where you thought you’d be four years ago?
    Not at all! I thought I was going to study music, but my freshman year LSFY class helped me find my passion for literature, which is part of why I switched to English ed. I never anticipated to have grown so much in four years; I know who I am and what it is I want out of life... 18-year-old Robin never could have claimed that. 

    Who helped you get to where you are now?
    I owe a lot to my academic advisors as well as my professors. The one-on-one attention they provided helped me flourish and discover my strengths. I always felt supported in my academic endeavors. My friends on campus also helped me by sharing their love and support in all things. In choir, on the Quad or at the gym, I always run into a friendly face, and that has been a comfort to me during my college career. 

    A peak experience?
    Traveling to Germany with the Augie Choir gave me a whole new perspective on life. I made some close friends there who I’m still in touch with, and the intercultural conversations have shown me that there are so many different lenses through which to view situations. I always consider the other sides now, and it's made me a more well-rounded person.

    How did you use your Augie Choice?
    I used my Augie Choice to cover my trip to Germany my junior year.

    What did you learn about yourself in these past four years that surprised you?
    I learned that I’m a way more independent person than I thought. I just feel confident in who I am.

    What will you miss the most?
    I'll miss my professors. They're quirky, personable, brilliant and some of the best role models I could have asked for. I learned so much from them academically, but it’s the life lessons they taught that will really stick.

    Advice for the Class of 2017?
    Take advantage of every opportunity that comes your way: Sled on a cafeteria tray. Kiss under the Bell Tower. Attend a free concert or athletic event. Write a letter to the editor. Explore the Quad Cities. Take a class just for fun. And never say no to a trip to Whitey's. 

  • (See Olivia's page link)

    Olivia Hicks

    "I met Olivia when she was a student in my winter 2012 microbiology class and lab. She was very adept at mastering new lab techniques, and when I realized she was a junior, I immediately asked if she’d consider being a microbiology lab assistant during her senior year. I also recommended Olivia for a summer internship with the Rock Island County Public Health Department doing West Nile Virus surveillance after her exceptional performance in my Senior Inquiry class on emerging infectious diseases during spring 2012. For the past year, Olivia has been such a capable curator of our bacterial stock collection and so proactive as a teaching assistant that I know it will be a while before microbiology labs are running this smoothly again. If I could only figure out a way to clone her... ”

    — Dr. Dara Wegman-Geedey
    Professor, Biology

    Olivia Hicks

    Majors: Biology
    Minor: Anthropology

    Post-grad plans: I plan on working for a few years. Then I hope to go to graduate school to become a microbiologist or an epidemiologist so that later on, I can conduct research on different strains of bacteria that cause epidemics.

    Why did you choose to attend Augustana?
    I loved the campus. I also loved the small class sizes that made me feel like I could talk to my professors.

    Are you where you thought you’d be four years ago?
    No, I am way farther than I thought I would be. I have never been one to go outside of my comfort zone, but ever since I did last year I have been able to make great progress in the fields that I am interested in.

    Who helped you get to where you are now?
    As always, my friends and family have helped me through a lot with being stressed with classes. But I have also been able to find other people to talk to about classes and my future. Dr. Dara Wegman-Geedey has helped me see my true potential and help me focus on what I really want for my future.

    A peak experience?
    Of course there are so many, but I would have to say being a lab proctor has been one of the best experiences. It has really helped me find my real interest. I also enjoy working with different people and trying to explain things to them in a way that will make sense.

    How did you use your Augie Choice?
    I used my Augie Choice money to help me with West Nile Virus surveillance for the Rock Island County Public Health Department during the past summer.

    What did you learn about yourself in these past four years that surprised you?
    That I am way more independent than I ever thought I could be. I also know now what I want in my life, and I am not afraid to go for it! After attending Augustana, I know that my dreams of working in a medical laboratory are finally possible.

    What will you miss the most?
    Not only will I miss my friends, but I will also miss my professors who have helped me with whatever I needed. I will also miss my job as a supervisor at the College Center because I have worked with them for four years, and everyone is so nice.

    Advice for the Class of 2017?
    Don’t be afraid to ask questions and search for things that you really want. Although times might get tough, believe in yourself, and you will accomplish your wishes!

  • Christopher's activities: Sigma Xi (International Scientific Research Society), Honors Program, Honor Council, Alumni Board, Student Alumni Council, National Residence Hall Honorary, Residential Life and Mortar Board

    (See Christopher's page link)

    Christopher Carter

    "When I first met Christopher Carter, he scared me. This was a student who was full of unrealized potential; he was at the tipping point of doing great things. As the months and years went by, he blossomed into the terrific person he has become. His years at Augustana have nurtured and nourished his accomplishments in the sciences and biomedical ethics, and as an ambassador of the best gifts a liberal arts education has to offer."

    — Dr. Heidi Storl
    William F. Freistat Chair
    for Studies in World Peace
    Professor, Philosophy

    Christopher Carter

    Majors: Neuroscience, pre-medicine

    Post-grad plans: Attend graduate school at Indiana University to study philosophy/bioethics.

    Why did you choose to attend Augustana?
    I attribute my decision to attend Augustana to Drs. Rose and Geedey, along with my dad; if not for my dad, I would never have applied to Augustana. After talking to both Drs. Rose and Geedey, it became evident that Augustana's community, support and commitment to education were right for me. 

    Are you where you thought you’d be four years ago?
    Absolutely not. I entered as a pre-medicine and biology student ready to go to medical school. Today, I find myself studying a field that crosses the sciences and philosophy: bioethics. 

    Who helped you get to where you are now?
    This is not a fair question. I could not identify all the faculty, family members and friends who have supported me through this journey. However, Drs. Storl and Harrington have certainly made an impression on me by exposing the fields of neuroethics and bioethics.

    A peak experience?
    My time serving as a student member of the Alumni Board truly has brought many great memories and experiences. Seeing alumni of all ages expressing their love of Augustana by dedicating their time on the Alumni Board and its endeavors have allowed me to embrace a true Augustana experience. This was confirmed during my junior year while during a board meeting, I was asked my opinion about a matter, and the entire Alumni Board listened to my suggestion. Later that meeting, the members asked me to head an initiative to create a student group bringing alumni and current students together (Student Alumni Council). I felt privileged by these and many other interactions. 

    How did you use your Augie Choice?
    I went to Houston where I interned in the Center for Medical Ethics and Health Policy at Baylor College of Medicine. During this internship, I spent the majority of my time collecting data for my project at Methodist Hospital on ethical and medical challenges as it relates to death by neurological criteria.

    What did you learn about yourself in these past four years that surprised you?
    Contrary to all the planning I had done, I learned sometimes you just have to go where life may take you. I surely never expected that I’d be going to graduate school for philosophy/bioethics, but here I am. Also, you cannot fret over the small things; sometimes you will get a C on a test.

    What will you miss the most?
    I have made some wonderful friends, and I will miss them greatly.  

    Advice for the Class of 2017?
    Get active early; the closest friends you will make will come from the activities you are involved in. 

  • Cortney's activities: Advertising Developers, Alpha Phi Omega service fraternity, Camp Kesem, EDGE team

    (See Cortney's page link)

    Cortney Lebeda

    "Cortney was one of the quiet girls who sat in the back of my public relations class together, so I didn’t know what to expect when they presented their first project... They rocked it. I nicknamed them “The Table.” Cortney went on to absolutely nail the PR course and then became a key member of the ADs’ National Student Advertising Competition team. She is currently wrapping up a research internship in the EDGE Center where she did extensive research on generational demographics with a focus on the later Millennials and the iGeneration... cutting-edge stuff that every organization is interested in."

    — Doug Tschopp
    Director, Entrepreneurial (EDGE) Center
    Instructor, Speech Communication

    Cortney Lebeda

    Majors: Communication studies, English

    Post-grad plans: I’ve been hired as a program director for Camp Kesem National. I will help manage 10-12 Camp Kesem chapters and support college students who have a desire to impact children affected by a parent's cancer.

    Why did you choose to attend Augustana?
    My dad graduated from Augustana in ’85, and I have grown up with stories from his college days. While I never expected to attend college here, I fell in love with the campus on my first visit. I never left! Everyone was so welcoming, and the class sizes and atmosphere were perfect for me. 

    Are you where you thought you’d be four years ago?
    My college career has surpassed all of my expectations. I am so proud of what I have been able to do. From being a founding member of an amazing organization to completing extensive research for my internship and Senior Inquiry, I have done things I never thought I could do.

    Who helped you get to where you are now?
    Every person I have met on campus has helped me get where I am today, and I am graduating with friendships and memories that will last a lifetime. I owe a huge thank-you to my wonderful parents who have supported me during every up and down during my time here. Doug Tschopp has helped me uncover my passion for research and strategic planning. Wendy Wood and Maxine Bultynck have pushed me to be the best person I can be and have made working at the bookstore a lot of fun. I, of course, owe a big thank-you to my Camp Kesem family. No matter what hardship we faced over the last two years, we got through it together.

    A peak experience?
    I have had so many! One peak experience was joining Camp Kesem Augustana. The coordinators, counselors, national staff and kids I have and will work with have changed my life forever. I also feel very lucky to have spent time in the Web Guild office. I am inspired by all the student talent there. My trip to France last summer also opened my eyes to the world around me. I cannot wait to travel again!

    How did you use your Augie Choice?
    I used my Augie Choice to do a six-week program in Paris, France. 

    What did you learn about yourself in these past four years that surprised you?
    I’ve learned that I can do anything if I set my mind to it. If someone told me four years ago that I would help raise nearly $82,000 for Camp Kesem or create a research presentation that was shown to more than 100 people, I would have laughed. I will now bring this drive and confidence into everything I do.

    What will you miss the most?
    I am going to miss everything, especially seeing my friends and going to Camp Kesem meetings.

    Advice for the Class of 2017?
    My advice to future Augie students is to branch out as quickly as possible. I did not start joining groups on campus until late my sophomore year and now that I am graduating, I wish I had more time!

  • Katie's activities: Jenny Lind Vocal Ensemble, varsity track & field, Campus Ministries, Peer Mentor Program, UNYK Multicultural Dance Troupe, SBC Music Academy, La Casa Guanajuato

    (See Katie's page link)

    Katie Dinkel

    "Katie has shown more growth over the past four years than any student I have ever come into contact with. She has always had a natural sense of musicianship and a formidable technique as a pianist. What she didn’t have was a deep understanding of musical structure and logic. In her time at Augustana, she has not only addressed this area of her playing, but has actually turned it into one of her strengths. So much so that both her junior and senior recitals have demonstrated some of the finest and most sophisticated music-making I have ever had the joy of coaching!"

    — Dr. Rob Elfline
    Assistant Professor, Music

    Katie Dinkel

    Majors: Biology, music

    Post-grad plans: Attend graduate school to earn my doctorate in naturopathic medicine. I hope to continue my volunteer work by serving in the Peace Corps and/or Mercy Ships.

    Why did you choose to attend Augustana?
    I have a broad range of interests, and I wanted to go somewhere I could be involved. I wanted to be a part of a strong music program, study biology and play sports. When I was going on college visits, I was always told to picture myself being a student. I distinctly remember feeling that as I walked around the Augustana campus during my first visit.

    Are you where you thought you’d be four years ago?
    I am way more than what I thought I would be. The opportunities that I have had here have really allowed me to grow into myself and find passions that I never knew I had. I definitely feel ready to tackle the ‘real world.’

    Who helped you get to where you are now?
    My parents and grandparents have given me so much support. Whether it was talking with me about my dreams, coming to campus to watch me give piano recitals or cheer for me in sports, they have gone above and beyond, and I would not be where I am now without them. The music and biology faculty has been great as well. All of the professors here really care about their students, and I appreciate them for being so dedicated. My friends have also been a huge support system. I feel so lucky to have met such inspiring people!

    A peak experience?
    The opportunity I had to study abroad in Ecuador was definitely a highlight of my college experience. I left the United States without knowing any Spanish or any of the other students who were going (since the majority of the people who go are Spanish majors), but I fell in love with the language and got to know some amazing people that I know I will be friends with forever. I gained a sense of independence and cultural awareness that I couldn't have gotten if I never went. Becoming fluent in Spanish is now a serious goal of mine, and I plan to continue working and volunteering with Hispanic communities throughout my life.

    How did you use your Augie Choice?
    I used my Augie Choice to study abroad in South America, where I traveled to Ecuador and Peru with a group of Augustana students. Without Augie Choice, I wouldn't have been able to travel as much as I have.

    What did you learn about yourself in these past four years that surprised you?
    I never thought I would be part of a dance troupe or sing in a choir. The opportunities that I had at Augustana showed me that there is so much to learn and so many great people to meet. My love for learning and meeting people has skyrocketed. I learned that there is always a reason to smile!

    What will you miss the most?
    My favorite day at Augustana is the first day of spring, when so many students are out on the Quad studying or throwing around a Frisbee. I’m going to miss that day. I will miss all the people here, my friends, the faculty, the custodians and lunch ladies. I was also fortunate enough to foster a service dog in my house senior year because one of my roommates is part of the Viking Pups club. I've never had a dog before, so coming home every day to an excited puppy is something I will really miss.

  • Amy's activities: Augustana Symphonic Band, Augustana Jazz Ensemble, OSA Tech Team, Phi Beta Kappa

    (See Amy's page link)

    Amy Bandman

    "Amy’s record in her two majors and across the liberal arts curriculum is outstanding, a record that led to her election to Phi Beta Kappa. She shows genuine curiosity about a wide range of topics in classes and field trips and has demonstrated excellence in social science, natural science and technology courses. Building upon her academic record, she has been a great intern this entire year at River Action, the prime local organization for enhancing attention on the Mississippi River. She is an excellent trombone player in the Symphonic Band (section leader). In all of these activities, she has a most unassuming and gracious style. In sum, her breadth of interests, depth of concerns for the future of our society and environment, involvement in the musical arts, and gracious attitudes are what one would wish for all liberal arts students."

    — Dr. Norm Moline
    Professor, Geography

    Amy Bandman

    Majors: Geography
    Minor: Mathematics

    Post-grad plans:Find a job!

    Why did you choose to attend Augustana?
    I wanted to be a part of a great band program but had no idea what my major might be. I chose Augustana so I could explore my options and still be involved in a great music program. 

    Are you where you thought you’d be four years ago?
    Not at all! I thought I was going to be a math teacher when I started college. Now I’m graduating from Augustana with a geography degree!

    Who helped you get to where you are now?
    The Community Engagement Center helped me find my niche at Augustana. I was searching for a new major, and they pointed me in the right direction. My geography advisor, Dr. Norm Moline, has been my mentor throughout my years here. He has been so supportive and helpful in getting me to where I am today. 

    A peak experience?
    My peak experience was last summer’s geography trip to the Pacific Northwest. We spent 10 days touring Washington and Oregon and learning about geography nonstop. This was a peak experience because of all the bonding between the students in the geography department and all the things we learned while on the trip. There is nothing like learning out in the field! I will never forget this trip and the beach bonfires along the Pacific Ocean. 

    How did you use your Augie Choice?
    I used Augie Choice to go to Italy with the Symphonic Band. We traveled all over the country in 10 days, ate great food, saw beautiful cities and experienced Italian culture. Playing concerts in Italy was an unforgettable experience. 

    What did you learn about yourself in these past four years that surprised you?
    I am able to do an insane amount of activities and not go crazy. 

    What will you miss the most?
    I will miss all the friends I’ve made and living in such a close community.

  • Marisa's activities: National Association for Music Educators, Sigma Alpha Iota, National Band Association, Augustana Symphonic Band, Augustana Symphony Orchestra, Flute Choir, Percussion Ensemble, Omicron Delta Kappa

    (See Marisa's page link)

    Marisa Crater

    "Marisa Crater has enthusiastically met musical challenges and accomplished her goals. She started out by being the first flutist to win one of the honors music scholarships. She continued to work hard to develop her talents in performing and teaching. She has played all four years in both Symphonic Band and Augustana Symphony Orchestra. This year she is section leader in both ensembles and also student director in flute choir. Marisa will make great contributions as a teacher and musician. It has been a joy to work with her!"

    — Janet Stodd
    Instructor, Music

    Marisa Crater

    Majors: Music education

    Post-grad plans: Teach music in the Midwest

    Why did you choose to attend Augustana?
    While the education and music departments are highly esteemed at Augustana, I ultimately chose to come to Augustana for the atmosphere. Sure, there are many schools out there with top programs in my field, but the sense of welcome and community I experienced each time I came to campus influenced my final decision. I could really see myself enjoying my time here, and I have!

    Are you where you thought you’d be four years ago?
    Yes and no. Coming into college, I knew I wanted to be a music education major, so in that regard I am where I envisioned — student teaching done, applying for jobs, ready to graduate. However, I have made personal gains through my college experience that I didn’t foresee as an incoming student. Augustana has prepared me not only for my profession, but has been a driving force in my personal growth.

    Who helped you get to where you are now?
    I owe much of my success to my parents, as they are financing the portion of this endeavor that scholarships did not cover. I can also credit all the wonderful faculty, staff and students of Augustana. Every interaction and interpersonal connection I’ve made on campus has been a learning experience, preparing me for the ‘real world.’

    A peak experience?
    Student teaching was my ‘peak experience.’ Twelve weeks in real classrooms with real students allowed me to put all the skills and knowledge I’ve gained at Augustana to the test. This culminating experience gave me a taste of the years to come, and I experienced real-life examples of all the content I’d studied for three years. I was able to explore my teaching style with students, network within my cooperating schools and districts, and learn more about myself as a teacher.

    How did you use your Augie Choice?
    I used my Augie Choice money for the 2011 Augustana Symphonic Band Tour to Italy. This experience is irreplaceable. The band traveled all around Italy to Venice, Florence, Verona, Lucca and Rome for 14 days, performing and absorbing the Italian culture. 

    What did you learn about yourself in these past four years that surprised you?
    In the past four years, I’ve learned that I am able to achieve whatever I set my mind to. It’s just a matter of intrinsically motivating myself to make gains toward my goals. At Augustana, I have had all the resources and support to make a goal a reality. 

    What will you miss the most?
    I will miss the people and atmosphere of Augustana most of all. At this point I’m still applying and interviewing for jobs so my geographic location for next year is still up in the air. I do know though, unless I end up teaching in my hometown, I won't be able to walk down the street and run into 15 people I know and walk from my house to school in one minute. I will miss the ‘Augie Bubble’ — having the ability to meet up with anyone on campus at virtually anytime, anywhere, any day. That same sense of community that I came to Augustana for is what I will miss most in leaving. 

  • Matt's activities: Wrestling, Rho Nu Delta fraternity

    (See Matt's page link)

    Matt Burns

    "For someone who came in as an unknown in terms of accolades, Matt leaves Augustana as a two-time national qualifier and an All-American in wrestling. He became my second All-American in my career as a coach. I feel Matt epitomized not just what I coach, but also what I preach — understanding the sport, making people wrestle your match, and never giving up. He was a great kid not just ON the mat, but also OFF. I never had to worry about issues that might distract him from school and wrestling. He was a polite gentleman to those around him. Combine that with being a natural leader in terms of working hard and setting the example, and it is easy to say I will miss having Matt on our team very much."

    — Eric Juergens
    Head Coach, Wrestling

    Matt Burns

    Majors: Business administration (marketing)
    Minor: Chinese

    Post-grad plans: Get a job in either the Quad Cities or Naperville; possibly teach English in China.

    Why did you choose to attend Augustana?
    A big reason I chose to attend Augustana was because I wanted to wrestle. I wanted to go to a place where I could still compete in the sport I loved. I also enjoyed the campus and knew a few people who had been here before who liked it. I knew it was a good academic school and thought that now I can get a good education and compete in sports.

    Are you where you thought you’d be four years ago?
    I have come a long way from where I thought I would be. I managed to be an All-American in wrestling and be a major influence on the team. I also ended up joining a fraternity my freshman year, something I never thought I would do. I came into this school with no idea what I wanted to do. Through my classes I was able to figure out some of my passions and decide on a major and minor.

    Who helped you get to where you are now?
    I think a big influence on me would have to be my coaches Eric Juergens and John Fotos. They have had a major influence on me through my years here. Also, my roommates and friends I have been with pretty much my whole time at college. They have helped me get through some rough times, and I’ve been able to pull myself on top. I can’t imagine doing it without them.

    A peak experience?
    For my sports, I would have to say it was the match to become an All-American. I was able to come back from being down and pull it out in the last seconds. I found out afterwards that a bunch of my friends and family had been watching it online. It was really cool to see how many people cared about what I was doing. That was probably better than winning, just knowing I had all that support.

    What did you learn about yourself in these past four years that surprised you?
    I learned I can basically enjoy anything. If you have the right attitude about it, and stay positive, you can turn almost any experience into something positive. You have to cherish even some of the tougher aspects of your life, or else you will drown in your own worry and stress. It has opened me up to do a lot of things I thought I would never do before and has made my college experience all that much better.

    What will you miss the most?
    The Snack Shop at the College Center and the good times we had in it.

    Advice for the Class of 2017?
    Do your homework your freshman year. It is really easy to prioritize all the new college experiences over your schoolwork. But doing your homework early will definitely pay off. I have seen too many people forget about their schoolwork and mess themselves up later in their college career.

  • Lauren's activities: Advertising Developers (Ads), Cantilena Augustana Choir, Business Club

    (See Lauren's page link)

    Lauren Mentado

    "How would I describe Lauren? She is simply an amazing person, and I have had the privilege of knowing this remarkable young woman as my advisee and student. She is kind, dedicated and has a terrific personality. You could always count on Lauren. As her advisor, I am very proud of all Lauren’s achievements and have no doubts that she has a bright future ahead of her."

    — Dr. Nadia Novotorova
    Assistant Professor, Business Administration

    Lauren Mentado

    Majors: Business administration (international business and finance)
    Minor: Spanish

    Post-grad plans:Pursue a career in international business and/or marketing

    Why did you choose to attend Augustana?
    I chose to attend Augustana because from the minute I walked into the admissions office for an interview, I instantly felt welcome to the Augustana community. The personalized attention of the Augustana faculty and staff reassured me that the college was a good fit.

    Are you where you thought you’d be four years ago?
    Not at all! I came to college completely undecided about what I wanted to study. Three years later, I am preparing to graduate with a degree in business administration and plan to pursue a career in international business and/or marketing.

    Who helped you get to where you are now?
    I give primary credit to my parents and family who have been supportive of me throughout these four years. I am also grateful to the many Augustana College professors who have the enthusiasm and vocation to be instrumental in our success.

    A peak experience?
    One of my peak experiences was being a part of the ADs team and attending the National Student Advertising Competition in Detroit, Michigan. The hands-on experience and excitement about pitching an advertising campaign plan to a real client was beyond my expectations.

    How did you use your Augie Choice?
    I used Augie Choice to fund my expenses for an internship with Group O in Milan, Illinois.

    What did you learn about yourself in these past four years that surprised you?
    I learned quite a lot about myself. I feel confident that the knowledge and skill sets I acquired during my time at Augustana has prepared me both on a personal and professional level. My biggest accomplishments were possible because of my determination to step out of my comfort zone, take risks and reap the rewarding experience.

    What will you miss the most?
    I will miss being a member of the Cantilena women's ensemble. I enjoyed taking a break from studying, two hours each week, to do what I love most, sing!

    Advice for the Class of 2017?
    My biggest advice to incoming students, particularly those who will be first-generation college graduates like myself, is to focus not only on building the knowledge of the field you plan to major in but also be sure to develop skills that will help you in your development as a professional and as a person.

  • Hannah's activities: Circle K, TriBeta (biology honor society), Mortar Board

    (See Hannah's page link)

    Hannah Hart

    "Hannah is one of the most academically gifted students I’ve known in the past 19 years. I have often observed such students being brusque or impatient with others who are less capable or less engaged with the course material. What sets Hannah apart in my mind is that she excels quietly, never drawing attention to herself in class or in group projects for class or lab. Hannah is a natural 'servant-leader,' the sort of person who does not take control overtly, but works so steadfastly toward a goal while maintaining open communication with group members that others are inspired to do their best work as well. Ultimately, the entire group benefits, and this was evident to me even on subsequent work by individuals. I have no doubt that Hannah will continue to inspire others in her own quiet way."

    — Dr. Dara Wegman-Geedey
    Professor, Biology

    Hannah Hart

    Majors: Biology; pre-veterinary medicine

    Post-grad plans:Attend the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine this fall. My long-term plan is to be a food animal practitioner.

    Why did you choose to attend Augustana?
    I liked that the school had such a high acceptance rate into vet school. After talking with an admissions representative at a college fair in Minneapolis, I decided to visit. I was overwhelmed by the friendliness of everyone I met, and I was very impressed with the Science Building (now Hanson Hall). I got a sense that I would be well prepared for vet school if I attended Augustana, and I felt that I would have a fantastic support system on my way there.

    Are you where you thought you’d be four years ago?
    Attending vet school was always the goal, but I don't think I realized how much I would grow personally and academically in my four years at Augustana. There are so many resources on campus to help students get where they want to go, and I found myself surrounded by the most amazing, driven, talented and passionate students, faculty and staff. I know that they played a big part in my development into a more confident individual and a more able scientist. I didn't imagine that I would achieve such growth when I started my undergraduate career.

    Who helped you get to where you are now?
    The list is pretty long! Darrin Good, my former advisor, is probably the chief reason that I was able to accomplish so much at Augustana. He always pushed me to get as much shadowing experience as possible, even helping me set up a large-animal shadowing experience in the spring of my junior year. He encouraged me to volunteer with an on-campus organization, and that was a big motivator for me to join Circle K (one of the best experiences I had at Augustana). He was always so willing and able to help me choose the right classes when I was stressed out about registration! Others who helped me were my professors, who always held me to the highest standards, as well as my friends and classmates, who pushed me to be my best every day.

    A peak experience?
    Completing my Senior Inquiry project in prokaryotic genomics under Dr. Lori Scott was a peak experience. I enjoyed doing ‘real’ scientific work instead of just reading about it. I got the biggest sense of satisfaction from knowing that I was contributing something valuable to the field of biology and from being able to use what I had learned in previous biology classes to accomplish the task.

    How did you use your Augie Choice?
    I used it to fund a term abroad in London during the fall of my junior year. I could go on and on about those 10 weeks! I saw sights I had only dreamed of before, and I came home a dedicated and shameless Anglophile. I’d honestly go back in a heartbeat, and I know I’ll carry the memories and the cross-cultural education I gained there with me for many, many years.

    What did you learn about yourself in these past four years that surprised you?
    I learned that I am a very flexible person. In high school, I hated group work because I thought I could do a better job on my own. I still like working independently, but I also have found that I enjoy working with others, too. I realized that many other Augustana students were just as motivated to do good work as I was, and I began to see the value of multiplied brainpower when solving a difficult problem or when trying to communicate knowledge to a broader academic community. I think this flexibility will be important for me down the road, and I am grateful that it was something I was able to develop during my college career.

    What will you miss the most?
    That's a tough question! I'll miss a lot of things: spending time with the incredible students on Augie’s campus, being a part of some great organizations, studying under enthusiastic and friendly professors. Most of all, though, I’d have to say that I'll miss just being a member of the Augustana community. Augustana has some of the most phenomenal people I’ve ever met, and I wish I had more time to enjoy their company.

  • Caitlin's activities: Delta Chi Theta sorority, Order of Omega, Eta Sigma Phi (Classics honor society), National Society of Leadership and Success, Club Soccer, Alumni Board, Student Alumni Council, Phi Beta Kappa

    (See Caitlin's page link)

    caitlin walker

    "I learned to know Caitlin her sophomore year when she was a participant in the Rome 2011 Program. She was one of the top students in the class. Her paper, titled “Martin Luther and His Avocation for Private Interpretation,” was done exceedingly well. A very energetic, enthusiastic person with all sorts of questions about what we were seeing and experiencing in Rome, she was a joy to have on the trip.

    — Dr. Dan Lee
    Marian Taft Cannon Professor
    in the Humanities
    Professor, Religion/Ethics

    Caitlin Walker

    Majors: Biology, pre-optometry
    Minor: Classical studies

    Post-grad plans: Attend The Ohio State University College of Optometry to obtain my Doctor of Optometry (O.D.)

    Why did you choose to attend Augustana?
    I was drawn to the small student-to-faculty ratio and the great biology program that Augustana offers. I also wanted to play collegiate soccer while remaining engaged in my studies/extracurricular activities, a balance which not many larger schools can offer.

    Are you where you thought you’d be four years ago?
    Yes, only things are better! I thought as an emerging senior I’d have majored in biology with plans to continue onto graduate school. Yet, I never thought I would have made such great connections at Augustana though my involvement on campus nor did I expect to pick up an additional minor in classical studies, which has actually enriched my biology major.

    Who helped you get to where you are now?
    My family has always been my rock. My parents and my sister have always supported me through the good times and the tough times, offering me kind words or a prayer. The close friends I have made at Augustana have become my ‘substitute family’ and always push me to be my best. Also, the faculty in the biology department and classics department has truly made my time at Augie worthwhile. They are always patient in answering my never-ending questions and continue to encourage my academic curiosity.

    A peak experience?
    Traveling to Rome, Italy, for a two-week study abroad experience. I have always dreamed of going to Italy and seeing my classics minor come to life in Rome was pretty exciting!

    How did you use your Augie Choice?
    I used my Augie Choice to travel to Rome, Italy, with the religion department during the summer.

    What did you learn about yourself in these past four years that surprised you?
    I have learned how important confidence is — confidence in myself and in my abilities. Being confident has allowed me to branch out and gain new experiences, most of which I have truly enjoyed. I know I am going to make mistakes, but allowing them to interfere with my confidence will only prevent future successes.

    What will you miss the most?
    The close relationships I have with my professors, especially the professors who I have taken multiple classes from. The professors at Augustana have been so influential in my growth as a student and as an individual. They have encouraged me to set high goals and have gone above and beyond to help me achieve them.

    Advice for incoming freshman?
    Don’t hold back!! Be bold with your Augie experience. Focus on your studies but still make time to get involved. Stop by a professor’s office sometime just to chat and ask about his famous mug collection rather than anything school-related. Forming relationships with peers and professors can really make a positive impact on one’s time at Augustana.

  • Alexander's activities: Phi Beta Kappa, Alpha Psi Omega (national theatre honor society)

    (See Alexander's page link)

    Alexander Vlastnik

    "When I challenged the seniors in HIST 481/482 to ‘tell a good story,’ I didn't think they had a chance in heck of pulling it off. Our program stresses analysis and argumentation, not the art of historical narrative. But Alex rose to the task like one born to do it. His moving story of a Confederate prisoner held at the Rock Island Military Prison deserves to be published, and will be I’m sure — a fitting reward for Alex’s hard work and talents."

    — Dr. Lendol Calder
    Professor, History

    Alexander Vlastnik

    Major: History
    Minor: Classical studies Post-grad plans: Obtain a master’s in history at Western Illinois University 

    Why did you choose to attend Augustana?
    I was drawn to Augustana by the accessibility and friendly nature of the school. Selling points such as no teaching assistants and the ability to have a faculty advisor who worked in my area of study helped me make my decision.

    Are you where you thought you’d be four years ago?
    Four years ago, I really had no idea where I would be; at this point, I’m more than happy with where I’ve ended up. Through several changes of majors and plans for after graduation, I feel as if I’ve found something I enjoy studying and hope to continue that process.

    Who helped you get to where you are now?
    My advisor in the classics department, Dr. Kramer, helped me immensely by sitting down with me and figuring out a program of study that would fit my needs, as well as helping me look for institutions at which to continue my education after graduation. Dr. Calder also helped me as an advisor in working through my Senior Inquiry and helping me refine my approach to the research and writing process.

    A peak experience?
    My peak experience came through the research process of my senior thesis. Having access to the Rock Island Arsenal Archive, as well as Augustana’s Special Collections, allowed me access to documents and resources that I used as the basis of my project, which made the research process incredibly fruitful as well as enjoyable.

    What did you learn about yourself in these past four years that surprised you?
    One thing I learned was the value of hard work and that it is worth the payoff in the end. Some of the subjects I found most difficult or taxing at the beginning of my educational career have become some of the areas of study that interest me most. Though persistence, as well as some help from others, I was able to gain proficiency in subjects I had previously struggled with, which is rewarding.

    What will you miss the most?
    Friends, as well as the faculty I’ve had the opportunity to work with, will be what I’ll miss most.

  • Moselle's activities: Phi Beta Kappa

    (See Moselle's page link)

    Moselle (Mo) Singh

    "It has been really fun to work with Mo on her Senior Inquiry project. Last summer she received a Student Summer Research Fellowship to do fieldwork with women who were learning Transcendental Meditation to achieve physical and emotional healing. This research contributes to important scholarly discussions about the role of complementary and alternative medicine in American women’s health care decisions. To cap off her Senior Inquiry experience, she recently presented her findings at the Central States Anthropological Society conference in St. Louis."

    — Dr. Carolyn Hough
    Assistant Professor; Sociology,
    Anthropology and Social Welfare

    Moselle (Mo) Singh

    Major: Anthropology

    Post-grad plans: I’m planning to take a couple of years off before going to grad school for my Ph.D. in medical anthropology. Next year I hope to go to Ometepe, Nicaragua, to do organic permaculture farming.

    Why did you choose to attend Augustana?
    I transferred to Augustana from Reed College mostly because I was attracted to the unassuming nature of Augustana. It’s quiet and unobtrusive — a perfect environment to make your experience exactly what you want it to be. Also, when I first visited Augustana, I met with Dr. Kaul. I was genuinely impressed by the humility he carried with his extensive knowledge, which was something that my other college was lacking.

    Are you where you thought you’d be four years ago?
    Four years ago, I thought I would be majoring in art studio. I also would have never guessed that I would be getting published in an academic journal or that I would be conducting, presenting and creating my very own ethnographic research from the ground up. I suppose I really would not have expected anything about where I would be right now — all I can say is that I’m happy with how everything fell into place.

    Who helped you get to where you are now?
    I cannot even express the gratitude I have for my professors, specifically Dr. Hough, Dr. Kaul and Dr. Zargar. Dr. Kaul has been my advisor since I transferred to Augustana and has always been supportive, encouraging and most of all understanding. Dr. Hough and Dr. Zargar both presented me with academic publication opportunities, for which I am sincerely honored.

    A peak experience?
    I went to Cambodia during the winter term of my senior year. My experience was much more than anything that could have been academically ‘taught,’ which is why it was so life-changing. The friendships that I developed and the experiences that we shared are ones that will stay with me beyond college, no doubt.

    How did you use your Augie Choice?
    I used Augie Choice to help fund my study abroad trip to Cambodia.

    What did you learn about yourself in these past four years that surprised you?
    I never used to see myself as a leader, but after my involvement with multiple projects and organizations on and off campus, I realized that I do actually have the ability to effectively lead, network and market (all things I never thought I could do before). I’m also just generally surprised at how much I am able to accomplish when I put my whole self into it.

    What will you miss the most?
    I will miss all of my friends that I’ve made (especially the ones from Cambodia!) and all of my professors. I’m always going to be nostalgic about my time at Augustana, but I’m ready for the next page. I’m excited about all that comes next.

  • Emma's activities: Delta Chi Theta sorority, Phi Beta Kappa

    (See Emma's page link)

    Emma Anderson

    "Emma has an impressive ability to think in complex ways about complicated ideas. She strives to put information into context and recognizes the way that this perspective shapes her understanding of it. She has matured with a quiet confidence. Emma has developed from a young student employee with promise to an emerging colleague. I think I’m looking forward to watching her future unfold almost as much as she is."

    — Dr. Mark Salisbury
    Assistant Dean and Director
    of Institutional Research and Assessment

    Emma Anderson

    Majors: Sociology (social welfare), psychology

    Post-grad plans: Ph.D. program for political sociology at the University of Iowa

    Why did you choose to attend Augustana?
    I chose Augustana because of the size and the opportunities that that would present me. Getting to know my professors and other faculty on a personal level has made all the difference in my success at Augustana and my acceptance to graduate school.

    Are you where you thought you’d be four years ago?
    Although I have maintained the same majors throughout my four years at Augustana, my plans for next year have changed drastically. I never could have imagined I’d have the skills or confidence to be going into a Ph.D. program.  

    Who helped you get to where you are now?
    I have had many great professors who have helped me. Dr. Peter Kivisto has been key in both my sociology courses as well as guiding me through the graduate school application process. As well, Dr. Croll was essential in helping me with the application process as well as being one of my mentors this past year. Lastly, I have Mark Salisbury, my boss in institutional research, to thank for much of my success. By giving me the opportunity to work in this department, as well as his constant encouragement and teaching, I have received great offers from graduate schools and feel prepared to take on the work of a Ph.D. program.

    A peak experience?
    My peak experience was when my research in collaboration with Mark Salisbury was accepted to be presented at the American Education Research Association’s national conference. I traveled to San Francisco in April to present my paper.

    How did you use your Augie Choice?
    I used my Augie Choice to study abroad in Greece last summer. The experience was one of the greatest in my life, and I encourage every Augustana student to study abroad if possible.

    What did you learn about yourself in these past four years that surprised you?
    In the last four years, I have learned that I am a very driven student and am confident with my academic abilities. Although only a year ago attaining my Ph.D. seemed too scary and big of an undertaking, I now know that it is attainable if I use the skills and discipline I’ve learned here at Augustana.

    What will you miss the most?
    Without doubt, I will miss my Delta Chi sisters the most. They have been the most fun, kind, crazy, wonderful girls I have ever met, and they inspire me every day to be the best person I can be. I am so grateful to have them in my life.

    Advice for the Class of 2017?
    Never take even a single day for granted. Take chances and do things you never thought you would because you can't imagine how fast these four years go by.

  • Sarah's activities: Alpha Psi Omega (national theater honor society)

    (See Sarah's page link)

    Sarah Ebener

    "One of the best perks of my job as a professor is serving as an advisor. I love it because I get to know students like Sarah. I have seen her grow into a confident, creative, excellent teacher. I will be sad to see Sarah graduate because we have had many lengthy conversations about literature and life. I count Sarah as a friend, who hopefully will keep me posted about her future successes."

    — Katie Hanson
    Assistant Professor, Education

    Sarah Ebener

    Majors:Secondary education, English

    Post-grad plans:Find a position teaching high school English, hopefully in the Quad Cities

    Why did you choose to attend Augustana?
    Augustana was one of my top choices for many reasons. I loved the small class sizes, the beautiful campus, the friendly atmosphere and the fantastic education program. However, the scholarships I got from Augie really pushed it to the top of my list. With the scholarships and the financial aid I received, Augustana turned out to be cheaper than all of my other public and private school options.

    Are you where you thought you’d be four years ago?
    Somewhat. I actually never changed my major since declaring it in my first year, but I think that I have more of a solid grasp on why I want to teach through the help of the education department and the opportunities I have had to teach in different classrooms.

    Who helped you get to where you are now?
    Katie Hanson was probably the most helpful person during my time here. She has been my advisor since I declared my major, and she must be one of the most hands-on advisors at Augie — she's more like a life and career coach. She and many of the other professors in the education department have been invaluable to me.

    A peak experience?
    My peak experience was, without a doubt, my student teaching this past winter. It was such a positive experience for me because I enjoyed going into the classroom and seeing my students every single day, which was a really good sign because it helped to show me that I am going into the right career. 

    How did you use your Augie Choice?
    I used Augie Choice to pay for a large portion of my study abroad trip to Greece. The academic scheduling for secondary education majors is very tight, so I was fearful that I wouldn’t be able to fit in space for a study abroad trip. However, I was ecstatic when I found out I would be able to take just one class in the spring of my junior year and then travel around Greece for two weeks. This was a life-changing experience since I had never been abroad before, and I learned a lot of things that will be helpful to me in my future classroom.

    What did you learn about yourself in these past four years that surprised you?
    I learned that I am actually pretty creative, which I probably would not have guessed since I think I am awful at creative writing. But I have found that I like coming up with new ideas, especially ideas for lessons or activities for the classroom. I love when I am struggling with a paper topic for a class and then a creative light bulb clicks on with what I think is a brilliant idea; then I will just sit down for hours trying to hash out my ideas on the page.

    What will you miss the most?
    I think I will probably miss the environment at Augie. In combination with our beautiful campus, I feel that we have a very friendly student body, faculty and staff. I like being able to walk around campus and smile to friends and professors who I run into. Also, as a future teacher, it has been nice to be involved in a strong community of learning.

    Advice for the Class of 2017?
    Take advantage of Old Main once it is renovated. I’m sad that I won’t get to have another class in that beautiful building.

  • Mason's activities: Phi Omega Phi fraternity, History Club and Order of Omega

    (See Mason's page link)

    Mason Kienzle

    "I met Mason for the first time as a student in my Roman History course. He got my attention by the way he really seriously interacted with the material. He’s been the same in every class since, and that serious approach is currently on display in his work on his senior thesis. I’m thrilled that Mason will be spending this summer excavating at the ancient Roman town of Gabii!"

    — Dr. Emil Kramer
    Chair, Department of Classics

    Mason Kienzle

    Majors: History honors, education
    Minor: Classical studies of Latin

    Post-grad plans: Graduate school for history or possibly teaching or law school

    Why did you choose to attend Augustana?
    I chose Augustana because of the size of the student body, the personal interaction with professors, the campus and the liberal arts education.

    Are you where you thought you’d be four years ago?
    My perspectives and interests regarding many things have changed. I also feel a lot more confident and prepared for my future.

    Who helped you get to where you are now?
    I have had a great experience with all of my professors here at Augustana and enjoyed their classes — especially Dr. Kramer, Dr. Warren, Dr. Ellis, Dr. Hooker, Dr. Lee and Dr. Schroeder, who each have offered me great insight in the classroom and great advice outside of it. Each of them is a great example of how to approach a liberal arts education and how to truly appreciate academic scholarship.

    A peak experience?
    Researching and putting together my history honors capstone with Dr. Kramer. I really enjoyed the project and learned a lot from it.

    How did you use your Augie Choice?
    I went to Rome with the Augie summer program led by Dr. Lee. It was a great trip!

    What did you learn about yourself in these past four years that surprised you?
    I learned that I have a deep appreciation for historical studies. I also learned how to truly commit myself to my studies.

    What will you miss the most?
    I will miss the tight-knit community, friends, professors and the campus the most.

  • Alannah's activities: Ladies of Vital Essence, Spring Forward Learning Center

    (See Alannah's page link)

    Alannah Golden

    "I think the best word to describe Alannah Golden is: humanitarian. Alannah has given countless hours working for the well-being of others, especially the lives of recent immigrant families. She not only rolls up her own sleeves teaching English and providing after-school enrichment activities, she has been the catalyst behind the involvement of other Augie students getting in these programs. I predict that Alannah will someday earn the "Citizen of the Year" award."

    — Dr. Charles Hyser
    Professor, Education

    Alannah Golden

    Major: Elementary education

    Post-grad plans: Seeking a teaching position in the Quad Cities.

    Why did you choose to attend Augustana?
    One of my high school mentors recommended I visit Augustana, and I was heartened by the administration and students I came in contact with while touring the beautiful campus.

    Are you where you thought you’d be four years ago?
    Not exactly… although I have reached many goals as a beginning teacher, I am more surprised at the kind of person I am today. I value the education I have received at Augustana because it has helped to mold me into a strong, tolerant and contributing member of our community.

    Who helped you get to where you are now?
    I credit my mother for my small successes. She has demonstrated incredible strength and tenacity. From her, I learned what it means to be resilient and to take life’s hardships in stride.   

    A peak experience?
    My peak experience at Augustana was studying abroad in Ghana this past winter. To have the opportunity to completely immerse oneself in another culture is incredibly rewarding, and I am very fortunate to have had to chance to do so.

    How did you use your Augie Choice?
    I did field research at the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind in St. Augustine, Florida, my sophomore year and presented at a national conference the following year in Denver.

    What did you learn about yourself in these past four years that surprised you?
    I learned that I am not as shy as I like to think I am. I have learned that the key to receiving all of life’s wonders is to open yourself up. Many of the wonderful opportunities I have been awarded while at Augie, have come from just asking. I would advise incoming students to not let shyness or insecurities keep you from experiencing greatness.

    What will you miss the most?
     I will miss studying in the education department. Second floor of Evald is such a special place, and I cherish the bonds I have made with both my professors and classmates.

  • Jennifer's activities: Varsity cross country, varsity track & field, Sigma Pi Delta sorority, Alpha Phi Omega service fraternity

    (See Jennifer's page link)

    Jennifer Prazak

    "Jen exudes enthusiasm and determination for learning. She came to Augustana with a specific career goal in mind, but as she engaged in diverse opportunities on and off campus, she found her passions evolve for something even more exciting. These experiences helped shape Jen to be the natural leader and inquisitive scholar that she is and will serve as a foundation for her success after Augustana."

    — Dr. Scott Gehler
    Assistant Professor, Biology

    Jennifer Prazak

    Majors: Biology

    Post-grad plans: Accelerated bachelor of science in nursing program at Saint Louis University.

    Why did you choose to attend Augustana?
    My sister attended Augie, and every time I visited the campus, I could easily picture myself going here. The faculty seemed to truly care about the well-being of its students; the biology program had a strong reputation; and Augie offered me the opportunity to continue competing in track and cross country.

    Are you where you thought you’d be four years ago?
    As a freshman, I was set on becoming an optometrist, but after two medical mission trips across seas, a handful of science classes and countless other experiences — including meetings with vocational counselor Laura Mahn — I am now going into a career in nursing and couldn’t be happier.

    Who helped you get to where you are now?
    Dr. Dara Wegman-Geedey and Laura Mahn have helped me redirect my career path time and time again. Phenomenal professors such as Dr. Gehler have helped me further develop my educational interests. My coach Fred Whiteside, along with the other coaches as well as my teammates, have helped me develop my character, and my parents and friends have believed in me and given me the support and confidence to take risks.

    A peak experience?
    This past indoor track season I had the honor of running on the 4x800 relay team that broke the school record. My teammates are some of the greatest people I will ever know. We have trained together and pushed each other 30+ hours a week, year-round for the past four years, so to be able to share such a great accomplishment with my best friends makes the experience that much sweeter.

    How did you use your Augie Choice?
    I went on a medical mission trip to Nicaragua with 50 Augustana students and faculty where we were able to help more than 400 medical patients, 300 dental patients, 500 animals, and provide 100 home visits to 12 different Nicaraguan towns.

    What did you learn about yourself in these past four years that surprised you?
    I’ve discovered who I am, what I stand for, what I love, and how to be the best version of myself that I can. I have never felt so comfortable and proud of the person I have become, thanks to the Augustana environment and its ability to mold its students into some of the most well-rounded, motivated and successful individuals.

    What will you miss the most?
    The people of course — my hilarious friends and teammates, my cheerful bosses, my sorority sisters, my neighbors, the kind faculty, and the daily greetings from the lunch lady Maria and the science building custodian Sue. But also the little things — ice baths full of all the teams on campus, Aces rides, Old Main lit up at night, Westerlin fruit, impromptu Clogustana performances, vocal valentines, Fred Whiteside’s jokes and cross country camp.

    Advice for the Class of 2017?
    Meet as many different people as possible because everyone has a story and you never know a person’s until you ask. Find something you’re passionate about. Be adventurous. Take risks. A wise man once told me, “It’s easier to ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission.”

  • Neal's activities: Gay-Straight Alliance, Saga Art & Literary Magazine, Hillel, Augustana Observer, Phi Beta Kappa

    (See Neal's page link)

    Neal Shipley

    "'Do you know what 'diamanté' is? Is this one?' That's the first Neal Shipley question I recall; he was a first-year student at the first After Hours Poetry and Prose meeting of 2009, and he was handing me a diamond-shaped poem. Two semesters later, Neal received the Eddy Mabry Diversity Award for his poem 'In Hopes it May Stop Sounding Queer to You.' More than any student I've worked with, Neal has taken advantage of, and contributed to, Augustana's curriculum and faculty, campus and student life. He's taking the last of several independent studies he's done in poetry, and I am impressed again with the questions he asks, the schedule he keeps, and the many awards and recognitions he has earned here, including the deep admiration and respect of his peers, employers and professors."

    — Rebecca Wee
    Professor, English

    Neal Shipley

    Majors: English, sociology (social welfare)
    Minors: Women’s and gender studies

    Post-grad plans: I hope to find a job in the social services in the Quad-City area, move into a swanky but affordable apartment with one of my best friends, and start ‘living life’ for a few years before pursuing a graduate degree in poetry. 

    Why did you choose to attend Augustana?
    My middle school choir teacher is an Augie alumna, and if I remember anything from choir, it’s the Augie poster that hung in the back of her classroom. When it came time to start looking for colleges, I decided to check Augustana out simply because I liked my choir teacher, and so logically figured Augustana would be a cool place. After visiting campus, sitting in on a few classes and doing an overnight, I just knew Augustana was ‘right.’ Although I applied to a few other schools, Augie was by far my top choice.

    Are you where you thought you’d be four years ago?
    Yes and no. I came to Augie dead set on being a sociology major, and becoming a social worker — and lo and behold, that’s exactly what’s happened. However, the ‘liberal arts experience’ also helped me foster and further my love for literature, and influenced my choice to become an English major — this also led me to meeting our fantastic creative writing faculty, and encouraged me to start writing ‘seriously.’ Since then, my poetry has been featured at local exhibits and readings, and I have also been published to a few national poetry reviews. That’s a path I could never have planned to take, but am so incredibly happy to have been led down.

    Who helped you get to where you are now?
    Pretty much every member of the English department. Professors Wee, Bertram and Marklevitz all helped me ‘become’ a poet, and have since continued making me a better one. Dr. Youngberg is the reason for my absolute love of English drama (which I may someday pursue a graduate degree in), taking a class with Dr. Greene whipped my critical and academic writing into shape — and this list could go on for pages. I must also tip my hat to our small but mighty sociology/WGS department — Drs. Croll, Sommer, Smith, Simonsen and Kivisto — for being fantastic not only as professors, but also mentors, and helping me find not only a major, but truly a career path that I’m very excited for.

    A peak experience?
    Hands down my study abroad term to Vietnam with Drs. Ericson, Crowe, Baugus and Hanson. Each of the professors brought their own passion for the country (be it the literature, people or country itself) that made traveling a truly immersive experience, because as a group we were just entrenched in everything the culture and country had to offer. It was also so incredibly fun to be with a group of people I had never met, and probably would have never considered ‘hanging out’ with under normal circumstances. Traveling together, we formed entirely unique friendships that have survived even after returning to campus. I’d experienced international travel before going to Vietnam, but the study abroad term is such a unique, rich experience that I know can never again be replicated.

    How did you use your Augie Choice?
    Over this past summer I had an internship at a not-for-profit LGBTQ community center in the Quad Cities. Since the internship was unpaid, I was able to use Augie Choice as a stipend to cover my living costs during the summer months.

    What did you learn about yourself in these past four years that surprised you?
    I’ve learned just how tough I am. The ‘college experience’ demands a lot mentally, emotionally, socially and sometimes physically — and I’ve been able to withstand it all. I was not an impressive high school student. I didn’t try hard at most things I liked, and I really couldn’t give two wits about the things I didn’t like. But since getting to Augie, something about that has changed. First off, I find myself truly interested in almost everything I pursue (probably the benefit of our amazing professors), and second, I find myself pursuing those things wholeheartedly. It’s been challenging, to say the least. But also so very rewarding.

    What will you miss the most?
    The various staff that I’ve gotten to know over the past four years; facilities workers, dining hall staff and building secretaries. They are not only essential to the college’s successful functioning — they truly care about their jobs, and they truly care about us. While classes, professors and the students I see around campus change from term to term, I can always find the staff in the same places, usually at the same times. It’s a small comfort, but it goes a long way. They’ve all taken the place of ‘moms’ and ‘dads’ over the past four years; asking how the day went, how I like my classes, and telling me to eat more, I’ve gotten too thin.

    Anything you want to add that we didn't ask about?
    My advisor, Rebecca Wee, tells all her classes that, ‘even if you don’t want to go to something, just go,’ because you will never be in a place where you have access to so many things — lectures, concerts, art shows and the like — usually for free, in one place. So it’s true — even if it doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, even if you’d rather stay in bed and watch movies all day, go to campus events. Usually, you’ll end up glad that you did.

  • Emily's activities: Varsity swimming, Chi Alpha Pi sorority, Saga Magazine, Club Water Polo, Order of Omega, River Readings Series, Omicron Delta Kappa leadership honor society

    (See Emily's page link)

    Emily Timmons

    "Emily Timmons is that rare student who enjoys taking creative risks. Not content with repeating what she knows she can do well, she enjoys challenging herself to try new techniques, new genres, new ways of shaping human experience in words. Yet her risk-taking is never rash. It's thoughtful, disciplined, considered. To discuss a piece of writing with her is to take the best of risks — changing your own mind."

    — Dr. Ann Boaden
    Adjunct Professor, English

    Emily Timmons

    Majors: English, creative writing
    Minor: Art history

    Post-grad plans: I am currently looking for an entry-level position in publishing, editing or book publicity in the Chicago area.

    Why did you choose to attend Augustana?
    I picked Augustana because it felt like home on my first visit, even though it was horrifically cold outside. I can't pinpoint exactly why I fell in love with Augie that day — it might've been the fact that everyone was so kind, or that the campus was beautiful. But by the time my visit was over, I didn't want to leave.

    Are you where you thought you’d be four years ago?
    Yes and no. I’m still an English major, but adding the creative writing major and the art history minor were things I didn’t think I’d do. I knew I’d swim all four years, but I never thought I’d improve my personal best times so drastically and rank on the Top 10 list. I knew I wanted to get involved in new things, but I never guessed that I’d be elected for leadership roles in multiple organizations, or that I’d be involved in so much.

    Who helped you get to where you are now?
    My parents were always very supportive when I told them I was joining something new or running for a leadership position. They never told me I couldn’t do something. They respected that my college experience was my own, and I’m grateful for that.

    A peak experience?
    Founding the first-ever Life Raft Debate through Order of Omega was one peak experience. It was the first time I’d had an idea that I got to see through to fruition, and it was the first time I realized how much I could rely on other people to help. I was also able to establish a women’s water polo club team last year separate from the men’s so that we could become more competitive. Finally, working as a student assistant to the River Readings and working with Saga as a poetry board editor gave me valuable experience that I hope to apply to my future career.

    How did you use your Augie Choice?
    I used Augie Choice to support myself during the two internships I held in spring term this year.

    What did you learn about yourself in these past four years that surprised you?
    I learned that I’m much more driven, productive and outgoing than I thought I was.

    What will you miss the most?
    My swim team is a big one. My best friends have come from the team, and we’ve all become so close over the last few years as we watched the program grow. I still can’t believe that it’s over. Greek life is another one. When it comes down to it though, I’m really just going to miss seeing my friends every day.

    Advice for the Class of 2017?
    Get involved, and try everything! A class could inspire you to take on a new major or minor. Joining a club could lead you to a future career. You never know!

  • Kimberly's activities: Clogustana, Alpha Phi Omega (national service fraternity)

    (See Kimberly's page link)

    Kimberly Olson

    "Kim stands out as one of the more mature and dedicated students I have worked with at Augustana. She explored internship opportunities in both public and private accounting, and led our AICPA case competition team to new heights—reaching the semifinals of the national competition. Kim leveraged those experiences to garner a full-time job opportunity with a public accounting firm. It has been a pleasure working with Kim — we’ve shared many laughs during class and advising sessions over chocolate chip cookies. I look forward to staying in touch with Kim and hearing of her future success in the years to come."

    — Dr. John Delaney
    Associate Professor, Chair of Accounting

    Kimberly Olson

    Majors: Accounting, business administration (management and management information systems)

    Post-grad plans: Auditor at Selden Fox, LTD, in Oak Brook, Ill., while pursuing my CPA and CFE designations

    Why did you choose to attend Augustana?
    I was influenced by a couple of my high school teachers to go to Augustana because they spoke highly of the college. I also loved the student/faculty ratio, so I knew I wouldn’t be just another student in my classes. The two-hour distance away from home was ideal, and the gorgeous campus was definitively a plus.

    Are you where you thought you’d be four years ago?
    I am definitely not where I thought I’d be four years ago. Originally, I was going to be a secondary education and English major, but I started to realize that I was meant to do something else. I switched to accounting and business, and I loved it from the very beginning. The faculty were amazing, and the opportunities were abundant. I have also realized what I am truly interested in and passionate about… and that is auditing and fraud investigation.

    Who helped you get to where you are now?
    The accounting faculty have helped me tremendously, especially my advisor, Dr. John Delaney. He always influenced me to do my best, and was always there to help me when I needed it. He not only became by advisor but also my life coach, and I am very thankful for that.

    A peak experience?
    It’s very difficult to pick just one peak experience, but my internship with State Farm in Bloomington, Ill., this past winter term is one of them. The experience opened my eyes to what my majors have to offer and it developed me professionally. I also met some amazing people at State Farm, and will cherish those contacts for many years to come.

    How did you use your Augie Choice?
    I used my Augie Choice to go to Rome, Italy, for a couple weeks with 15 or so of my classmates and Dr. Dan Lee. It was an amazing cultural experience, and I would not take back the experience for anything.

    What did you learn about yourself in these past four years that surprised you?
    I learned that I am not as shy as I used to be. I am not afraid to ask questions or seek help when I need it. I have also learned that everything works out in the end, and that if I work hard at everything and anything I do, it will pay off. Augustana has helped me grow as an individual and helped me become the person I am today.

    What will you miss the most?
    I will miss the amazing people I have gotten to know these past four years — friends and faculty. 

    Advice for the Class of 2017?
    Don’t be afraid of what lies ahead, and don’t be afraid to learn from your mistakes. You should always ask yourself if you have done your best. If yes, then that is all you can ask of yourself. Also, don't try to fit in; just be yourself and the rest will follow.

  • Astrid's activities: Psi Chi (national honor society in psychology), Psychology Club, Phi Beta Kappa

    (See Astrid’s page link)

    Astrid Tello-Rodriguez

    "Astrid is an incredibly talented, intelligent and committed woman who is a joy to work with both in and out of the classroom. She is driven to make a difference in our world and has chosen to do so through a career in social work."

    — Dr. Jessica Schultz
    Assistant Professor, Psychology

    Astrid Tello-Rodriguez

    Major: Psychology
    Minors: Philosophy, Spanish

    Post-grad plans: Master of social work program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

    Why did you choose to attend Augustana?
    I felt very comfortable every time I came to visit. Everyone was very welcoming, and I could see myself interacting with the faculty and students I met.

    Are you where you thought you’d be four years ago?
    I am not where I thought I’d be four years ago. When I first came to Augustana, I wanted to be a pre-med major and go on to medical school to study developmental neuroscience. During my time here, I’ve changed my major and my ultimate career goal.

    Who helped you get to where you are now?
    I believe that I am where I am now due to the encouragement and guidance I received from my mom, certain professors and my work supervisors. Not only did they all encourage me to try new experiences, but they also helped me realize new ways in which I can use my talents.

    A peak experience?
    My peak experience was the trip I took last February to Guatemala with my Childhood in the Developing World class. It was such an amazing experience because working with different NGOs in such a new environment helped reaffirm my career goals and helped me realize that I want to some day work with an international social service organization.

    How did you use your Augie Choice?
    I used Augie Choice to go to Guatemala with my class. I’m glad that I was able to use this resource because it helped me have one of the most amazing experiences I’ve had in my life so far.

    What did you learn about yourself in these past four years that surprised you?
    One surprising thing that I learned about myself these past four years is that I am a very strong and committed person. I also learned that I am very capable of making it through trying situations as long as I recognize when I need to reach out for help.

    What will you miss the most?
    I’ll miss interacting daily with the wonderful people I’ve met here. I’ve built strong relationships with several people who I really look up to, and I’ll miss being able to see them and talk to them so often.

  • Jonathan's activities: Varsity cross country, varsity track & field

    (See Jonathan's page link)

    Jonathan Smith

    "Jonathan Smith is an exceptional student majoring in biology, and he is a terrific athlete with great leadership qualities. He was a captain of the cross country team, and in the national meet he achieved All-American status — only the top 35 runners IN THE COUNTRY (out of thousands) achieve this. As a student, he achieved the Academic All-American award from the national coaches' association, and he's a great student not just in biology. He was in my 309 English class and brought meaningful insight and a clear, articulate voice to every class, every paper."

    — Dr. Paul Olsen
    Professor, English
    Head Coach, Men’s Track & Field
    and Men’s Cross Country

    Jonathan Smith

    Majors: Biology

    Post-grad plans: I plan on spending a year away from academics to work and decide what I want to do long term. At this point, I am considering getting a master’s in education or kinesiology in the hopes of one day coaching cross country and track at the high school or collegiate level. 

    Why did you choose to attend Augustana?
    I chose to attend Augustana because of its strong biology program and its great track and cross country programs under Coach Olsen. 

    Are you where you thought you’d be four years ago?
    I am not sure I ever knew where I wanted to be at this point in my life, but I can say that the last four years have been the greatest four years of my life, and I am excited to see where life takes me after graduating from Augustana. 

    Who helped you get to where you are now?
    My parents and Coach Ols’ were the biggest factors in helping me get to where I am now. I couldn’t have had such a great career in running and academics without their help and encouragement. 

    A peak experience?
    My peak experience at Augustana was getting All-American honors at the NCAA cross country meet last fall. It was the culmination of fours years of hard work and great experiences with my coaches and teammates. It felt amazing to achieve the highest goal I set for myself during my college running career. 

    What did you learn about yourself in these past four years that surprised you?
    I am surprised by how much my passion in running has spilled over to academics and driven me to be successful in both. I would attribute that exchange of hard work from sports to academics to Coach Ols' and the experiences I have had on the track and cross country teams. 

    What will you miss the most?
    After I graduate, I will miss being able to experience Augie cross country and track on a daily basis the most. It was great to feel like I was a part of something bigger than myself. 

  • Eric's activities:Augustana Choir, Student United Way, Campus Ministries Leadership Team, Honor Council, Office of Student Activities, Peer Mentor

    (See Eric's page link)

    Eric Pease

    "Eric is a well-rounded young man with a passion for learning. He challenges himself and others in a positive and energetic manner. His inquisitive nature and sense of humor will be missed!"

    — Dr. Kimberly Murphy
    Assistant Professor, Biology

    Eric Pease

    Majors: Neuroscience, pre-medicine

    Post-grad plans: Pursue the doctor of osteopathic medicine at Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences

    Why did you choose to attend Augustana?
    Augustana was always on my radar. There were several teachers at my high school who were alumni and encouraged me to look into Augie. As I began to explore Augustana and other colleges, I found the academics and reputation of Augustana in preparing students for medical school was well ahead of so many others. On one of my visits to campus as a prospective, I soon realized that this was the place for me — a place where I could grow into the person I wanted to become. 

    Are you where you thought you’d be four years ago?
    I am where I thought I would be, but the opportunities and experiences I have had along the way were far more than I ever imagined. Augustana has allowed me to challenge myself and grow — not only as a student, but as a person, too. 

    Who helped you get to where you are now?
    This is such a hard question for me because I have been extremely fortunate in having so many mentors and role models over the past four years: professors, employers, staff members. Augustana is filled with people who love what they do, and those individuals’ passion and devotion for their work has inspired me to pursue a future filled with finding joy in the things I undertake. 

    A peak experience?
    Traveling to Houston, Texas, for an internship at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center has been the highlight of my Augustana career. Working at MD Anderson challenged me in ways I never imagined, and from those challenges, I gained a deeper understanding of myself and a greater desire to pursue a career in medicine.

    How did you use your Augie Choice?
    I traveled to Germany and Austria on a 15-day tour with the Augustana Choir, and my Augie Choice money helped to fund that trip for me. By learning about the German culture and participating in a project with the German people on commemorating and honoring those lost in the tragedies of World War II, I developed great respect for the power of collaboration and the universal language of music.

    What did you learn about yourself in these past four years that surprised you?
    I have learned how important each and every person is. Seeing all of the roles in the daily operations of the college — students, faculty, secretaries, facilities services, food service workers, public safety (and so many others!) — has shown me that we all have special gifts and contributions to make. Through working together and celebrating the talents of others, we gain a stronger appreciation for those people who we get the chance to work with on a day-to-day basis.

    What will you miss the most?
    John Keats once said, ‘A thing of beauty is a joy forever.’ How true it is that Augustana, for me, has been a thing of beauty that will be a joy forever. I will miss walking through campus and seeing so many friendly faces and interacting with people who love what they do and love Augustana. I will hold the relationships I have made near and dear to me as I leave Augustana, and I will keep in touch with so many who have helped me become the person I am today. 

    Advice for the Class of 2017?
    Enjoy every minute, meet every person you can, and never be afraid to try something new. Great opportunities are available to those who come to Augustana and seizing those opportunities will allow you to experience more than you ever imagined in just four short years.

  • Rachel's activities: Varsity soccer, Phi Rho sorority, Phi Beta Kappa

    (See Rachel's page link)

    rachel lenke

    "Rachel easily makes the list of the top 10 students I’ve had in the past 15 years. It has been so incredibly rewarding working with Rachel over the past year and half, as her advisor and mentor, and to see her blossom into a top-notch scholar, presenting her Senior Inquiry project on domestic violence in Brazil at three conferences, including the second largest political science conference in the United States."

    — Dr. Mariano Magalhães
    Professor, Political Science

    Rachel Lenke

    Majors: Political science, communication studies
    Minor: Art

    Post-grad plans: Master of public policy program at Loyola University–Chicago

    Why did you choose to attend Augustana?
    Augustana offered me the opportunity to pursue a variety of my interests. I have been on the women’s soccer team for four years; I have an art scholarship that has provided me with an art minor; I am in a sorority; I work on campus; and I have traveled around the United States and to four countries abroad, just to name a few of the opportunities provided to me.

    Are you where you thought you’d be four years ago?
    I had no idea where I would be at the end of four years of college, but I could not be more excited about where I have ended up. In my time at Augie, I have pushed myself as a student, as an athlete and as an individual. Looking back on the last four years, I can truthfully say I am proud of who I have become, and I feel prepared to take on the challenges that lie ahead of me.

    Who helped you get to where you are now?
    My parents have been incredibly supportive of my ambitions and have encouraged me to take advantage of every opportunity Augie has to offer. My professors have offered me wonderful guidance, and my advisor, Mariano Magalhães, has provided me with learning opportunities, advice and guidance that have made me the person I am today.

    A peak experience?
    I have been fortunate enough to experience a variety of ‘peak experiences’ while at Augie, and the most notable definitely include my travel experiences. I traveled to California, Washington, France, Italy and Spain with the Augie soccer team during my four years, and these were unforgettable experiences. I also traveled to Brazil in my junior year for a travel abroad term and returned again that summer to conduct research and complete my Senior Inquiry project. 

    How did you use your Augie Choice?
    I used my Augie Choice money the summer before my junior year to fund part of my soccer trip to Europe.

    What did you learn about yourself in these past four years that surprised you?
    I have shocked myself in my accomplishments within the last four years, and I have learned that my potential and abilities far surpass what I ever anticipated for myself. Augustana has allowed me to discover my true passions, and I am now prepared to pursue a future that I would never have expected when I arrived on campus my freshman year.

    What will you miss the most?
    I will miss my friends and roommates the most when I leave campus. I have made some incredible friendships, and I know it will feel very strange not seeing these people every day.

    Advice for the Class of 2017?
    Do not wait until your sophomore year to try something new or to get involved. Be brave and put yourself out there from the moment you step on campus.

  • Tyrrell's activities: Rho Nu Delta fraternity, Augustana Choir, Office of Student Activities (OSA)

    (See Tyrrell's page link)

    Tyrrell Jeffries

    "Tyrrell is a leader both inside and outside of the classroom at Augustana. It has been a pleasure to get to know him over the past three years. From the statistics course he took with me in his sophomore year through completing his Senior Inquiry research this winter, Tyrrell has always been one to ask the hard questions and keep me on my toes. He is an outstanding individual, and I cannot wait to see the great things he will accomplish after graduating from Augustana."

    — Dr. Paul Croll
    Assistant Professor, Sociology

    Tyrrell Jeffries

    Majors: Political science, sociology

    Post-grad plans: I am deferring law school for two years and joining the Teach for American program. Hopefully, I can take a little time off and impact some young people similar to myself at the same time!

    Why did you choose to attend Augustana?
    It was the first school in my college search that made me feel like an adult — someone who was actually trying to make a very important decision, and not just another potential student to fill enrollment. 

    Are you where you thought you’d be four years ago?
    I am far beyond where I thought I would be. I have grown in so many ways in my four years as a student at Augie, including mentally, physically and spiritually.  

    Who helped you get to where you are now?
    My family has helped me get to where I am by always believing in me. They truly make me believe that I can do anything I set my mind to and decide to take on.  

    A peak experience?
    One of my peak experiences at Augustana was the international choir tour to Germany and Austria my junior year. It was my first time out of the country, and we got to learn and see so much of the country. It opened my eyes to the reality of how big and different the rest of the world is.  

    How did you use your Augie Choice?
    I used my Augie Choice to go on the international choir tour in 2012. It was a great experience, and well worth it!

    What did you learn about yourself in these past four years that surprised you?
    I have learned that you can continue to push yourself past whatever limits or boundaries you thought existed. I have taken on more, gained leadership roles, and have had many challenging and memorable experiences — all while being determined to finish a double major and getting the most out of both inside and outside the classroom.

    What will you miss the most?
    I will miss seeing a new and friendly face every single day. You are always guaranteed to see a new person on campus who you hadn’t seen before. 

    Anything you want to add that we didn't ask about?
    Augie gives you so many different opportunities that all lead to wonderful experiences. Something I am truly grateful for!

    Wabash National Study of Liberal Arts Education, 2013

  • Angela's activities: Community Advisor, Camp Kesem Augustana, Alpha Phi Omega (service), RHA Publicity Chair, National Residence Hall Honorary vice president, Psi Chi psychology honor society

    (See Angela's page link)

    Angela Conte

    "Two of Angela’s research projects received an Undergraduate Research Award from Psi Chi, the International Honor Society in Psychology (several hundred dollars each). There is about a nine in 10,000 chance that a student with two posters would have both posters selected by chance. So I am going to attribute her success to talent and hard work, not just good luck. I like her story because she has always been interested in psych, but she describes her discovery of research as an exciting, eye-opening experience."

    — Dr. Daniel Corts
    Associate Professor, Psychology

    Angela Conte

    Major: Psychology
    Minors: Anthropology and sociology

    Post-grad plans: Master’s program in cognitive and behavioral sciences at Illinois State University.

    Why did you choose to attend Augustana?
    The campus was beautiful, and I liked the general atmosphere of the college. I felt welcomed by the faculty and enjoyed the fact that there were small class sizes.  

    Are you where you thought you’d be four years ago?
    I could have never imagined where I am today. I have been provided with so many opportunities that I didn't even know were available. I am so happy with where I am today, and I wouldn’t trade my Augustana experience for anything.    

    Who helped you get to where you are now?
    I wouldn’t be where I am today without my parents. They have supported me throughout my four years and encouraged me to strive for the best. Many faculty members have also helped me to achieve my goals.

    A peak experience?
    A peak experience for me would have to be attending Augustana’s first Camp Kesem camp. The group was started from the ground up, and we were able to provide a very successful free weeklong camp to children whose parents suffer from cancer. This was by far the most amazing week of my life, and it validated all the hard work we had done.

    How did you use your Augie Choice?
    I attended the Eastern Psychological Association conference in New York to present my research during a poster session. I would not have been able to travel and gain this experience without the help of Augie Choice. 

    What did you learn about yourself in these past four years that surprised you?
    I think I was most surprised by how driven I am. I realize I will do anything to achieve my goals and work hard to make sure it happens.   

    What will you miss the most?
    I will miss the most all the people I have met. I have met my best friends here at Augustana, and I can’t imagine not seeing them every day. So many memories at Augustana involve the people I have surrounded myself with.

  • Meredith's activities: Phi Rho sorority

    (See Meredith's page link)

    Meredith Skala

    "We often hear students and alumni talk about influential professors... well, that scenario can be played in reverse. Yes, sometimes professors talk about memorable students. Meredith Skala is one of those students. A student who valued learning more than grades, service to others more than being served, and challenge more than security. For me, working with Meredith was a privilege and an honor!"

    — Dr. Charles Hyser
    Professor, Education

    Meredith Skala

    Major: Elementary education

    Post-grad plans: Seeking employment as an elementary education teacher — open to where this profession may take me!

    Why did you choose to attend Augustana?
    The atmosphere at Augustana is one of a kind, and it sold me. My mother graduated Augustana in 1980, and although she never pushed me to attend her alma mater, she is the reason I visited the school — I couldn't be more grateful!

    Are you where you thought you’d be four years ago?
    To be honest, I had no idea where this path would lead me. I’ve grown tremendously in various aspects of my life — some expected, others not so much. All I can say is that I couldn’t be happier with the person I’ve become these past four years and the things I have accomplished.

    Who helped you get to where you are now?
    I would not be where I am today without the support systems present in my life. Augustana’s education department has played a vital role in my development as an individual and as an educator. They have truly set the example for what it means to be influential. My family has always encouraged my aspirations and motivated me to excel. Finally, words can’t really describe how much of an impact my friends have had on my life. I am blessed to have had such amazing people by my side through this journey! Through their motivation, guidance, support and interest in me as an individual, I can confidently say these people have helped me grow into the woman I am today.

    A peak experience?
    Going to Cambodia was an experience that fell into my life at the perfect time. I would say it was my peak experience because it was the most unexpected and the most impacting. Nothing I could say about this trip could ever truly do it justice. I am so grateful to Augustana for presenting me with this opportunity!

    How did you use your Augie Choice?
    I am proud to say Augie Choice helped me make my way to Cambodia for five weeks this past winter. I would venture to say that going on this trip was quite possibly the best decision I could’ve made at this point in my life.

    What did you learn about yourself in these past four years that surprised you?
    The appreciation I have for being put outside my comfort zone. 

    What will you miss the most?
    Hard to pinpoint one thing. I’d say the comfort Augie has provided me with in all aspects of my life — the friends I’ve matured with, the influential professors I’ve learned from, the environment and atmosphere I’ve grown to love.

  • Kevin's activities: Varsity basketball, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Peer Mentor Program, AICPA Case Competition Team

    (See Kevin's page link)

    Kevin Waibel

    "Kevin is exceptional. Other students want to work with him because of his knowledge, attitude and generosity. Faculty want to teach him because he is intelligent, involved and a great spark for the classroom. His involvement does not stop at the classroom door. He was one of the four students who took an AICPA case study into the semi-finals and brought national recognition to the college. One day I look forward to attending his promotion party when he becomes a partner in the Big 4 or a CFO of a Fortune 500 company."

    — Dr. Pamela Druger
    Professor, Accounting

    Kevin Waibel

    Major: Accounting and business administration (marketing)

    Post-grad plans: I plan to come back for Augustana’s CPA Certificate Program, and hopefully my current internship at Deloitte leads to a full-time offer.

    Why did you choose to attend Augustana?
    My first time on Augustana's campus, I stayed overnight on a visit for basketball. I got a tour and met people within the business and accounting departments. The people I met were welcoming and friendly. It was the most inviting school I visited, and the allure of the basketball program helped as well.

    Are you where you thought you’d be four years ago?
    When I came to Augustana, I knew that I would do business and accounting, but there is no way I envisioned being where I am. The accounting department and basketball program have given me so many opportunities, including my current internship at Deloitte. I am thankful for the faculty at Augustana for being flexible and helping me succeed.

    Who helped you get to where you are now?
    The accounting department and basketball staff have really kept me on track even after I wasn’t able to continue basketball this year. Everyone at Augustana has an open-door policy and will go out of their way to assist you. I also need to mention Matt Pelton and Bryant Voiles, who were both great friends and mentors, as well as everyone I have taken classes with. Our campus is so tight-knit, and there are so many people who have helped along the way.

    A peak experience?
    My peak experience here at Augustana would have to be the trip I was able to take with the basketball team to China. Dr. Norm Moline accompanied us, and we had a meaningful and educational trip — learning about a new culture and playing basketball with my best friends.

    How did you use your Augie Choice?
    I used my Augie Choice for the trip to China.

    What did you learn about yourself in these past four years that surprised you?
    I learned that I have many different interests that go beyond sports and friends. I was a peer mentor twice, did ADs for a year, as well participate in the AICPA accounting competition. Getting out of my shell, I was able to meet different people and develop new interests and relationships. I never saw myself as someone who would do stuff outside of sports and school, but now I can't see myself not doing those things.

    What will you miss the most?
    I will miss the people the most. From the professors to all of my classmates, Augustana is an environment where you can always find someone to help or just talk to. I will miss all of my friends who I can count on for just about anything. It will be different to not be able to just walk over and see people. I am excited for this class though, and I cannot wait to see where everyone is in five years.

    Advice for the Class of 2017?
    Don't be afraid to try something new and hang out with people who have different views and interests. Augustana offers so many different opportunities, and you will not regret extending yourself.

  • Hilary's activities: Student United Way, Honor Council, Alpha Phi Omega, Global Ambassador for International Student Orientation

    (See Hilary's page link)

    Hilary Timmerman

    "Hilary has a great enthusiasm for learning. She is highly self-motivated and has an outstanding work ethic. She goes beyond expectations to achieve the best she can in her studies. It has been a pleasure to have her in class and to oversee her Asian studies research project. I have no doubt that Hilary will do well in her future career."

    — Dr. Nirmala Salgado
    Professor, Religion

    Hilary Timmerman

    Major: International business, Asian studies

    Post-grad plans: I plan to move to Corpus Christi, Texas, with my fiancé and find an exciting and challenging career.

    Why did you choose to attend Augustana?
    I was really attracted to the close-knit, down-to-earth community that Augustana provided. Coming from a small high school, I needed a place where I was not just an ID number. I wanted to be known as Hilary, and I felt that way when visiting Augustana. 

    Are you where you thought you’d be four years ago?
    I assumed I would be nearing graduation, but I never imagined I would have learned so much from my college experience. Augie has molded me into the strong-willed and passionate person I am today.

    Who helped you get to where you are now?
    My parents. They have always been supportive of any decision I make. They listen to me complain about late nights of studying and help me celebrate my big accomplishments. I can’t imagine going through this adventure without them.

    A peak experience?
    My peak experience at Augustana was definitely my study abroad trip to East Asia. As a young sophomore, I was pushed out of my comfort zone and into a new major with a newfound interest in Asian culture. During my trip, I was given the opportunity to broaden my perspectives and see the world in a new light.

    How did you use your Augie Choice?
    I used Augie Choice to study abroad on East Asia Term.

    What did you learn about yourself in these past four years that surprised you?
    I was surprised by my curiosity for other countries and cultures. I came to Augustana with very limited knowledge of anything outside of the United States, and now, I am graduating with a degree in international business and Asian studies and a strong fascination for cultures different from my own.

    What will you miss the most?
    I will miss the opportunity to actively learn every day. I have made so many wonderful friends, both students and faculty, and I will miss being surrounded by these individuals who feed my curiosity and push me to learn and better myself.

    Advice for the Class of 2017?
    Don't be afraid to try something new and hang out with people who have different views and interests. Augustana offers so many different opportunities, and you will not regret extending yourself.

  • Queenie's activities: Cantilena Augustana, Phi Beta Kappa
    (Queenie's page link)

    Kai Yin (Queenie) Ho

    "I think what Queenie has accomplished over the past two years is remarkable. She transferred here as a junior and has conducted her anthropology Senior Inquiry research project within the Quad Cities’ Chinese community, spent a term abroad in Ireland and is graduating as a double major. She has truly made the most of what Augustana has to offer."

    — Dr. Carolyn Hough
    Assistant Professor; Sociology, Anthropology and Social Welfare

    Kai Yin (Queenie) Ho

    Majors: Anthropology, biology

    Post-grad plans: Study biological anthropology at St. John’s College, University of Cambridge through the Davies-Jackson Scholarship

    Why did you choose to attend Augustana?
    I chose to attend Augustana College because of its emphasis on the liberal arts. I knew that at Augie, I could pursue interests and studies in disciplines besides my major — and I did! I joined the Cantilena Augustana choir and worked at the art museum.

    Are you where you thought you’d be four years ago?
    Four years ago, I thought I would be in medicine. Now I am pursuing a course of study in biological anthropology at my dream school — St. John’s College, University of Cambridge. I couldn’t ask for more!

    Who helped you get to where you are now?
    My parents and my professors have been supportive of my endeavors. They challenge and inspire me to do better every day.  

    A peak experience?
    My peak experience is now! I’m currently studying abroad in Ireland, and I am learning so much from the experience of being here.

    How did you use your Augie Choice?
    I am using Augie Choice to study on Ireland term.  

    What did you learn about yourself in these past four years that surprised you?
    I learned that failure is a part of becoming successful, and that little mistakes along the way are inevitable. I just have to grow from them.  

    What will you miss the most?
    I will miss the atmosphere and the people at Augie the most. I love the feeling of being able to learn anything I possibly want to learn, and I love that everyone at Augie has so many interests and is knowledgeable about so many things.  

  • Corbin's activities: Phi Beta Kappa, Augustana Choir, Augustana Chamber Singers, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia (national music fraternity)
    (Corbin's page link)

    Corbin McGhee

    "Corbin is the kind of student who not only excels in his coursework (the ‘doing’ of academic work), but also lives the life of a talented and engaged musician (the ‘behaving’ of an insatiably curious mind). Furthermore, he has a great deal of awareness of his own progress through his studies — he knows a great deal, is excited to learn that which he doesn’t yet know, and has the wisdom to tell the difference between the two."

    — Dr. Rob Elfline
    Assistant Professor, Music

    Corbin McGhee

    Majors: Music, neuroscience

    Post-grad plans: K-12 music teacher in Teach For America Mississippi Corps

    Why did you choose to attend Augustana?
    I had a hard time choosing whether I wanted to attend a big school or a small school.  The moment, however, when I walked onto Augustana’s campus was the moment I decided. The feeling just felt extraordinary. Four years later, I couldn’t be happier with my decision.

    Are you where you thought you’d be four years ago?
    No, I am in an even better position. I came here with thoughts of being a music education major, but I had no real drive. It was Augustana that pushed me and challenged me to be better than I could imagine. 

    Who helped you get to where you are now?
    Dr. Hurty, the conductor of the Augustana Choir, is one of the most influential people I have met in my time at Augustana. Through his teaching, and just talking one-on-one with me, I have really grown to be a better musician and person. But aside from my professors, I would not be where I am today without the support of my friends. I work everyday to emulate their ability to love and to care. 

    A peak experience?
    This is a tough question! I don’t know if I could narrow it down to one. I would say some of my top experiences were with the Augustana Choir: performing at Carnegie Hall, singing the War Requiem in Germany, and just the experiences of singing Children of the Heavenly Father hand-in-hand with my friends.

    How did you use your Augie Choice?
    I used it to go to Germany with the Augustana Choir—such an awesome and life-changing trip!

    What did you learn about yourself in these past four years that surprised you?
    I learned that I will achieve nothing if I don’t put in 110% in effort. Work hard for what you want, and the moment you get it will feel amazing. 

    What will you miss the most?
    The thing I will miss most is my friends. Some of my favorite memories at Augustana are as simple as a movie night in my living room with my best friends. Those moments, though simple, will always bring me joy. 

    Wabash National Study of Liberal Arts Education, 2013

  • Alicia's activities: Augustana Observer, Student Government Association, WAUG, Sigma Alpha Iota, College Democrats, Club Tennis, Omicron Delta Kappa, Mortar Board, Concert Band
    (Alicia's page link)

    Alicia Oken

    "Alicia is the kind of student who translates her ambition into opportunities. Set aside her three majors for a moment — she has interned with members of Congress and WGN Radio, represented Augustana in regional and national leadership conferences, presented her research at a national undergraduate conference and served as a leader in campus organizations from politics to student media. And now she has been accepted to graduate programs in journalism at Columbia University and Georgetown University. I’m looking forward to seeing what happens next!"

    — Dr. Steve Klien
    Associate Professor, Communication Studies

    Alicia Oken

    Majors: Political science, communication studies, multimedia journalism and mass communication

    Post-grad plans: Georgetown University or Columbia University’s graduate school for journalism

    Why did you choose to attend Augustana?
    The people were really friendly, and I felt at home here. I visited a week before the college acceptance deadline, and when I was walking down the slough path, I knew this was where I was going to attend college. I also enjoyed the idea of trimesters.

    Are you where you thought you’d be four years ago?
    Absolutely not. I was not very active in high school so I never thought I’d become so involved in college. I used to make fun of those overachieving kids who seemed to participate in every single activity in high school, and now I am one of those people. I’ve been able to grow as a person and explore my varying interests. 

    Who helped you get to where you are now?
    My advisors Dr. Klien, Dr. Whitt and Dr. Dyer were definitely the three main people who helped me become the person I am today. Without these three professors, I would not have had the opportunity to triple major and probably would not have had as many of the experiences that define my college experience. They guided me in choosing classes, nominated me for so many incredible activities, and would always ask how I was doing. I cannot thank them enough for the impact they have had on my life. 

    A peak experience?
    I’ve had way too many peak experiences. My main ones would include going to a leadership conference at the U.S. Air Force Academy and presenting research papers at the University of St. Thomas and the University of Oklahoma. Collectively, these experiences were opportunities that most other colleges don’t give their students. Also, interning at WGN Radio was definitely a highlight. 

    How did you use your Augie Choice?
    I used Augie Choice in the summer between my sophomore and junior years. With Augie Choice, I was able to intern for Congressman Alcee Hastings in Washington, D.C., which was a dream come true. This was one of the more memorable experiences I’ve had throughout college, since I was able to intern in my favorite city and meet so many wonderful people.

    What did you learn about yourself in these past four years that surprised you?
    Four years ago, I had no interest in journalism. After becoming a writer for the Augustana Observer, I learned that I really love all aspects of journalism. Now I’m going to grad school for journalism! Had I not needed extra spending money, which prompted me to attend an Augustana Observer meeting, who knows where I would be?

    What will you miss the most?
    Definitely my friends and Whitey’s ice cream. It’s going to be a drastic change from living with someone for four years to seeing her only through Skype and on the holidays. I’m also going to miss seeing the slough path in the fall. There’s nothing quite like walking to class surrounded by a sea of red, yellow and orange.

    Advice for the Class of 2017?
    It’s really cliché but try new things. All of my favorite activities I joined because I was bored and had no homework the night of the meeting or because a friend convinced me to go. But without that initial step of attending a meeting to find out about an organization, I would not have so many incredible experiences. Also, make sure to smile at people.

  • Sarah's activities: Varsity volleyball, Augustana Student Speech and Hearing Association, Delta Chi Theta sorority, Order of Omega
    (Sarah's page link)

    Sarah Williamso

    "Sarah is a delightful, bright student who conducts herself with great maturity inside and outside the classroom. She made the academic all-conference team for volleyball and been an annual recipient of the Presidential Scholarship at Augustana College. After graduation, Sarah will attend graduate school in speech-language pathology"

    — Dr. Ann Perreau
    Assistant Professor, Communication Sciences and Disorders

    Sarah Williams

    Major: Communication sciences and disorders (CSD)
    Minor: Spanish

    Post-grad plans: Attend graduate school to obtain a master’s in speech-language pathology

    Why did you choose to attend Augustana?
    I chose to attend Augustana because of the beautiful campus and the relationships with faculty.

    Are you where you thought you’d be four years ago?
    When I arrived at Augustana, I had no idea which major I would choose. With the help of the Center for Vocational Reflection, I was able to determine what I was passionate about. By the end of my freshman year, I was certain that CSD was the major for me!

    Who helped you get to where you are now?
    I am thankful for the constant support I have received from my friends, family and teammates. My professors and clinical supervisors have motivated me to constantly try my hardest within the classroom and clinic. I have been fortunate enough to form personal relationships with the faculty members in my department, which I believe is a quality unique to Augustana.

    A peak experience?
    One of the greatest experiences I have had here at Augustana was joining a sorority. Another memorable experience was my senior volleyball season during which we reached our team goal of 20 wins. I have created lasting memories with the girls that I have been lucky enough to call my ‘teammates.’

    How did you use your Augie Choice?
    I will be using my Augie Choice to travel to Rome for 11 days this summer as part of the Christian Traditions course.

    What did you learn about yourself in these past four years that surprised you?
    I learned that I can accomplish even more than I thought possible. Being involved in several groups on campus helped me develop time management and leadership skills, which will be useful in graduate school and my future profession.

    What will you miss the most?
    I will miss the relationships that I have with my professors. I love that most of the professors keep their office doors open, and they are willing to let students stop by their offices to ask questions or just to chat.

    Advice for the Class of 2017?
    Take advantage of everything that Augustana has to offer. Join multiple groups on campus, study abroad and make the time to form lasting relationships. The four years will fly by!

  • Brooke's activities: Augustana Choir, Sigma Alpha Iota (National Women's Music Fraternity), Phi Beta Kappa
    (Brooke's page link)

    Brooke Randazzo

    "It has been my great pleasure to work with Brooke as a private voice student for the last four years. While completing a double major in math and psychology, she found time to minor in music. She has been involved in many music ensembles and performed a solo vocal recital her senior year. Always excited about learning and always giving 100% to every endeavor, Brooke will represent Augustana well in all her future activities."

    — Sonja Hurty
    Instructor, Music

    Brooke Randazzo

    Majors: Psychology, mathematics
    Minor: Music

    Post-grad plans: Experimental Psychology Master's Program at Western Illinois University  

    Why did you choose to attend Augustana?
    I looked at Augustana because I heard they had a great music program (which we do), and when I visited, I fell in love with the campus!

    Are you where you thought you’d be four years ago?
    No. Four years ago, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life, and I've definitely changed a lot over the years.

    Who helped you get to where you are now?
    My parents have always been supportive of me, and I know I wouldn't be here without them. They always encouraged me to try my best and have been a huge help financially.

    A peak experience?
    I had a great experience taking a tour of Germany with the Augustana Choir during the spring break of 2012. We had a chance to sing Britten's War Requiem with students at a music school in Germany. We also prepared a concert of our own that we performed in many beautiful (and cold) churches throughout Germany!

    How did you use your Augie Choice?
    I used Augie Choice to tour Germany with the Augustana Choir, which was amazing.

    What did you learn about yourself in these past four years that surprised you?
    I was surprised to find out how independent I could be both in my living situation and academically. I learned that once you find something you're interested in, you can be motivated to learn more about it outside the classroom and even pursue it for the rest of your life, which I hope to do. 

    What will you miss the most?
    I’ve met some really great people at Augustana, and it’s nice to know that there are people out there who are as passionate about learning as I am. I will certainly miss them.

    Advice for the Class of 2017?
    Make the most out of every moment; it goes by SO quickly.

  • Manisha's activities: Augustana Community Health Organization/JETS, Jenny Lind Vocal Ensemble, Beta Beta Beta Biological Honor Society, Mortar Board, Phi Beta Kappa
    (Manisha's page link)

    Manisha Kumar

    "Manisha came to Augustana as a very successful student who was comfortable doing things that were explicitly asked of her, but less comfortable evaluating situations and coming up with her own solutions. By immersing herself in laboratory and field research, shadowing physicians, and traveling abroad on a medical mission trip, Manisha has learned to embrace ambiguity and to trust her ability to find solutions to new problems. It has been an absolute joy watching Manisha develop those skills."

    — Dr. Tim Muir
    Assistant Professor, Biology

    Manisha Kumar

    Majors: Biology, pre-medicine
    Minors: Psychology, biochemistry

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

    Why did you choose to attend Augustana?
    I chose Augustana because it was close to home. Being close to my family was important to me. Also, having gone to a really small high school, I loved the small size and ‘homey’ nature of Augie.

    Are you where you thought you’d be four years ago?
    In some ways, yes, and in others, no. I’ve always known I wanted to be a doctor, but I didn’t necessarily know how passionate I was about medicine. I also had no clue I would be involved in so much on campus!

    Who helped you get to where you are now?
    My key support system was (and always will be) my family and my friends. They have always supported me, even when I was stressed and wasn’t all that easy to love. 

    A peak experience?
    There are just so many! First of all, being involved in such an amazing research project the past three years under the direction of Dr. Muir has been amazing. I have learned so much about science and scientific research, but even more than that, it’s given me confidence in my skills as a scientist. Similarly, going to Nicaragua made me realize my passion for medicine, and solidified my career choice.

    How did you use your Augie Choice?
    I went to Nicaragua on a medical mission trip—an experience that I sometimes can’t even find the words to describe.

    What did you learn about yourself in these past four years that surprised you?
    The most important thing I learned about myself was my capacity to love. Going to Nicaragua and falling in love with all of those beautiful faces really showed me that I am more than a filled résumé or notes on a page. Similarly, my struggles with balancing my social life and school taught me of my overwhelming love for all of my family and friends, and that they are what’s most important at the end of the day.

    What will you miss the most?
    More than anything, I will miss all of the professors I have had. They have been huge support systems, and I’m going to miss going to their offices and talking to them. One of the great things about Augie is that you are able to get really close to your professors!

    Advice for the Class of 2017?
    Have faith in yourself, and never ever let go of that. Some things that happen in college will make you question yourself, and what you believe. Be strong in who you are — confidence is the key to success.

  • Anna's activities: Martini Swingers, Jenny Lind Vocal Ensemble, Martial Arts Club, Ascension Ringers and Collegia Classica, Phi Beta Kappa
    (Anna's page link)

    Anna Groebe

    "Anna is an excellent student with a keen mind. The research that she does is thorough. She explores in-depth the issues that she studies and then takes thoughtful positions on them, always recognizing opposing arguments and carefully responding to them."

    — Dr. Dan Lee
    Professor, Ethics

    Anna Groebe

    Majors: Classics, religion
    Minor: Spanish

    Post-grad plans: Travel to Rome as part of Dr. Lee’s RELG 371 class! In the summer, I will attend the Publishing Institute at the University of Denver to receive my certification for editing.

    Why did you choose to attend Augustana?
    The first time I visited here, I felt so at home and welcomed by everyone I met. The weather that day wasn’t great, but the campus was still stunning. I loved how kind and helpful people were, and I remember thinking, ‘I can see myself here.’

    Are you where you thought you’d be four years ago?
    Both yes and no. Four years ago, I wanted to be a classics and history major. I definitely wanted to study language, specifically Latin and Spanish, and it’s been so wonderful having the opportunity to continue those studies. I’ve also learned Greek, and changed from a history to a religion major.

    Who helped you get to where you are now?
    Before I even knew I was going to Augustana, the classics department welcomed me in, and I can’t say enough how supportive they’ve been in both my education and activities on campus. The religion department, as well, has been wonderful, and also everyone I’ve met through the Reading and Writing Center. I guess I can’t answer, ‘everyone I've met,’ but that’s what I feel like it should be.

    A peak experience?
    My peak experience was last year in Dr. Zargar’s Formative Islamic History class. One day, we spent the entire class Skype-chatting with some of the young people who participated in the revolution in Egypt. It was so, so mind-blowing to talk with them, to see a little bit from a new perspective and to learn about them as well as ourselves.

    How did you use your Augie Choice?
    I saved the best for last! I will be using Augie Choice for Dr. Lee’s trip to Rome at the end of spring term.

    What did you learn about yourself in these past four years that surprised you?
    That’s a difficult question. I’ve always been quiet and reserved, and I think over these past four years, I was surprised to learn that not only are other people OK if I’m more outgoing, but that I’m OK with it too.

    What will you miss the most?
    Augustana has such a warm atmosphere, and I’ve built so many wonderful relationships with the people I’ve met. I’ll miss the random, nerdy conversations; running into friends everywhere on campus; and getting to know the professors and staff. I’m a part of a community here, and I will miss it very much once I’ve graduated.

    Wabash National Study of Liberal Arts Education, 2013

  • Doug's activities: Delta Omega Nu fraternity, OSA (Office of Student Activities) Executive Board, Greek Council Executive Board, Phi Beta Kappa
    (Doug's page link)

    Doug Peters

    "Doug is the sort of student that professors notice and don’t forget — but for all the right reasons! His ability to assimilate ideas and his sense of curiosity are remarkable: This term he is completing a literature-based independent study with me on the ways that viruses affect neural function. It is a true blessing to have had a student like Doug in class — he’s the sort who pushes his professors to keep growing and learning! I look forward to seeing the projects Doug tackles during grad school and in his post-graduate career."

    — Dr. Dara Wegman-Geedey
    Professor, Biology

    Doug Peters

    Majors: Neuroscience, biology

    Post-grad plans: Doctorate program in microbiology at the University of Colorado at Boulder

    Why did you choose to attend Augustana?
    I've lived in the Quad Cities my entire life and was exposed to Augustana throughout my childhood by my parents and grandparents.  Augie also has a strong biology department, which interested me.

    Are you where you thought you’d be four years ago?
    I had no idea where I was going to be at this point in my life. Looking back, though, I’m happy with what I’ve accomplished.

    Who helped you get to where you are now?
    My parents and siblings, obviously, but also my fraternity brothers. Without them my college experience would have been much less fulfilling. I think Dr. Heidi Storl and Dr. Dave Hill have been the most influential professors for me at Augie. They have both taught me ways to experience the world that changed my life thereafter.

    A peak experience?
    Working at OSA for Ken Brill for the past three years. I learned valuable skills on how to make an office run smoothly and how to plan events. It was such a far cry from my classwork in biology and neuroscience, but I really enjoyed the opportunity.

    How did you use your Augie Choice?
    I participated in the Texas Medical Center Internship Program in Houston. I worked in Dr. Mary K. Estes's molecular virology lab at Baylor College of Medicine. My mentor was Dr. Joseph Hyser, an Augustana grad.

    What did you learn about yourself in these past four years that surprised you?
    I really enjoy event planning. Coming into college I would never have expected to get into that sort of thing. I also didn't think I would get involved in Greek Life as much as I am.

    What will you miss the most?
    My fraternity brothers.

  • Gina's activities: Alpha Psi Omega (national theatre honor society), Phi Alpha Theta (international honor society–history), History Club
    (Gina's page link)

    Gina Balestri

    "At first, all she had was a soldier’s letters. Twenty-two weeks later, before a standing room-only crowd in Olin, Gina held us spellbound as she recounted the untold story of Augustana students in WWI, from their enlistment to the battlefields of France and home again. The men of Company F marched into history and were forgotten. But thanks to Gina’s meticulous research and empathetic storytelling, they will be remembered now. Along with them, she made history."

    — Dr. Lendol Calder
    Professor, History

    Gina Balestri

    Major: History

    Post-grad plans: Take off a year and then attend law school

    Why did you choose to attend Augustana?
    My late aunt attended Augustana in the 1970s, and talked highly about the college. I went to the essay contest held in January where I listened to a presentation about the history department by Dr. Molly Todd, and I was immediately impressed. I also liked the school’s size. I knew after my first visit that I wanted to go to Augie.

    Are you where you thought you’d be four years ago?
    No, I originally majored in history secondary education, but I realized early on teaching was not right for me.

    Who helped you get to where you are now?
    The history faculty at Augustana is outstanding. Each and every one of the professors has shaped me in some way or another. Whether it was a reality check or supporting me in what I wanted to research, their guidance helped me become the student and person I am today. I also had a great support system from my friends here, which helped during difficult times, and offered motivation.

    A peak experience?
    I really cannot pick one experience. My sophomore year I had a play chosen for the Quad Cities Playwrights Festival. My junior year I was lucky enough to attend the 2012 Phi Alpha Theta Conference to present a paper. Finally, I am currently a research intern for the Girl Scouts of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois.

    How did you use your Augie Choice?
    I used it to fund my internship with the Girl Scouts.

    What did you learn about yourself in these past four years that surprised you?
    I am capable of more than I originally thought. I am a shy person, but I am able to come out of my shell.

    What will you miss the most?
    Honestly, I am going to miss seeing the service dogs. The Viking Pups program has been a great addition to the campus, and really shows the capabilities of Augustana students. I am also going to miss the Augustana history department, my friends and the welcoming community.

    Advice for the Class of 2017?
    I hope that those entering Augustana next year really take advantage of all it has to offer. If they have even an inkling that they want to try something, then they should. Make the most of your time here.

    Wabash National Study of Liberal Arts Education, 2013

  • Sarahbeth's activities: Varsity cross country, varsity track & field
    (Sarahbeth's page link)

    Sarahbeth Jones

    "Sarahbeth has set 10 school records at Augustana in cross country and track & field. One of the records she broke was 30 years old! She is driven to become the best. She does all of her workouts, eats properly, gets good rest, and does her academic work as assigned. She has earned academic honors from the United States Cross Country and Track & Field Coaches Association. Sarahbeth is the complete student-athlete."

    — Fred Whiteside ’74
    Head Coach, Women’s Cross Country and Track & Field

    Sarahbeth Jones

    Majors: Communication studies, Englishe
    Minors: Psychology, biochemistry

    Post-grad plans: Find a job in public relations or another communications-related field

    Why did you choose to attend Augustana?
    I chose Augustana after realizing that the tight-knit, inviting community I recognized here is not found at many colleges.

    Are you where you thought you’d be four years ago?
    I don’t know where I thought I would be four years ago, but my time at Augustana has been an overwhelmingly positive experience. I have grown in all areas of my life and know that the lessons I’ve learned during my time here will continue to guide me in the next stages of my life.

    Who helped you get to where you are now?
    Each of my professors and coaches has helped shape me in some way or another. I feel blessed and grateful to have worked with each one of them.

    A peak experience?
    My peak experience has been being a part of the Augustana track & field and cross country teams during my four years here. There has been nothing more fulfilling or special than being a part of something much greater than myself.

    How did you use your Augie Choice?
    I used Augie Choice as a stipend for a public relations internship at Junior Achievement of the Heartland in Moline last summer. The professional experience was extremely useful for my résumé.

    What did you learn about yourself in these past four years that surprised you?
    Failure is the best motivation.

    What will you miss the most?
    The friendships, being a part of a team, taking classes, living with my best friends, track and cross country meets, Old Main, the slough, and Maria the lunch lady.

  • Greg's activities: Rho Nu Delta fraternity, varsity track & field, Student Government Association (SGA), Young Life, Office of Student Activities (OSA)
    (Greg's page link)

    Greg Patton

    "Greg is indeed a student-athlete. This captain of the track team carries a 3.6 GPA with majors in political science and accounting with lots of additional time in environmental studies and geography. In addition, his summer internship at Yellowstone National Park, his winter term in Brazil, and his four-time "All-American" status in track (with a season to go yet!) surely qualify him as ‘outstanding.’ "

    — Dr. Paul Olsen
    Professor, English
    Head Coach, Men’s Track & Field and
    Men’s Cross Country

    Greg Patton

    Majors: Accounting and political science
    Minor: Geography

    Post-grad plans: I plan to journey on the World Race, an 11-month mission trip to 11 countries! After my journey, it would be ideal to gain employment for one of the country’s beautiful national parks.

    Why did you choose to attend Augustana?
    The location being two hours away from home was ideal; I fell in love with the beauty and character of the campus; I felt a liberal arts college would help me find my passions; and the men’s track program were all a huge part of my decision to become a Viking.

    Are you where you thought you’d be four years ago?
    I am nowhere close to where I thought I would be four years ago. The one constant I have had at Augustana is endless opportunities to push myself to new academic, athletic and personal experiences. Mission work, studying abroad, working in a national park, and interning in downtown Chicago are all things I never would have imagined four years ago. Entering freshman year, I was planning on going into psychology and sociology, and I have never taken a class in either major! Geography swept me off my feet and revealed my passions for the natural world, and although it’s just my minor, I have spent much of my time exploring future options in the field.

    Who helped you get to where you are now?
    Eric Rowell, formerly of the Career Center and now Admissions, got me my big break with my first internship. Speaking with him about my interests led me to the Associated Colleges of Illinois, an organization geared to help students from small liberal arts schools get internship experiences with not-for-profits in the Chicagoland area. Paul Olsen has been my track coach for the last four years, and his constant positivity and mentoring has been a steady guide.

    A peak experience?
    Studying abroad in Brazil with 30 other Augie students has been my peak experience. Discovering my passion for other cultures and out-of-the-classroom learning opportunities puts it at the top of the list. Living with a very hospitable and loving Brazilian family for two weeks made me realize that as college students we have it very lucky to be able to travel and learn in a relatively open and receptive world.

    How did you use your Augie Choice?
    I used Augie Choice to study abroad in Brazil.

    What did you learn about yourself in these past four years that surprised you?
    For the most part, my interests and passions have not changed very much from high school. What has changed that has surprised me is the sense of empowerment that I can control the outcome of my future and pursue my ideal life in a meaningful and tangible way. Little habits like asking lots of questions and putting myself in new situations have taught me that the things I enjoy the most in life are conversations with people, self reflection and the pursuit of what makes Greg Greg. I have found a surprisingly therapeutic and calm attitude as I leave Augie on my ability to end up doing what I am meant to do even though my majors may be a little random to most people.

    What will you miss the most?
    I will miss the people the most. Augie is an environment where I am surrounded by people from rural, urban and suburban environments, all with views and beliefs at both ends of the spectrum and everywhere in between. I appreciate the fact that although the student and faculty populations are very different, we all at least superficially coexist with the common denominator of supporting Augustana whether through research, passionate lecturing or all the other functions that make this campus a prideful place to learn and grow.

  • Ben's activities:Varsity baseball, Peer Mentor Program, minister for on-campus Catholic mass, intramural sports, Omicron Delta Kappa National Leadership Honor Society, Student Athletic Advisory Committee, Athletes Giving Back, Gamma Alpha Beta fraternity
    (Ben's page link)

    Ben Heaton

    “When I think of someone getting the most out of his college experience, I think of Ben Heaton. His legacy includes four years of varsity athletics on the baseball team, two accounting internships, top accounting major in his class, and campus service in the VITA program and Big Brothers Big Sisters program, just to name a few. Not surprising for a young man possessing a keen intellect, wit, maturity, outstanding analytical skills and above all — humility. Ben is a great teammate and leader on the baseball diamond and in the classroom — but more importantly, he is a quality human being. It has been a pleasure working with Ben these past four years.”

    — Dr. John Delaney
    Associate Professor, chair of Accounting

    Ben Heaton

    Majors: Accounting and business administration (finance)

    Post-grad plans: Audit assistant at Deloitte LLP in Davenport, Iowa

    Why did you choose to attend Augustana?
    I was looking for a school that had a close, tight-knit community feeling. When I visited Augustana, I received the impression that I was important as an individual, rather than just another student, another number. I also wanted to come here to play varsity baseball.

    Are you where you thought you’d be four years ago?
    I did not think I would be involved in so many great organizations. I was pretty set on focusing exclusively on baseball. However, when opportunities present themselves, they must be taken advantage of. Those opportunities have shaped the person I am now, four years later.

    Who helped you get to where you are now?
    The entire accounting department faculty was instrumental in my development as a student and a person. They continually pushed me in my academics, as well as encouraged me to reach out and become increasingly active in organizations on campus.

    A peak experience?
    I could not pick out one specific experience. But I would say my experience making lifelong friends through different channels on campus has been the most rewarding. The relationships I have formed here have been the highlight of my Augustana experience.

    What did you learn about yourself in these past four years that surprised you?
    I learned that being an individual is far more important than conforming to fit in. Individualism is what makes you stand out, and here I was able to foster that individualism and develop as a person.

    What will you miss the most?
    I will miss the people that make up Augustana College. Every person you encounter from the College Center staff to the head of your department embraces the student. The welcoming atmosphere will truly be missed.

    How did you use your Augie Choice?
    I used my Augie Choice to finance some of the expenses related to my internship with State Farm Mutual Insurance Company in the corporate tax department.

  • Emma's activities: Circle K International, Beta Beta Beta Biological Honor Society, Mortar Board, National Society of Leadership and Success
    (Emma's page link)

    Emma Baldwin

    “Emma is an exemplary student. In addition, I am thoroughly impressed with her motivation and drive to become a zookeeper. She has gone above and beyond to gain experience, use her skills and knowledge as well as learn more. Emma recently completed an internship at The Living Desert Zoo in California where other zookeepers were extremely impressed with her work. I have no doubt Emma will make a very significant contribution to the zookeeping profession.

    — Dr. Kimberly Murphy
    Assistant Professor, Biology

    Emma Baldwin

    Major: Biology
    Minor: Spanish

    Post-grad plans: Seeking employment as a zookeeper in southern California

    Why did you choose to attend Augustana?
    The biology program stood out as exceptional, and the professor I met with, Darrin Good, took time to explain all the opportunities that existed at Augustana. I also wanted a small college.

    Are you where you thought you’d be four years ago?
    I'm beyond where I thought I'd be. I had a fantastic internship/employment experience I never thought would happen during college. That puts me right where I want to be upon graduation. As a freshman, I also didn't realize the value of a liberal arts education, but now I know it is vital in becoming the well-rounded individual today's employers are looking for.

    Who helped you get to where you are now?
    My family has been a tremendous help by supporting me financially and offering encouragement throughout my time at Augustana. Many of my biology professors fueled my interest in animal science by discussing their own research studies.

    A peak experience?
    My peak experience was definitely my zookeeping internship at a zoo in California during winter term of this year. I got hands-on keeping experience with new species in a zoo accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. I even got hired as a temporary keeper during my internship! This experience helped me discover exactly where I want to be after graduation.

    How did you use your Augie Choice?
    I used my Augie Choice to pay for my travel expenses for my internship in California. I think it is wonderful that students can use the money for things other than studying abroad. There were no study abroad experiences that fit my career, but the internship was perfect for gaining additional experience in what I want to do after graduation.

    What did you learn about yourself in these past four years that surprised you?
    I learned that I like to participate in class. I was very shy growing up, and in high school, I never participated in class because I was too afraid. At Augustana I realized I had a lot I wanted to say in my classes and got braver about speaking up over these past four years. Now it is difficult to keep quiet in a class I’m passionate about. My improvement in public speaking will be important for my job.

    What will you miss the most?
    I will miss the professors the most because many of the ones I’ve had are very helpful, have interesting stories to tell, and truly care about their students’ success. The one-on-one interactions I’ve had with my professors are one of Augustana's greatest characteristics.

    Advice for incoming students?
    Try to intern at least once during your time at Augustana. My three internships were wonderful because they allowed me to get hands-on experience in the field prior to graduation. Today's employers are looking for people who have had internships.

  • Gianna's activities:Varsity basketball, Sigma Pi Delta sorority and Camp Kesem
    (Gianna's page link)

    Gianna Pecora

    "Gianna is a self-made player due to her relentless work ethic and toughness. She was the first player to begin what has been a slow change in this program towards a deeper commitment to the team and to each other. She led by setting an example, always working on her game and coming back in better shape each and every year of her career. She is a leader on and off the court on this campus, and she will be missed greatly by many, including me."

    — Mark Beinborn
    Head Coach, Women’s Basketball

    Gianna Pecora

    Majors: Biology, psychology, pre-physical therapy

    Post-grad plans: Work as an athletic trainer and apply to graduate schools for physical therapy

    Why did you choose to attend Augustana?
    I knew I wanted to attend Augustana from the moment I stepped on this beautiful campus. There seemed to be a strong community feeling, which was something that was very important to me when looking for a school. I also liked the intimate classroom setting; the biggest class I ever attended at Augie was 40 students.

    Are you where you thought you’d be four years ago?
    When coming to Augustana, I thought I would be strictly a biology major. However, over the first year I learned that I really enjoyed psychology and decided to add my second major. That was the best decision I have ever made because it is a discipline that I thoroughly enjoy! I also never thought I would get my license to be a certified personal trainer and follow my dreams to help people.

    Who helped you get to where you are now?
    All my teachers and coaches that I have had in the past four years have taught me to never settle and always work to the best of my abilities. Without this work ethic, I would not be where I am today.

    A peak experience?
    My most memorable experience was helping start up Camp Kesem, raise $30,000 to help 30 kids attend camp for free, and attend Camp Kesem’s first camp!Camp Kesem has been the best experience I have ever been a part of. Although these kids are currently watching their parent go through cancer treatments or have lost a parent to cancer, they became an inspiration to not only myself, but also the rest of the staff. Some of these children have a better outlook on life than some people in their mid-40s, and it was wonderful to help them be a kid again for a week at camp.

    How did you use your Augie Choice?
    I used my Augie Choice to pay for expenses during a summer internship at a training facility for high-end athletes called Get Fast. I worked as a trainer where I had the pleasure of training athletes ranging from 6-21 years old. This experience helped me land a job as a personal trainer after I graduate. It has also helped me gain an edge on my competition for when I apply to graduate schools to be a physical therapist.

    What did you learn about yourself in these past four years that surprised you?
    To always follow my dreams and get involved in everything that my heart desires because if I really want it, I can make it happen. Although I had a ‘full plate’ while at Augustana, I was never afraid to commit to something that I was really interested in even if I didn’t necessarily have the extra time.

    What will you miss the most?
    I will miss seeing my teammates, sisters and friends every day on campus and getting the chance to catch up with them on a daily basis.

    Advice for the Class of 2017?
    Get involved and stay involved! Don’t be afraid to make connections with faculty and staff outside of class time because those connections may lead to a job, internship or a source for letters of recommendation.

  • Kate's activities: Interfaith Understanding, Campus Ministries Leadership Team, Jenny Lind Vocal Ensemble, Peer Mentor Program)
    (Kate's page link)

    Kate McCormick

    "Kate is an eternal optimist! She brings passion and enthusiasm to everything she undertakes. Her art historical interests span many global, cultural and methodological perspectives. She will undoubtedly apply her scholarship and service, already framed by a beautiful worldview, toward further defining her vocation at Yale Divinity School. "

    — Dr. Catherine Carter Goebel
    Paul A. Anderson Chair in the Art
    Professor and Chair of Art History

    Kate McCormick

    Majors: Art history, Asian studies

    Post-grad plans: Pursue the Master of Divinity at Yale Divinity School

    Why did you choose to attend Augustana?
    I chose Augustana because this place makes me feel good! Every time I visited this campus, I had a feeling that Augustana would give me a good life, and my intuition has never served me better. This same good feeling helped me to know that Yale Divinity School was my next step.

    Are you where you thought you’d be four years ago?
    I have recently realized that I am well on the way to becoming the person I wished to be four years ago. My time at Augustana has helped me to become more thoughtful, compassionate and daring. While Divinity School was never part of my life plan, I see now that my decision to undertake this course of study is a product of who Augustana has helped me to become.

    Who helped you get to where you are now?
    The women of the art history department and the entire campus ministries team have been particularly bright beacons of guidance. These offices helped me identify my gifts and finally my calling through helpful advising and patient listening. I have also benefited tremendously from the bits of wisdom gathered from all corners of campus, which have helped me to live a better life. Dr. Moline of the geography department once told me that he ‘always finds a way to be interested in everything,’ a deeply fulfilling practice I have adopted.

    A peak experience?
    A peak experience for me was being able to celebrate my time here during the Tuesday Reflection I gave in Ascension Chapel. Many of the Augustana faces I love attended the service, and I got to show them how much they have meant to me through a brief message I composed about the ‘party’ life is.

    How did you use your Augie Choice?
    I used my Augie Choice to taste a little bit of life in Ghana, West Africa.  For six weeks, I lived with a remarkable host family, rode tro tros and challenged my own beliefs about racial and national identity. This adventure gave me a profound appreciation for Africa, and I can’t wait to embark on many more journeys to this fascinating continent.

    What did you learn about yourself in these past four years that surprised you?
    I have realized how deeply I believe in the unity of humankind. Call me a naïve optimist, but during the past four years, the friends I have made, the sights I have seen, and the facts I have learned have led me to believe the world is a beautiful place.

    What will you miss the most?
    I will miss getting to interact with so many different types of passionate people on a daily basis. Joan of Arc once said, ‘I am not afraid, I was born to do this,’ and the saint’s mentality certainly resonates with the Augustana population. Every day I get to attend class knowing that my professors are doing what they love, and every day I get to see how enthusiastic my peers are about their own passions. Life is as exciting as the people you spend it with, and my life at Augustana has been extraordinarily exhilarating.