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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

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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.