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More Than I Imagined

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

  • Alvin's activities: Business Club, Black Squirrel Productions (founder), Phi Omega Phi fraternity, student-run radio station WAUG, Augustana Observer

    Alvin Fonseca

    "Some students find it hard to juggle their academics and outside-of-class activities. Alvin will tell you that they can work hand-in-hand and that you just need balance. His creative side led him to photography and film work (being on the ground floor of a new film club)... while his strategic side drew him in to my challenging public relations course and to our advertising competition team. I am pretty sure we will see his creative side play out on a screen in the near future."

    — Doug Tschopp, director, Augustana’s Entrepreneurial Center, and instructor, communication studies

    Alvin Fonseca

    Major: Multimedia journalism and mass communication
    Minor: Spanish

    Internships: MediaLink, Greater Quad Cities Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Republic, TAG Communications

    Post-grad plans: Attend grad school for filming

    Why did you choose to attend Augustana?
    I chose Augustana because I could get involved with various extra-curricular activities, and the opportunity to study abroad attracted me. Also, all of the professors that I met made a big impact on me.

    Are you where you thought you’d be four years ago?
    Four years ago, I couldn’t tell you where I’d see myself. I had always thought of myself as someone going to a big school, but since I’ve been enrolled at Augustana, I’ve made the most of all the opportunities I’ve been gifted with.

    Who helped you get to where you are now?
    I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to have my parents’ full support and their faith that I will graduate from college. Also, a huge shoutout to Johnna Adam, former director of the Internships and Career Office, who hooked me up with several internships throughout my career at Augustana, and Professor James Dyer, who was not only an outstanding professor, but also a great mentor and close friend.

    A peak experience?
    Winning the Intramural Soccer Championship with my brothers and closest friends as the eighth-seeded team in the tournament, going to penalty kicks in two games leading up to the championship and scoring the winning goal in the final minutes of overtime in the championship game. It was beautiful.

    What did you learn about yourself in these past four years that surprised you?
    I learned that I am more than capable of maintaining a successful academic career while balancing my extra-curriculars and social life.

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

    What will you miss the most?
    I will miss all the memories and friends I made during my time at Augustana and Taco Tuesdays at the Roadhouse.

    Advice for the Class of 2018?
    Make sure you get out of your comfort zone and keep an open mind when meeting new people. There’s a ton of things to do around campus; you’ll be surprised at what you might find. Also, don’t skip class.

  • Elizabeth's activities: Art History Club, Augustana Observer, Centre for Whistler Criticism

    Elizabeth Jakaitis

    "Elizabeth’s passionate art historical engagement is impressive and a genuine joy for her professors! She’s been integral to the Centre for Whistler Criticism through her notable research here and extraordinary work with original archives at the University of Glasgow. Her art criticism Senior Inquiry will utilize her remarkable talents and training in both her majors. It is exciting how Whistler criticism also intersects with her career plans, furthered through co-curating our Whistler and His Contexts exhibition. It was also wonderful sharing faculty/student perspectives during London term through art historical opportunities abroad!"

    — Dr. Catherine Carter Goebel, Paul A. Anderson Chair in the Arts

    Elizabeth Jakaitis

    Majors: Art history and English

    Internship: Schneider Photography Gallery in Chicago

    Post-grad plans: Pursue a career in art criticism

    Why did you choose to attend Augustana?
    I was ultimately convinced to attend Augustana because of the interest and involvement that professors showed before I was even accepted. Professors from multiple departments enthusiastically returned my emails, encouraging my interests and offering ideas on how to pursue and combine them. They made me feel excited about my education and certain that I would have guidance along the way.

    Are you where you thought you’d be four years ago?
    No, I’m not. My majors haven’t changed, but my plans for how to use them have. Four years ago, I was under the impression that choosing a career was about picking a job from those listed as possibilities for your major, none of which I felt really passionate about. Somewhere along the way I stumbled upon art criticism — a field I had never considered before, but now it’s something that I’m really excited to pursue.

    Who helped you get to where you are now?
    My art history professors, Dr. Goebel and Dr. Morse, have been a never-ending source of guidance and support over the past four years. They are both so knowledgeable in their fields and are incredibly generous with their time, guiding me through making the best decisions for all aspects of my future. This term Dr. Goebel gave me the opportunity to co-curate the Whistler and His Contexts exhibit in the art museum, and it has been such a rewarding culmination of my four years with the art history department.

    A peak experience?
    One of the experiences I value most was studying abroad in London for a term. It was incredible to take classes that taught us about the city we were living in and encouraged us to immerse ourselves in the culture, by visiting sites like the British Museum, the National Gallery, Hampton Court Palace, the BBC Television Centre and Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre. Through all of these wonderful experiences I gained a greater sense of independence and made lasting friends and memories.

    What did you learn about yourself in these past four years that surprised you?
    I have gained more confidence and self-assurance over the past four years. All of the big decisions that come after graduation used to seem so daunting, but now that it’s almost here, it’s really exciting to plan what’s going to come next.

    How did you use your Augie Choice?
    I used Augie Choice to study abroad at the University of Glasgow for a semester in the spring of 2013. Since my freshman year I have worked with the Augustana Centre for Whistler Criticism to create a digital archive of the criticism of Whistler and his art. At the University of Glasgow, I was given the opportunity to work with some of the original scrapbook archives to further this project. It was such a rewarding experience to see the original sources of the material I had been working with for over two years. Spending five months in Glasgow contributing to research that I was deeply interested in, attending classes at a renowned university and immersing myself in another culture was such an enriching and impactful experience.

    What will you miss the most?
    I am going to miss attending classes with great professors, like Dr. Crowe and Dr. Mahn, who covered more than just their subjects, and also took the time to share skills and ideas that I know will be important in my professional and personal life.

    Advice for the Class of 2018?
    Study abroad, definitely. It may sound cliché, but it really is life-changing, and it will be the most educational and exciting experience you’ll have in college.

  • Carlisle's activities: Augustana Choir, Darwin Club, Omicron Delta Kappa leadership honor society, Sigma Xi research society

    Carlisle Evans Peck

    "It is often claimed that good liberal arts colleges help to build persons. While this is undoubtedly true, good persons also help to build colleges. Carlisle has helped to build Augustana into a college that challenges all of us to think rigorously, passionately and greenly. In the classrooms he has shared with me, he has raised questions in the style of Socrates, answered them with verve, and done all of this with the grace and commitment of Wendell Berry. In a word, Carlisle is an exemplar of the truly authentic person."

    — Dr. Heidi Storl, professor, philosophy

    Carlisle Evans Peck

    Majors: Biology and environmental studies
    Minor: Philosophy

    Internships: Undergraduate field research at Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory in Gothic, Colo.; field research intern with the Upper Mississippi Studies Center

    Post-grad plans: This summer I will work as part of a STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education program at Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico. Then, a gap year or two before graduate school for plant ecology or ethnobotany.

    Why did you choose to attend Augustana?
    Being a local, Augustana was not really on my radar at first, but I visited anyway and fell in love with the gorgeous campus and the brilliant community of professors that immediately made me feel welcome.

    Are you where you thought you’d be four years ago?
    No. I intended to follow a pre-med track when I was a freshman. I guess that, in retrospect, it makes sense that I’ve changed in the ways that I did, even if I couldn’t have predicted it four years ago.

    Who helped you get to where you are now?
    There are too many people to name, but many are professors. Dr. Geedey, Dr. Dziadyk, Dr. Reisner, Dr. Heine, Stephanie Fuhr, Dr. Hartman and Dr. Storl have all been amazing research mentors and sources of ideas and guidance. I have learned incredibly formative things from them. I would be a different and lesser person if I had not met these individuals, and I can’t imagine the past four years without them.

    A peak experience?
    I received last year’s Hasselmo Prize for Academic Pursuit, which aside from being a great honor, has allowed me to develop an Honors Capstone project on the preservation of biological and cultural diversity through seed saving. It’s taken me from the Midwest to Great Britain to Arizona and has allowed me to delve into this cause that I care deeply for. I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to embark on this adventure of a project.

    What did you learn about yourself in these past four years that surprised you?
    I have come to realize that I really love teaching others and sharing my excitement for all of the things I find interesting. I’ve now thought a lot about education and becoming a professor, and four years ago I would have never entertained the thought of teaching.  

    How did you use your Augie Choice?
    I used it for the Augustana Choir tour in Germany my sophomore year, which was really another peak experience for me. Aside from traveling through Germany and singing gorgeous music in 500-year-old churches, we performed Benjamin Britten’s "War Requiem" in Detmold, Germany. The piece is a powerful admonishment of war and a tribute to the victims of World Wars I and II, and performing it with German musicians made it all the more poignant.

    What will you miss the most?
    The brilliant minds, astounding friends, stimulating ideas, diversity of experiences and exciting culture. Not that these things aren’t to be found elsewhere in this great big beautiful world of ours, it’s just that colleges have a knack of throwing them all together into one package. And certainly we will never find them in quite the same form or combination as at Augustana. So, in a word, I’ll miss all of it, which doesn’t really answer the question.

    Advice for the Class of 2018?
    There is a lot of pressure to choose your path in life ASAP and never deviate from it. But in those detours there is so much beauty. So, don’t confine yourself to a major too early. Give credence to all your interests. Always question the things you think you know. Completely rearrange your schedule to take a class outside of your major that looks interesting to you; it could change your life. Get to know all of your professors. The Quad Cities is a beautiful place that you should explore. In the fall, have bonfires and play in the leaves. In the winter, go sledding and build snow forts on the quad. In the spring, dance in the rainstorms. Wake up at six in the morning and bike to the Centennial Bridge to watch the sunrise. If the only thing keeping you from doing something is lack of time, that’s a bad reason and you should do it anyway. Create a story for yourself that you would love reading over and over again.

  • Sarah's activities: Varsity sports statistician, intramural athletics official

    Sarah Martin

    "The first few adjectives that come to mind when I think of Sarah are inquisitive and detail-oriented. While any student can ‘put two and two together,’ Sarah will be the one to remember to include the units and already be considering possible ramifications of the combination! While she could pursue a career in biomedical research, Sarah knows that the human side of health care is what interests her the most and the holistic mode of care involved in nursing is the best fit for her. I feel Sarah’s respect of human differences and shortcomings will make her one of those nurses to whom patients readily become attached.”"

    — Dr. Dara Wegman-Geedey, professor, biology

    Sarah Martin

    Major: Biology (pre-medicine)
    Minor: Philosophy

    Internships: Shadowed Dr. Rafat Padaria, cardiologist at Cardiovascular Medicine in Davenport, Iowa, and Dr. Cheryl Remigio, pediatrician at Trinity Pediatric Group in Bettendorf, Iowa; also shadowed at ORA Orthopedics in Moline, Ill.

    Post-grad plans: I have been accepted to DePaul University’s Master’s Entry to Nursing Practice in Chicago. After that, I plan to pursue a doctorate education for a career as a nurse practitioner in my hometown.

    Why did you choose to attend Augustana?
    I wanted a college that offered a challenging curriculum that I would work hard for and be proud of. The professors push students to become independent in a way that students can think about life, culture, communication, education and much more.

    Are you where you thought you’d be four years ago?
    I am exactly where I thought I would be. I may not be following my plan step for step, but when considering my maturity, professionalism, values and determination to succeed, I am exactly where I predicted. I always saw myself in a position of leadership, using the skills I gain throughout my career on a daily basis, and nursing will provide all these opportunities.

    Who helped you get to where you are now?
    I would not be where I am today without the support and encouragement of my advisors and professors. These individuals gave me the confidence to work hard and ask for help when I struggled. They were always available for advice, inspired me to always produce my best work, and helped me set high goals for myself and achieve them.

    A peak experience?
    The proudest moment of my college career was my Senior Inquiry proposal. It was my chance to prove to myself that my time at Augustana was a success. The project incorporated everything that I had been working so hard to master, including immunology, anatomy, physiology, microbiology, chemistry and physics. It was my opportunity to showcase my knowledge and finally be recognized for my efforts as a maturing biologist.

    What did you learn about yourself in these past four years that surprised you?
    I am very resilient. No matter how hard things got or how much I struggled, I always pulled through and reset my focus on what really mattered. I learned that I never shy away from an opportunity to learn because I truly do embrace the liberal arts education. An education should be filled with more than technical skill and memorization of facts, and I am very appreciative that Augustana values this type of education.

    How did you use your Augie Choice?
    My Augie Choice was budgeted throughout my first internship to purchase appropriate attire, supply gas money for the daily drive to the facility, and as wage compensation for the inability to work throughout the term.

    What will you miss the most?
    After graduation, I will miss the comforting walls of the science building, the guidance of faculty and friends, and mostly, the ability to focus on my studies in a non-stressful environment. Augustana does its best to allow students to focus on their schoolwork without the responsibilities of finding an apartment straight out of high school or having to learn to cook on their own and budget for groceries. This school’s goal is to allow students to grow on their own time, at their own pace. So cherish and make the most of that time.

    Advice for the Class of 2018?
    The most important thing you can do in college is to take something, anything, out of each and every single class. Even if you hated the class and are glad it is over, at least appreciate the values the professor tried to portray. Even if all you get out of it is learning how to study or a new method for finding research articles. College is more than facts because facts can (and will) change over time; it is the skills you gain that can take you through life that really matter (learning how to find information, developing a study schedule for yourself, making and keeping personal goals for yourself). Keep your head up, and push through because Augustana believes in you and your ability to grow, and so should you.

  • Morgan's activities: Sigma Pi Delta sorority

    Morgan Peterson

    "It has been an honor to work with Morgan throughout these past years. She is a careful and energetic thinker. She is unafraid to act on her ideas, while always leaving room for good humor and further questions. I have no doubt that she will be an extremely effective and caring educator who, through her combination of practice and critical thinking, will inspire many along her professional and life trajectories. I am one of many to celebrate her work in the Quad Cities community, as a student, a teacher and engaged citizen."

    — Dr. Araceli Masterson, assistant professor, Spanish

    Morgan Peterson

    Majors: Spanish and elementary education

    Internship: Student teaching in the second grade at Riverdale Heights Elementary in the Pleasant Valley (Iowa) School District

    Post-grad plans: Teach in an elementary dual-language immersion program 

    Why did you choose to attend Augustana?
    I chose to attend Augustana because of the rigor and prestigious reputation of the Teacher Education Program. Our beautiful campus definitely didn’t hurt either!

    Are you where you thought you’d be four years ago?
    Absolutely not. My four years at Augustana have shaped me into the person I am today. I never expected to be such an activist in regards to public education and its role in bettering our society and building up our nation’s children. I am excited to begin my career and feel fully prepared to tackle the challenge of continuing to fight the good fight wherever I’m needed.   

    Who helped you get to where you are now?
    My heartfelt gratitude goes out to the inspirational professors and advisors I have had the pleasure of knowing here at Augustana. I have been mentored by so many influential faculty members, especially those in the education and Spanish departments, and I would not be where I am now or who I am now without their guidance and support. 

    A peak experience?
    A peak experience was definitely the summer I spent in South America. I never expected to be impacted to the extent that I was, but I learned so much about who I am as a person, as well as the person I want to be. I was challenged to reflect on my priorities and my values in ways that will continue to inspire me for the rest of my life.

    What did you learn about yourself in these past four years that surprised you?
    The most surprising thing I’ve learned about myself is how comfortable I am with being uncomfortable. By being open to new experiences and being willing to step outside of my comfort zone, I have had so many diverse opportunities here at Augie that have shaped me and helped me grow, and have forever changed who I am as a person.

    How did you use your Augie Choice?
    I used my Augie Choice to spend 11 weeks studying in Ecuador and Peru.

    What will you miss the most?
    Augustana has become my home, and graduating is incredibly bittersweet. I will miss my professors, seeing my best friends on a daily basis, and all of the small parts of campus that hold a special place in my heart.

    Advice for the Class of 2018?
    Study abroad. There is absolutely no excuse not to when Augustana has so many amazing international programs that span the entire globe. I promise it can and will change your life if you let it.

  • Simone's activities: Black Student Union, Epsilon Sigma Alpha (ESA) service sorority, Big Brothers Big Sisters

    Simone Roby

    "Simone hit the ground running and never stopped! She knew the major she wanted (psychology), but discovered additional interests and quickly added two minors. In her senior year, she realized her credits in women and gender studies were almost enough for a major, so she went for it — despite needing to complete a second Senior Inquiry. With the breadth of her coursework and co-curricular activities, Simone epitomizes the intellectually inquisitive, socially aware liberal arts student. And she’s a great person to boot!"

    — Dr. Ruth Ann Johnson, professor, psychology

    Simone Roby

    Majors: Psychology; women’s and gender studies
    Minor: Anthropology

    Internship: World Relief-Moline, a refugee resettlement agency in the Quad Cities

    Post-grad plans: I will begin a Ph.D. program in counseling psychology at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale!

    Why did you choose to attend Augustana?
    I chose Augustana because I felt like it would meet my academic, financial and extra-curricular needs. I knew this school would allow me to learn from different disciplines and get involved in a number of groups surrounding my interests. I was also drawn to the small class sizes and individual attention from professors. Other than those aspects, I thought the campus was beautiful!

    Are you where you thought you’d be four years ago?
    Not at all! The only thing I expected coming into Augustana was that I would leave with a degree in psychology and (hopefully) a few good friends. I didn’t realize that I would have the academic, professional and personal experiences that have allowed me to lead others (in multiple student groups) and develop/explore my interests. I also would not have expected my growth in social awareness or aspirations to become a lifelong learner.

    Who helped you get to where you are now?
    I’ve been able to get to where I am now because of the generous support I’ve received from people all over this campus! My psychology advisor, Dr. Ruth Ann Johnson, and fall term LSFY instructor Farah Marklevits have been there for me from the beginning. They’ve helped me stay on track academically and learn about myself and my interests. We’ve also shared some meaningful moments and great laughs! The Psychology Department has provided me with professional opportunities to explore my interests and modeled the types of psychologists I hope to become and work with in the future. I’m also very grateful for the women’s and gender studies faculty for helping me through a lot of personal growth. Formal and informal discussion with them has helped me understand where I stand and how I can make a difference! In addition, the Reading and Writing Center (RWC) faculty and peer tutors have made my workplace feel like one of the most welcoming and friendly spots on campus. It’s been an irreplaceable source of comfort, support and engaging conversation. Thank you tutor family! Lastly, the support, friendship and guidance of my ESA Sisters and Black Student Union members have helped me develop so much self-confidence and group pride!

    A peak experience?
    One of my favorite parts about my time at Augustana has been developing meaningful relationships with the people I spend a lot of time with, either through work, research or student organizations. Thus, my favorite moments have been those long, spontaneous discussions that happen while “constructing” a cardboard boat for homecoming in the Black Culture House at 1 a.m. or between meetings with tutees at the RWC, for example. Just getting to know the amazing people here at Augustana has been the best part of my experience!

    What did you learn about yourself in these past four years that surprised you?
    I’ve learned that I love to learn! I’ve never been the biggest fan of homework, exams or papers, but I’ve had a lot of fun being challenged by new ideas and materials during my time here. I’ve surprisingly come to love the feeling of “stretching my brain,” and I hope to continue this stretching throughout my life.

    How did you use your Augie Choice?
    I used Augie Choice to finance my study abroad trip to Guatemala this spring break. It was a very emotionally invigorating and thought-provoking experience!

    What will you miss the most?
    I will miss the opportunity to do so many different things at the same time. Throughout my experience at Augustana I’ve been able to take many different courses, meet all kinds of people and be involved in a number of groups!

    Advice for the Class of 2018?
    Don’t be afraid to get to know your peers and professors. Get involved. Augustana provides an amazing environment for exploring your interests and making connections that could benefit you in the future!

  • Lauren's activities: Varsity track and field, Sports Medicine Club

    Lauren Hoffman

    "What an adventure it has been advising Lauren in her time at Augie! Lauren embraces challenges wholeheartedly and makes life choices with impressive determination, inspiring curiosity and a sincere desire to advance the quality of lives of others through prosthesis research and rehabilitation. She holds more wisdom than her age would immediately credit her with, and I expect that the daily lives of many will benefit from her intellect, skills and radiant kindness."

    — Stephanie Fuhr, lab coordinator and instructor, biology

    Lauren Hoffman

    Major: Biology
    Minor: Physics

    Internship: Hanger Clinic, working under a prosthetist and orthotist

    Post-grad plans: Attend Northwestern University to earn my master’s in prosthetics and orthotics

    Why did you choose to attend Augustana?
    Before Augustana, I attended Purdue. I realized that it was too big for me, and I didn’t feel that I was getting the most out of my education. Augustana had always been my other choice, and I decided to give it another look. I’m happy I did!

    Are you where you thought you’d be four years ago?
    Not at all. I thought I would go to Purdue for four years and come out with a major in dietetics. I didn’t think I’d ever change my major (wrong about that three times), and I didn’t think I’d be pursuing O&P (orthotics and prosthetics).

    Who helped you get to where you are now?
    First and foremost, my parents. They’ve supported me unwaveringly throughout my college journey. My friends and my coaches and teammates in track push me to be both a better athlete and a better person each and every day. Finally, my professors have helped prepare me for school beyond Augustana. Whether it is staying to help even after office hours are over or helping you understand how to solve a partial derivative for the fifth time, they genuinely want their students to succeed.

    A peak experience?
    How can I choose! I’ve had the opportunity to travel all over the country by being on a team, and I’ve been involved in a lot of cool events. Just this past year, I got to help Girl Scouts learn different events in track through SAAC (Student Athletes Advisory Committee), ran in a relay in the Quad Cities Marathon with the cross country team, and I traveled to Springfield with my learning community where I saw some of the wildest medical equipment used in the Civil War. I got to do all of this with my friends and that made it awesome.

    What did you learn about yourself in these past four years that surprised you?
    I’m braver than I believe and smarter than I think. I was terrified going through the transfer process. I was comfortable with Purdue and was afraid of losing what I’d built. However, I didn’t want to just be OK with where I was and I made the switch to Augie. It’s a decision I will never regret. As for part two of my Winnie the Pooh quote, I was so intimidated by physics after the first week of class that I didn’t think I would be smart enough to earn a minor amidst the physics majors. Yet here I am taking my final two physics credits because my professors helped me see my potential. I learned that with a lot of help and perseverance, success is all but impossible.

    How did you use your Augie Choice?
    I used it for my internship at Hanger Clinic. It helped take a chunk out of my travel costs, and I was able to use it as a stipend since my internship was unpaid.

    What will you miss the most?
    Being around my friends and my teammates every day, the independence and opportunities available at a small college, my biology and physics professors, my track coaches, and working in Sports Medicine with D and Anna and all of my friends.

    Advice for the Class of 2018?
    Do what makes you happy and challenge yourself to try something new. This is the only time in your life where you can do crazy things like learn theater stage combat or travel all-expenses-paid across the country with friends and teammates. Work hard now so you can have fun later. Also, if you’re pursuing a career in physical therapy or orthopedics, join Sports Med. It will help you exponentially.

  • Jordan's activities: Club soccer, Udden Geology Club, Sigma Gamma Epsilon (Geology Honor Society), “Let’s Rock!” geology education program

    Jordan Carey

    "We knew Jordan's adventuresome spirit would carry him far, through Augustana and through life, when he bicycled home one break — to Chicagoland! He continued expanding his horizons, from landing a top-notch summer REU (Research Experience for Undergraduates) internship in an experimental sedimentology lab in Minnesota to filming his every move via Go-Pro, as he snorkeled nooks and crannies in the fish-filled tidepools or scrambled through headlamp-lit lava tubes on the spring break geology trip to Hawai'i. Jordan is a great student, and equally as important, an all-around good person; we are fortunate to have had him study geology with us."

    — Dr. Mike Wolf, professor, geology

    Jordan Carey

    Major: Geology
    Minor: Geography

    Internships: City of Batavia Geographic Information Systems intern (2012); University of Minnesota Summer REU Internship Program (2013)

    Post-grad plans: Pursue a master’s in geology, specifically geomorphology.

    Why did you choose to attend Augustana?
    I knew after my first visit to Augustana that this was the place for me. A beautiful campus, located on the banks of the fourth-longest river in the world, with professors who wanted to get to know me before I even decided to attend. Really getting to know your professors can be one of the most beneficial things you do in college.

    Are you where you thought you’d be four years ago?
    No. In high school I wanted to pursue physical therapy/athletic training, and many of my college choices were based on this thought. After taking a geology class during the beginning of my senior year of high school, I realized a new passion and just went with it. I could have never guessed all the places — across the United States and across the world — that Augustana College and the geology department would take me.

    Who helped you get to where you are now?
    My friends, my professors and my parents. Whether they knew it or not, I was extremely competitive with my friends. We always wanted to score the highest grade on the test, and this competition really helped me become a good student. My professors, specifically Dr. Wolf and Dr. Strasser, have given me the tools and background knowledge to become a good scientist. And my parents have supported me and my decisions from the beginning.

    A peak experience?
    Summiting Mt. Fuji and subsequently hiking down the wrong side of the mountain. It was an emotional roller coaster that closely resembled the topography of the land, and I had the privilege to do it with a couple of my best friends.

    What did you learn about yourself in these past four years that surprised you?
    My ability to balance schoolwork and my social life. I think that this was crucial to making the best of my time at Augustana.

    How did you use your Augie Choice?
    I used my Augie Choice to travel across Japan, Taiwan and China on Augustana’s 2013 East Asian Term.

    What will you miss the most?
    My friends, the Quad Cities, biking the Quad Cities, thunderstorms from the fourth floor of the science building, late nights in the geology building, Sylvan Island, La Ranch and all of the phenomenal climbing trees across campus.

    Advice for the Class of 2018?
    The next four years will be some of the best years of your life. So be sure to try new things, work hard and learn as much as you can about the world and yourself. Make the best of your education and don’t forget to have fun doing so.

  • Helen's activities: Varsity diving (eight-time CCIW champion), Augustana Symphony Orchestra, Interfaith Understanding, Micah House Intentional Living Community, Alpha Phi Omega service fraternity

    Helen Myers

    "I’ve taught Helen in many classes over the past four years, everything from LSFY to a variety of courses in her anthropology major, and it has been fun to watch her academic abilities grow by leaps and bounds. I got to know her better outside of the classroom in the spring of 2013 when she accompanied me, 35 of her classmates and two other professors on Ireland Term. Helen emerged as a natural leader among her peers — well-liked, smart, responsible... and incredibly funny! During her time at Augustana, Helen has become a well-rounded person with strong convictions, great critical thinking skills and a fundamental integrity."

    — Dr. Adam Kaul, associate professor; sociology, anthropology and social welfare

    Helen Myers

    Major: Anthropology 
    Minors: Sociology and music

    Post-grad plans: Serve in a branch of AmeriCorps for a year before hopefully attending graduate school in Ireland to study peace relations or conflict resolution.

    Why did you choose to attend Augustana?
    Augustana allowed me to pursue everything that was important to me. I play violin, but I am also an athlete. I wanted to be somewhere where I could remain very involved in those activities while I was getting my education.

    Are you where you thought you’d be four years ago?
    Oh gosh, no! I don’t even have the same major that I had four years ago! I have learned so much from so many people, particularly academically and athletically. If you were to tell me four years ago that I was going to be graduating with an anthropology degree and have eight conference diving titles, I would have never believed you. But I am so happy with the version of myself that has been shaped by the experiences I have had and the people I've met at Augustana.

    Who helped you get to where you are now?
    So many people. Dr. Adam Kaul, my anthropology advisor, has been a great mentor in helping me decide how I should use my anthropology degree after graduation. Scott Johannsen and Aimee Moylan, my coaches, have supported everything I have done the past four years, and they have believed in me even when it was hard to believe in myself. Dave Wrath, the associate director of athletics, has also been such a pillar of support and has opened so many doors and opportunities I would otherwise not have. Dr. Daniel Culver, the Augustana Symphony Orchestra director, has motivated me to stay musically passionate through his excitement about orchestral performance. Laura Mahn, the volunteer coordinator for students, has been a great mentor and given me support and advice. The friends I met during my time at Augustana have also helped shape who I am today.

    A peak experience?
    There are two: (1) My experience studying abroad in Ireland. It really did change how I view the world, and you learn so much about the country you are in, your own country and yourself when you study abroad. (2) My involvement with the swimming and diving team. I wasn't even going to dive when I got to Augustana, but I am so glad I joined the team. 

    What did you learn about yourself in these past four years that surprised you?
    I learned what I wanted to do with my life. Freshman year I drastically changed my major, and (to be honest) I was scared! I didn’t even really know what anthropology was before Augustana, and after one anthropology class, I was deciding to study it! I know it was one of the best decisions I ever made.

    How did you use your Augie Choice?
    I used my Augie Choice to cover my flight to Ireland, and some other expenses while in Ireland.

    What will you miss the most?
    Being at a place where I have met some of my closest friends and teammates, and many brilliant, inspirational professors and mentors. I will always remember so many people that I have met at Augustana.

    Advice for the Class of 2018?
    Don’t be afraid to try something you think you may not be good at! Trying these things is part of learning who you are, and Augie can be a great place for it!

  • Jordan's activities: Art History Club, Centre for Whistler Criticism research assistant, Augustana College Teaching Museum of Art

    Jordan Kirkbride

    "Working with passionate students who wholeheartedly engage is one of the greatest joys for a liberal arts professor! Jordan is such an engaged future art historian. Her dedicated research in the Centre for Whistler Criticism exemplifies original interdisciplinary investigation, furthered through co-curating our Whistler and His Contexts exhibition. Jordan also utilized her talents and training as service for her community through creating an art historical booklet for the 1833 Colonel Davenport House. I look forward to serving as her presentation mentor for the first undergraduate session of the Midwest Art History Society!"

    — Dr. Catherine Carter Goebel, Paul A. Anderson Chair in the Arts

    Jordan Kirkbride

    Major: Art history
    Minor: French

    Internship: Colonel Davenport House on Arsenal Island

    Post-grad plans: Study abroad at the University of Glasgow in Scotland

    Why did you choose to attend Augustana?
    As a Rock Island native, I had always heard great things about Augustana. When I reached my senior year of high school, I didn’t know what I wanted to do after graduation. Then I received a Rising Leaders application from Augustana and, after a visit in the middle of winter, I decided that Augustana was where I wanted to be.

    Are you where you thought you’d be four years ago?
    When I entered Augustana, I wanted to teach French to high school students. Following a year in the Austin E. Knowlton Honors Program, I had no idea what I wanted to do anymore; I was introduced to so many new ideas and disciplines. I spent about two years flipping between majors until I finally took an art history class and fell in love.

    Who helped you get to where you are now?
    My family has always been really supportive, and on campus, I can honestly say that I haven’t met a professor who didn’t help me in some way. Maybe I’ve just been lucky, but every professor I’ve had at Augustana has helped me explore new ideas and challenged my beliefs. I’m especially grateful for the professors and staff in the art history department. They have helped me through every up and down in the past two years, and they are always willing to listen to tearful complaints and crazy ideas.

    A peak experience?
    Co-curating an exhibition in the museum is probably one of the best experiences I’ve had at Augustana. After working for the Centre for Whistler Criticism for about two years, helping to curate an exhibition that centers on Whistler’s art and the research I’ve helped conduct was really rewarding. It also helped me to see what a career in the museum field would be like, and all of the work it entails.

    What did you learn about yourself in these past four years that surprised you?
    As a high school student, I never felt challenged by the coursework, and had no idea how dedicated I could be to school. Augustana helped me to realize that it’s actually cool to care about “nerdy” stuff like history and art because you can make a career out of whatever you’re passionate about. I’m so proud of the work I’ve done at Augustana, and all of the experiences that I’ve had that added to my dedication to working as hard as I could.

    How did you use your Augie Choice?
    I’m using Augie Choice to travel to Greece with the classics and art history departments during a two-week immersion course touring the ruins and important sites of ancient Greece. After 10 weeks on campus, talking about art, culture, history and language, we finally get to travel to the sites and meet the people that we’ve been learning about. I’m really looking forward to it.

    What will you miss the most?
    I’ll miss being able to just have real conversations on a daily basis, with every type of person imaginable. The challenge that comes from talking to someone completely new to you, with ideas that are completely opposite from yours, is something you can’t do outside of college life.

    Advice for the Class of 2018?
    Don’t be afraid of your professors. They are here to guide you, teach you, challenge you and also learn from you. The best professors are the ones who allow their students to share in the exchange of knowledge in the classroom. And we have a lot of those great professors at Augustana.

  • Taelar's activities: Varsity track and field (NCAA Division III qualifier), America Reads, Operation Read, Club Ed, Mortar Board National Honor Society, Chi Omega Gamma sorority

    Taelar Hillyer

    "I’d say that Taelar has one speed! Full speed ahead. She used to work in my office. I thought I had given her about three hours worth of work, and it seemed as though she got it done in three minutes! And she always seemed to be working on more than one project at a time. She could be working on an essay, planning her education observation hours and looking at her pole vault workout for the week. Coach Ron Standley and Coach Chad Thomas have supported her during all her four years at Augustana, on and off the field."

    — Fred Whiteside, head coach, women’s track & field

    Taelar Hillyer

    Majors: Secondary education and English
    Minor: Communication studies

    Post-grad plans:I will be teaching 7th- and 10th-grade English language arts at Pella Middle and Pella High School in Pella, Iowa. I also will be an assistant coach for track and cheerleading, and I’m looking into coaching pole vault for Central College.

    Why did you choose to attend Augustana?
    I decided to attend Augustana after meeting with the education department faculty; it felt so welcoming and sounded like a successful program. I also worked with Augustana’s pole vault coach, Chad Thomas, when I was in high school and decided I couldn’t part with the program. Basically, all of my experiences with Augustana before confirming were memorable experiences with people who I knew I would develop meaningful relationships with versus being another body in a large lecture hall or on a Division I track team. 

    Are you where you thought you’d be four years ago?
    Surprisingly, yes. I came in as an English education major, and I am leaving with a middle-school teaching job. Although I stayed on the same path, I have experienced so much more than I ever planned or thought possible during my career at Augustana. 

    Who helped you get to where you are now?
    I am so blessed to have a close family. Being from the Quad-City area I have also been lucky enough to have the college experience and keep that close connection to my family. They have helped me accomplish all the academic and athletic successes I have had in my life, especially during my time here at Augie. I have also been lucky to have an amazing support system in my track coaches. They have helped me balance the stress of college and being a college athlete. After the past four years, I consider them to be more than just my coaches; they're my family.

    A peak experience?
    I'd consider my qualification to the NCAA DIII National Championships one of my peak experiences here at Augustana. I just competed in my third national meet and am getting ready to try and qualify for a fourth. This past national meet, however, was a huge milestone for me after coming back from a highly invasive correctional surgery on both my calves at the beginning of the school year.  

    What did you learn about yourself in these past four years that surprised you?
    I learned I have the ability to handle so much more than I ever thought I could. I have had to take credit overloads, train to be a national track competitor, be involved in extra-curriculars, balance teaching clinical hours, and work two jobs. I was able to do all of this and leave feeling like I can literally take on anything. Being a first-year teacher of two grades and a track coach, I know learning this is going to help me be the best teacher I can be. 

    How did you use your Augie Choice?
    I went to Jamaica and taught PE at an all-boys orphanage in downtown Kingston and explored the Jamaican lifestyle and culture during Christmas break my junior year. 

    What will you miss the most?
    I know I am going to miss being in track; I am going to miss all my coaches who I talk to daily and being in the competitive atmosphere. I will miss the education department as well. I have always loved being able to stop and talk to my professors to share my concerns and my successes. All of these people I have seen daily for four years here. Without them I would not be the person I am today. I know I will miss them all.

    Advice for the Class of 2018?
    Take advantage of all the opportunities and take time to develop relationships with the faculty. Those relationships will make your college experience that much more meaningful.

  • Katie Kot

    "Seldom when I guest speak in a class, do I have someone show up in my office minutes after the class is out. But you could tell that Katie ‘got it’ when I talked about developing a professional portfolio and how choosing co-curricular activities could directly affect her career. I was able to see her skills grow as she joined the ADs competition team and as she took my public relations course. Add on a rocking internship in Chicago and another in the EDGE Center and those experiences add up to a great future career in public relations for Katie."

    — Doug Tschopp, director, Augustana’s Entrepreneurial Center, and instructor, communication studies

    Katie Kot

    Majors: Multimedia journalism and mass communication; communication studies

    Internships: Big Brothers Big Sisters (event planner); The Silverman Group Inc. public relations boutique; Augustana EDGE Center

    Post-grad plans: Public relations in New York or California (still interviewing)

    Why did you choose to attend Augustana?
    Ironically, I did not go to Augustana wanting to pursue a career in public relations; I wanted to enroll in the music program. But I eventually realized how much I enjoyed journalism and communications so I quit music. I needed a career that I would be working with people as crazy as I am.

    Are you where you thought you’d be four years ago?
    Yes, my dad is a journalist in Chicago so I saw myself doing something along the same lines.

    Who helped you get to where you are now?
    Doug Tschopp and Jim Dyer are the reasons I am where I am today. Dyer was the major reason I not only looked into journalism, but also the reason I stuck with journalism and now am qualified for the public relations field. He was my favorite professor I have ever had in college not only because he is a brilliant professor who challenges his students every day, but also because he recognized my strengths in the field. I would not be pursuing a profession in public relations without the strong writing background he provided me during my junior year of college. He made me want to work hard in his class. Even this past summer working in a PR boutique, I was mainly dependent on my writing skills taught by Dyer in order to complete most daily tasks.

    Additionally, Doug Tschopp was almost like my main “mentor” who I was blessed enough to look up to at the college level. Tschopp spoke to Dyer’s journalism class the first week of Reporting 1 and quickly piqued my interest in public relations and portfolio building. I recall immediately running after Tschopp once my class ended to speak with him about my interest in the field. I remember thinking, “This is the guy to know.” So my junior year I took his public relations class followed by a PR internship in which I dealt with the press in a major mass media market. Within the first week of school my senior year, I recall knocking on Tschopp’s door again to ask “What's next?” Tschopp guided me through a challenging internship that would make me more marketable to employers and grew to be a fantastic role model for me in the public relations field. I cannot thank Dyer and Tschopp enough.

    A peak experience?
    My internship over the summer for my MJMC Senior Inquiry (SI) at the public relations boutique. This was the most challenging internship and academic experience of my life.

    What did you learn about yourself in these past four years that surprised you?
    That I do not belong in a small town — so work hard to dream big.

    How did you use your Augie Choice?
    Over the summer for my SI MJMC internship because it was unpaid. 

    What will you miss the most?
    James Stratton and Dan Gregg, my fellow journalism majors.

    Advice for the Class of 2018?
    Do your own thing.

  • Jessica's activities: Mortar Board, Omicron Delta Kappa leadership honor society, Geography Club

    Jessica Flondro

    "To say that Jessica has taken full advantage of her time at Augustana is putting it mildly. She has developed research expertise in cartography and Geographic Information Systems, water quality sampling relative to wetlands and urban runoff, and the ecology of Chesapeake Bay. Her next research project is air pollution in China. This will be her second trip to China in her time at Augie, and I look forward to working with her and learning from her. Given her résumé and vast experience with collaborative research, I feel like I will be the junior partner in the project, but that is fine with me."

    — Dr. Dave Dehnel, professor, political science

    Jessica Flondro

    Majors: Geography and environmental studies

    Internships: Rock Island Army Corps of Engineers, Augustana’s Upper Mississippi Studies Center

    Post-grad plans: Gain additional work and research experience before attending graduate school

    Why did you choose to attend Augustana?
    The atmosphere, liberal arts education and close-knit environment.

    Are you where you thought you’d be four years ago?
    Not at all. I have grown as an individual in indescribable ways and am on a very different career track than I thought I would be. I am extremely happy with the person I have become and am ready to embrace a future in the environmental field.

    Who helped you get to where you are now?
    The exceptional faculty at Augustana helped guide me to where I am now. The mentorship of my advisors and other professors was unbeatable, and I would not be where I am now if not for the individuals who took special interest in helping me succeed.

    A peak experience?
    Working with the Upper Mississippi Studies Center introduced me to some of the most exemplary and knowledgeable people I have ever met. I really enjoyed working with cross-disciplinary faculty and my fellow interns. The experience helped me determine what I want to do in the future and will remain with me forever.

    What did you learn about yourself in these past four years that surprised you?
    I learned to embrace change, to accept what you want out of life and to go get it. There are an abundance of jobs that will pay the bills, but what really matters is that I find a career I love and am passionate about.

    How did you use your Augie Choice?
    I studied abroad on Augustana’s East Asia Term.

    What will you miss the most?
    My friends and professors and the abundance of opportunities that students have to learn and grow.

    Advice for the Class of 2018?
    Be open to new possibilities and be willing to try things that are out of your comfort zone. Also, get involved and make connections — networking is essential.

  • Eric's activities: Varsity football (Academic All-American recognition)

    Eric Dratnol

    "Achieving Academic All-American honors as the starting center on the football team, while completing three majors and a near full-time job at Deere & Company, tells you a lot about Eric Dratnol. He is quietly confident and relentless. Eric parlayed his performance at Augustana into a full-ride scholarship at Wake Forest University — a huge accomplishment considering Wake Forest has a premier accounting graduate program. Am I surprised by Eric's success? No way! You work as hard as he does and the future is bright indeed."

    — Dr. John Delaney, associate professor, accounting

    Eric Dratnol

    Majors: Accounting, applied math, business administration (management information systems)

    Internships: Student position at Deere & Co. and audit internship at Grant Thornton

    Post-grad plans: Attend Wake Forest next year, then start working in public accounting

    Why did you choose to attend Augustana?
    A cousin of mine attended and graduated from Augie the year I graduated from high school. He really liked the school, and I had an opportunity to play for the football team, so I decided this was the place to go.

    Are you where you thought you’d be four years ago?
    I wasn’t positive what I wanted to do when I got here. I just knew it would be an area where I got to play with numbers. I started in the math and accounting programs in my first couple years, and from there, it was a natural development to where I am now.

    Who helped you get to where you are now?
    John Delaney has helped me so much as both a great professor in the classroom and as a source of advice outside the classroom. I know John is always willing to help when asked and has provided me good advice each time I’ve gone to him with questions.

    A peak experience?
    My peak experience was traveling to France as a member of the football team. The opportunity to spend a week abroad visiting all kinds of tourist areas with a large number of teammates was so much fun and an opportunity that I don’t think I would’ve had at another school.

    What did you learn about yourself in these past four years that surprised you?
    I learned how much work I am able to handle and what I need to do to thrive professionally. The work ethic I have learned through both the football team and the accounting department has given me confidence that when I step into the professional setting, I will be able to compare favorably against students from any school.

    How did you use your Augie Choice?
    I used my Augie Choice to lower the cost of the football team’s trip to France so that I could afford to go. I doubt that I would’ve gone if not for the lowered cost.

    What will you miss the most?
    Living so close to all of my friends is going to be the thing that I really miss more than anything else.

    Advice for the Class of 2018?
    Don’t listen if you’re told to only take the minimum number of classes as a freshman. You can handle the gen eds (general education requirements), so take four classes at least once (preferably twice) freshman and sophomore year so that you have more flexibility as a junior and senior.

  • Danielle's activities: Micah House, Longfellow Liberal Arts School tutor, Ekklesia, Interfaith Understanding

    "Danielle didn’t discover Classics until the fall term of her junior year. About four weeks into my Roman history class she came to me and said, “I know this is going to sound crazy, but would it be possible for me to do a minor in Classics?” Danielle had a strong background in French, so she was able join the beginning Latin class nearly halfway through the term, and has since learned Greek as well. She’s amazing!"

    — Dr. Emil A. Kramer, professor, Clas

    Danielle Anderson

    sics

    Danielle Anderson

    Majors: English and religion
    Minor: Classics

    Post-grad plans: I would like to attend graduate school for a master of arts in religious studies with a concentration in literature. From there, I’d like to apply to Ph.D. programs and eventually become an undergraduate professor. I would also like to have an interim period where I work with organizations that value community activism, such as the Peace Corps or Lutheran Volunteer Corps.

    Why did you choose to attend Augustana?
    I chose to attend Augustana because I liked its atmosphere. Every time I came to visit, I felt so welcomed by everyone around me, whether they were faculty, staff or current students. My most vivid memory of such kindness was during my honors interview for Foundations. Katie Hanson was interviewing me for the program, and she could tell I was really nervous, so she sought to make me feel as comfortable as possible. She even offered to walk me to my next stop on my visit tour. People like her helped me decide that Augustana was both a place I wanted to be and a place that wanted me.

    Are you where you thought you’d be four years ago?
    Absolutely not! I feel that I am becoming the person I am meant to be, but as a freshman, I had no idea in what ways I would become this person. For one, I had no idea I would be a religion major. Even more unexpectedly, I had no idea that I would study religion and literature together as my vocation. Augustana helped me to realize what I love and how to pursue such love in furthering my education. I am certain that this realization is the greatest gift Augustana has given me and one that will make me the happiest.

    Who helped you get to where you are now?
    Besides my friends and family, both Dr. Jason Mahn and Laura Mahn have helped me become the person I am today. Dr. Mahn helped me discover my love for religion, and Laura Mahn helped me discover my vocational gifts and what I can do to actively participate in the world around me. Dr. David Crowe constantly inspired me to become both a better person and a better student, and I have greatly benefitted from his guidance as my English advisor. The Classics department has also inspired me to become a better student during the final stretch of my college career, and I am grateful to be a part of such a wonderful department.

    A peak experience?
    My peak experience would definitely be my summer research internship at St. Olaf’s Søren Kierkegaard Library. I studied Søren Kierkegaard, a 19th-century Danish philosopher, theologian and self-proclaimed poet. I not only pushed my academic ability as a student, but I also pushed myself outside my comfort zone. This internship helped me to grow as a person, and I wouldn’t trade this experience or anything else in the world.

    What did you learn about yourself in these past four years that surprised you?
    I learned that I am a lot stronger than I originally thought. I’m also able to face things that scare me with more tact and grace than I would have ever imagined possible.

    How did you use your Augie Choice?
    I used my Augie Choice for my summer research internship at St. Olaf’s Søren Kierkegaard Library.

    What will you miss the most?
    I will miss the communities I have become a part of both inside and outside Augustana. It will be incredibly difficult to leave behind the people who have helped shape who I am.

    Advice for the Class of 2018?
    Use your time at Augustana for self-discovery. Find what you love and strive towards your passions. I know that I became so happy at Augustana once I knew myself better. I really believe that self-knowledge not only helps you to love yourself, but also to love those around you, so never stop learning about who you are.

  • Richard's activities: Augustana Choir, Collegia Classica, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia music fraternity

    Richard Pipes Jr.

    "As a major in Classics, a field that is interdisciplinary by nature, and as one who has taken full advantage of extra- and co-curricular opportunities — from his involvement in the college choir and our Classics-interest group Collegia Classica to off-campus experiences like travel to academic conferences and study abroad — Richard Pipes has utilized his time at Augustana well, immersing himself fully in a true liberal arts educational experience."

    — Dr. Kirsten Day, associate professor, Classics

    Richard Pipes Jr.

    Major: Classics
    Minor: History

    Post-grad plans: I hope to attend school in Athens, Greece. The program is called College Year in Athens.

    Why did you choose to attend Augustana?
    I chose Augustana because of how beautiful the campus is, how small the classes are and because it’s a liberal arts school.

    Are you where you thought you’d be four years ago?
    I am where I thought I’d be and further. I have learned so much over the last four years, and this has pushed me way past what I hoped to accomplish.

    Who helped you get to where you are now?
    My professors Dr. Day, Dr. Kramer, Dr. Hooker and my friends who share my major because they pushed me to do better and helped me to better understand the subjects that I was working on. Without them I would not be where I am today, and I am grateful for them.

    A peak experience?
    One of my peak experiences was my trip to Rome because I had been studying the ancient culture and history. It truly blew my mind to finally go to the place that I had studied for a long time. I got to see monuments that I had only seen in pictures and books. It was truly surreal for me.

    What did you learn about yourself in these past four years that surprised you?
    I have learned that if I work hard enough at something I can eventually understand it. Latin is one of those of things where I've made progress, thanks to hard work.

    How did you use your Augie Choice?
    I used my Augie Choice for a trip to Germany with the Augustana Choir.

    What will you miss the most?
    I will really miss the connections that I have made with my professors and friends. 

    Advice for the Class of 2018?
    Manage your time, don’t overcommit to one class, and make the most out of your time here.

  • Jessie's activities: Honor Council, Omicron Delta Kappa leadership honor society, Mortar Board, Habitat for Humanity, Peer Mentor, Quad City Animal Welfare Center

    Jessie Allen

    "Jessie’s curiosity, perseverance and contagious love of life make her a joy to work with. She has been an inspiring and empathetic peer mentor to first-year students and made valuable contributions to the Augie community through her extensive volunteer work and leadership. She will be an outstanding language arts teacher — the kind of teacher her future students will cite as the one who inspired them to pursue their dreams. She will represent Augustana well."

    — Katie Hanson, assistant professor, education

    Jessie Allen

    Majors: English and secondary education

    Internships: Student teaching

    Post-grad plans: I am applying to urban and suburban schools around Chicago, but have also applied to schools in Honolulu, Hawaii! Eagerly awaiting responses...

    Why did you choose to attend Augustana?
    I chose Augie for several reasons. First, I was enamored with its superb education department and because I felt personally cared for by all of the professors that I met.

    Are you where you thought you’d be four years ago?
    I am not where I thought I would be in four years. Career-wise, yes. I’m prepared to get a teaching job. However, I am more intelligent, more analytical and more confident than I ever believed possible.

    Who helped you get to where you are now?
    All of my professors, the guidance counselors, and the administration helped me excel. Specifically, Katie Hanson in the English and education departments went above and beyond her role as professor. I had a very difficult student-teaching placement, and she was NEVER too busy to listen to me and give me advice. In addition, she initiated many conversations, even if it was only to make sure that I was having a good day.

    A peak experience?
    One of my peak experiences was when I studied abroad in Jamaica. This was a pilot trip, so all of us were an essential key in making the experience come together. I had the opportunity to teach at a boy’s orphanage in Kingston. Not only is this a shining moment on my résumé, but it was my first teaching experience, and it undoubtedly changed my life and made me a more caring, compassionate individual. In addition to teaching, my friends, professors and I explored this gorgeous country, met and spent time with the locals, and absorbed the beautiful and unique culture of Jamaica. I know I will never have another experience like this.

    What did you learn about yourself in these past four years that surprised you?
    Over the past four years, I’ve learned that I’m much more interested in other disciplines than I ever thought in high school. I took two years of French at Augie and realized that I loved it. I took five religion courses and almost majored in religion. I took a dinosaur class in the geology department and found myself doing outside research just because I was interested. The liberal arts education definitely motivates you to explore and try new things, and I was surprised by how much I loved that.

    How did you use your Augie Choice?
    I used my Augie choice to study abroad in Jamaica. I was in Jamaica for almost two weeks, stayed in an all-inclusive resort, traveled through the Blue Mountains, and lived in Kingston. With my Augie choice, the trip was extremely reasonable, even for a struggling college student.

    What will you miss the most?
    I will miss the community of my peers the most because when you join a club or group on such a small campus, the people who join with you have similar minds and hearts. All of us were people- and service-oriented. In addition, I will miss the friends that I’ve made here. I have confidence that we will always remain in each other’s lives. But living two minutes away from all of my best friends is something that I will sorely miss.

    Advice for the Class of 2018?
    Don’t fear the small campus — it’s so diverse that you will fit into a million different groups immediately. Making friends at Augie is almost impossible not to do. Talk to your professors — this isn’t high school where asking questions is lame. Ask them for help, ask to assist them on projects, ask for advice. Your professors are your greatest tool for success here. Try everything. Always wanted to dance? Join Martini Swingers or UNYK. Want to sing? Join choir. Want to join a fraternity or sorority? Rush and see what happens. Want to start a club? Do it! Someone told me on my first day of Augie that these four years would be the best I’ve had yet, and would fly by. I didn't realize how horribly correct they were. Drink in every moment and use these four years to create a genuine person that you can be proud of.

  • Matt's activities: Farm2Fork, Augie Acres

    Matt Pawlowski

    "Matt loves ideas, and is quick to connect what is learned in the classroom to the rest of his knowledge. I also have discovered that he has the drive, energy and thirst for knowledge that it takes to be a successful scientist. Whether the task is understanding a complex piece of ecological theory or chipping through the November ice to deploy bags of leaves for an experiment, he is the best kind of ecologist to have around. He loves nature and has the drive and patience needed to spend a lifetime trying to understand nature."

    — Dr. Kevin Geedey, professor, biology

    Matt Pawlowski

    Majors: Biology and environmental studies
    Minor: Biochemistry

    Internships: Water resource intern at the Pelican River Watershed District in Detroit Lakes, Minn., the summer of 2013.

    Post-grad plans: I will be pursuing a master’s in integrated biosciences at the University of Minnesota Duluth. Ultimately, I hope to have a job related to aquatic biology and water resources.

    Why did you choose to attend Augustana?
    Augustana is well-known for academics, especially in the sciences. Augustana also offers a variety of handsome scholarships. Additionally, the rumors surrounding the beauty of Augustana’s campus are true.

    Are you where you thought you’d be four years ago?
    Not at all. I always anticipated studying biology but thought this would lead to a career in health care. I come from a family of dentists and after freshman year was accepted into a coordinated program that would have allowed me to enter dental school early. Because I am stubborn, it took me until junior year to accept that my true passion lies in environmental issues.

    Who helped you get to where you are now?
    I have had more than my share of inspirational professors at Augustana. I started to seriously consider careers related to the environment because of my learning community with Drs. Peters and Mahaffey. Many of the biology and geography professors have also gone out of their way to help and advise me. I have also received a lot of insight and encouragement from peers at Augustana and at summer jobs.

    A peak experience?
    One peak experience I’ve had was the field trip I took in Water Resource Management with Dr. Heine. On this trip, we boated down more than 50 miles of the Mississippi to get a feel for the water resource issues around the Quad Cities. This field trip immediately followed my water resource internship in Minnesota and was a great opportunity to apply concepts from one place to another. There is also nothing quite like traveling on a river as great as the Mississippi. It turns out Mark Twain wasn’t wrong after all.

    What did you learn about yourself in these past four years that surprised you?
    I have learned that I am increasingly willing to step out of my comfort zone. I have also been surprised by my ability to balance schoolwork with social and extracurricular activities.

    How did you use your Augie Choice?
    I used Augie Choice to help pay rent in Rock Island while I was away for my summer internship.

    What will you miss the most?
    I have come to love the Quad Cities. I will miss walks along the Mississippi, live music at Rozz-Tox and the view of the Centennial Bridge at night. I will also miss planting and harvesting at Augie Acres. Obviously I should mention the close friends I have made in the last four years, too.

    Advice for the Class of 2018?
    Going to college with an open mind and a willingness to try new things is indeed important. However, it is a cliché to tell others to be open-minded because this is something that all people (more or less) have to realize on their own. Because this is up to you, here are two pieces of advice that I think are actually useful. For one, I think all students should find an internship or some kind of research experience. There is a lot to be learned in the real world. Secondly, I would advise taking as many classes that involve field trips as possible. I wish I had taken more of such classes. Many of the most important things cannot be learned in a classroom, and any hands-on experience is more enjoyable than staring at a chalkboard or PowerPoint.

  • Sara's activities: Habitat for Humanity, Alpha Phi Omega service fraternity, Concert Band

    Sara Fitzgerald

    "Sara is quiet so it is easy, at first, to miss that she is a powerhouse of ability, organization and drive. In four years, she earned a math major and secondary education certification, student taught and completed a term abroad and an internship."

    — Dr. Stacey Rodman,
    associate professor,
    mathematics and computer science

    Sara Fitzgerald

    Majors: Secondary education and mathematics

    Internships: Student teaching at Wilson Middle School in Moline, Ill.; finance internship at Bradfield Bentley in Sydney, Australia

    Post-grad plans: Find a job teaching math and eventually get my master’s.

    Why did you choose to attend Augustana?
    My decision was based on the small class sizes, the ability to participate in a variety of activities and organizations, and financial assistance.

    Are you where you thought you’d be four years ago?
    Four years ago, I did not know exactly what I would experience at Augustana so I did not know where I would be at this point. I came in with the desire to study mathematics and become a math teacher, so that has stayed the same. However, I did not know what organizations I would be a part of and the places I would travel to, which have played a part in where I am today.

    Who helped you get to where you are now?
    My family has really helped me get me to where I am now. They were always there for me providing the support and encouragement I needed.

    A peak experience?
    Going to the Florida School for the Deaf and Blind and presenting at the Association of Teacher Educators was my peak experience. It really opened my eyes to all that I take for granted in my daily life and the resources offered at Augustana.

    What did you learn about yourself in these past four years that surprised you?
    In these past four years, I was surprised to find how capable I am of being a leader.

    How did you use your Augie Choice?
    I used Augie Choice for the Australia Study Abroad Term.

    What will you miss the most?
    I will miss having my friends so close and the beautiful campus to walk across every day.

    Advice for the Class of 2018?
    Be willing to try new things. Augustana has a lot of different things to offer you, from classes to sports to clubs to music. If you never try something new, you will never know what you are capable of or what else you can try.

  • Michelle's activities: Varsity lacrosse, club lacrosse, Alpha Phi Omega service fraternity

    Michelle Funk

    "Michelle has been a real pleasure to work with. She is a terrific student and a fine example of someone who has truly grown intellectually and professionally these past four years. I don’t recall many students who have completed two majors and a minor, had internships with three different firms, competed in a varsity sport, and participated in foreign study all in four years. Plus, she has been nominated for a fourth internship with the Financial Accounting Foundation — arguably the best internship an accounting student can complete in the United States. To say Michelle has gotten the most of her experience at Augie would be quite an understatement."

    — Dr. John Delaney, associate professor, accounting

    Michelle Funk

    Majors: Accounting and business administration (management information systems)
    Minor: Geography 

    Internships: Audit internship with Deloitte in Davenport, Iowa; technology internship with Sikich in Naperville, Ill.; accounting internship with Group O in Rock Island, Ill.

    Post-grad plans: I will be starting this fall at Sikich working as an application consultant. I will be taking the CPA exam this summer.

    Why did you choose to attend Augustana?
    After visiting Augustana, I knew it was where I was going to end up. I loved the campus, the students and teachers I interacted with, and I knew that I would be more than just a number.

    Are you where you thought you’d be four years ago?
    Not even close! I started college with an undecided major, and after four years I have accomplished more than I ever imagined. I also did not expect to make as many close friendships as I have made throughout my experience at Augie.

    Who helped you get to where you are now?
    All the accounting, business and geography professors have been outstanding. I can tell they love their jobs and that shows in the classroom. A special thanks to Dr. John Delaney, my accounting advisor; Mrs. Mamate Marmé, my business advisor; and Dr. Reuben Heine, my geography advisor. These three have gone out of their way to make sure I had the chance to succeed at Augustana.

    A peak experience?
    My three-month study abroad trip to East Asia was by far a peak experience for me. I traveled to Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong and China while learning about the culture, geology and economy of these wonderful places. I tried new things, met amazing people and visited incredible places that I never would have been able to without this program. I believe the study abroad programs are one of Augustana's major strengths.

    What did you learn about yourself in these past four years that surprised you?
    I learned that you can do anything you put your mind to, and still have time for fun! Augustana gave me the chance to branch out into many areas of life allowing me to discover new passions, such as traveling, that I will continue to pursue post graduation..

    How did you use your Augie Choice?
    I used my Augie Choice on East Asia term, which is a three-month study abroad program through Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong and China.

    What will you miss the most?
    I will miss my professors, my friends and the campus... especially in the fall!

    Advice for the Class of 2018?
    Get involved in new clubs, sports and classes. Stay open to and take advantage of the opportunities that Augustana provides!

  • Paras' activities: Residential Life Community Advisor, Fair Trade Club, Chi Alpha Pi (honorary Cutie), UNYK Multicultural Dance Company

    Paras Sethi

    "In fall 2012, Paras told me that he’d have an opportunity to work in a hospital in India during spring break 2013 so I helped him arrange an internship to explore how nursing careers varied between the two cultures. I was impressed with his ability to go abroad and study alone — but I was not at all surprised at the passion and compassion reflected in his journal and final reflective essay. I imagine one day Paras will be leading a team of nurses to a developing country to provide basic healthcare and health education to those in need."

    — Dr. Dara Wegman-Geedey, professor, biology

    Paras Sethi

    Major: Biology (pre-nursing)
    Minor: Psychology

    Internships: Independent study led to an internship at a hospital in India

    Post-grad plans:: Attend Trinity College of Nursing & Health Sciences’ accelerated nursing program to get my BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing). After that… wherever life takes me.

    Why did you choose to attend Augustana?
    I always wanted to attend a big school. However, my high school chemistry teacher, an Augie alum, suggested I give Augustana a visit. It was love at first sight. Yes kiddos, love at first sight does exist! I know it’s not all about appearance, but Augie’s good looks sure did attract me. The beauty of the campus was hard to resist — from the trees starting to change color in the fall, giving indications of dreary snowy winter ahead, to the first blooming flower in the spring. But looks aside, I also loved the small class sizes and the opportunity to get to know my professors. This was great, as the professors showed interest in getting to know me better not only as a student but also as a person.

    Are you where you thought you’d be four years ago?
    No. Not at all. I am at a much better place than I thought I would be four years ago.

    Who helped you get to where you are now?
    My mom and my sisters for accommodating my financially expensive, but life-changing, experience. My uncle and aunt for providing me the opportunity to get a good college education. Lastly, my lifelong friends (both faculty and fellow students) who have challenged me and supported me to reach my maximum potential.

    A peak experience?
    My peak experience at Augustana was doing an internship in India learning about transcultural public health and health care access. This internship confirmed that I was in the right major and career path. This experience also encouraged me to travel and possibly work abroad at some point in my life.

    What did you learn about yourself in these past four years that surprised you?
    I’ve learned to sit down, buckle up and enjoy every single moment of this roller coaster of a life.

    How did you use your Augie Choice?
    I used my Augie choice to study abroad in India. My amazing advisor helped me create an independent study leading to my internship in India.

    What will you miss the most?
    I am going to miss this close-knit Augie community that easily fills your darkest day with sunshine.

    Advice for the Class of 2018?
    Get to know your professors, custodians, lunch ladies and peers. They are all amazing people filled with great wisdom and big hearts. That being said, don’t be afraid to step out of your own perspective, and look at things from a different view. I promise you, it will paint a completely different picture. Treat. Yo. Self. At least once a term. After all of the hard work you put in, you deserve a getaway weekend to the Bahamas... or just down the street to Whitey’s. Your pick. Lastly, don’t regret your past mistakes. Instead, reflect, learn and try not to make the same mistake twice. Also, forgive others.

  • Megan's activities: Alpha Phi Omega service fraternity, Young Life, Augustana Choir, Omicron Delta Kappa leadership honor society

    Megan Vander Wall

    "It has been my privilege to serve as the faculty mentor for Megan’s Senior Inquiry. She addressed the question of when, if at all, it is ethical for counselors to reveal confidential information. She argued that counselors could ethically share confidential information if the lives of others might be at risk, provided that they have been upfront about this policy at the beginning of a counseling relationship. It is a paper that is potentially publishable."

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

    Megan Vander Wall

    Major: Religion

    Internships: I participated in the Texas Medical Center Internship Program and worked closely with the Chaplaincy Department at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas.

    Post-grad plans:: Attend graduate school to pursue a master’s in clinical mental health counseling 

    Why did you choose to attend Augustana?
    I chose to attend Augustana because it was the only school that felt like home. Even though it sounds cliché, the first time I set foot on the Augustana campus and peered down 7th Avenue toward Old Main, I just knew. I knew that Augustana was where I belonged.

    Are you where you thought you’d be four years ago?
    Four years ago, I didn’t know where I would be when I graduated from Augustana. I didn't know what I wanted to study or the career I wanted to pursue. If someone had told me that I would graduate with a degree in religion, I would have told them they were crazy. But I don’t regret my decisions or the way my life has unfolded in the past four years. I am majoring in a subject that I love and will be continuing my education to pursue the career of my dreams.

    Who helped you get to where you are now?
    I would not be where I am today without the help of my family and friends who have always been supportive of my dreams. I owe a special thanks to the professors of the religion department; without them, I would not have realized my passion for religious study in an academic setting. Similarly, the staff in the Community Engagement Center helped me realize my strengths, decide my major, realize my future career plans and decide where I wanted to further my education. To them, I owe my future.

    A peak experience?
    During spring break of my sophomore year, I traveled to Germany with the Augustana Choir. While in Germany, I was blessed to be able to perform Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem alongside students and faculty from the Hochschule für Musik in Detmold, Germany. While it may have been difficult to communicate with the Germans due to the language barrier, there was something beautiful about singers from around the world coming together to speak the same language, the language of music.

    What did you learn about yourself in these past four years that surprised you?
    I have learned that with a little confidence, a lot of hard work and the help of caring mentors, success is never farther than just around the corner.

    How did you use your Augie Choice?
    I used Augie Choice to fund my internship this past summer at the Texas Medical Center in Houston. While at the medical center, I was fortunate enough to be able to work with the Chaplaincy Department at the MD Anderson Cancer Center, working with experienced chaplains and conducting research on the misconceptions of chaplaincy.

    What will you miss the most?
    Augustana is my home. And while it will always be my home, I will miss living in a place where I can see my friends on my way to class, walk down the slough path in the middle of autumn, sing in a choir with my best friends, stare at the enormity and beauty of Old Main at night, and simply be a part of the Augustana community.

    Advice for the Class of 2018?
    Be yourself. Never think that being yourself is something to be ashamed of. Never feel you have to be someone that you are not. Find your niche and be confident that this is where you belong.

  • Jenna's activities: Camp Kesem Augustana, Alpha Phi Omega (APO) service fraternity

    Jenna Orabutt

    "Jenna is an example of the quintessential liberal arts student. Not only has she excelled in the classroom, but has exerted the same effort in activities outside the classroom. Her dedication to these activities has made a significant contribution to the entire Augustana community. Her thirst for intellectual stimulation and dedication to servicing others is something all students should emulate."

    — Dr. Gregory Tapis, assistant professor, business administration

    Jenna Orabutt

    Major: Business administration (management)
    Minors: Women’s and gender studies

    Internships: I’ve interned at Russell Construction; The Fundraising People in Sydney, Australia; and the Child Abuse Council of the Quad Cities.

    Post-grad plans:: I will leave in September on a missions trip called the World Race. It is a program that goes to 11 countries in 11 months and works with different ministries in the countries.

    Why did you choose to attend Augustana?
    I chose to go to Augustana for the small campus at first. I wanted a community-oriented campus, and once I stepped foot on Augie's campus, I knew I was going there. The campus is absolutely beautiful, and I liked how it was small enough but didn’t feel like high school all over again. The professors and students were also very welcoming on my visit, and I could really see myself living there for the next four years.

    Are you where you thought you’d be four years ago?
    Absolutely not. I have grown so much more than I ever thought possible in the last four years, and I attribute most of that to the opportunities presented to me. I have had the chance to experience many different clubs, classes and social experiences, as well as an excellent academic career. 

    Who helped you get to where you are now?
    There were not only one or two people who helped me to get where I am. I can honestly say it was a collective effort of every professor and faculty member I’ve come into contact with. The staff at Augustana does not stop at any length to help you grow as a person. I’ve also had incredible experiences with my peers through classes and clubs. 

    A peak experience?
    My peak experience was starting a chapter of Camp Kesem. This was one of my best experiences because of the community it created. Not only does the organization help children whose parents are affected by cancer, but it created a community among students and faculty. There was not one instance where we asked faculty or administrators for help, and it was not provided. The students who are involved in Camp Kesem have become some of my best friends, and we’re all such different people who probably would not have met if it were not for Camp Kesem. This organization gave us a common cause to work towards, while creating lasting friendships and community on campus.

    What did you learn about yourself in these past four years that surprised you?
    One thing I learned about myself was how many interests I have. With the liberal arts education, I was able to take different courses in different areas, and I found that I had a passion for women’s and gender studies, and was then able to minor in it. I was also able to try water polo, participate in band, volunteer through APO, make friendships through SAI (Sigma Alpha Iota music sorority), tutor elementary school students through Wide Open Weekdays, and so much more. I gained a new perspective of myself and found myself as a well-rounded, independent individual.  

    How did you use your Augie Choice?
    I used Augie Choice to study abroad in Sydney, Australia. I had an internship at The Fundraising People, and it was an amazing experience. While in Australia, I was able to go to Cairns, Melbourne, and then New Zealand for spring break.

    What will you miss the most?
    Everything. I will miss the clubs and extra-curriculars. I will miss my professors, but most of all I will miss the community I’ve become a part of. It’s such a nice feeling being able to walk around campus and see familiar faces. It’s also nice to know that if you’re having a rough time, you have friends and professors who genuinely care about you and want to help.

    Advice for the Class of 2018?
    Take advantage of every opportunity possible! If you have an interest, find a club that incorporates it. Augie doesn’t have a club that has it? Then start one! Study abroad, get involved in the surrounding community, go to your professors’ office hours and get to know them, try something new, but above all else, find something you’re passionate about and stick with it.

  • Austin's activities: Rho Nu Delta, Student Life Programming Board, varsity swimming

    Austin Zarbuck

    "When I first met Austin, he was this quiet sophomore, sitting in the back row of my Principles of Accounting class. He didn’t say much, but when I graded his first test, I knew this was a student I wanted as a major. He displayed a natural talent and ability that is uncommon. For the last class we had together, I used his work as the solution manual because it was better than the author’s version. Austin continued to grow and flourish during his time at Augustana, and I look forward to watching him as he flourishes as a professional."

    — Pamela Drueger, professor, accounting

    Austin Zarbuck

    Majors: Accounting and business administration (marketing)

    Internships: Two summer internships at Group O in Milan, Ill., and I just completed a winter internship at Grant Thornton in Chicago (audit practice).

    Post-grad plans: Attend The Ohio State University on a university fellowship to earn my master's of accounting. After that I will sit for the CPA, and I plan to continue in public accounting.

    Why did you choose to attend Augustana?
    There were lots of factors that led to my decision to attend Augustana, but the bottom line was that I felt that I would get personal, focused attention on my academics and anything else I wanted to pursue.

    Are you where you thought you’d be four years ago?
    Absolutely not. When I came to college, I thought I knew two things — that I did not want to be an accountant and that I wanted to be done with school in four years. Now I’m starting a career in accounting with plans to continue schooling. Both are things that I’m passionate and excited about.

    Who helped you get to where you are now?
    Augustana is such a strong community, and there are so many people who have encouraged my growth. My professors and advisors who pushed me academically and helped me succeed in landing internships and graduate school offers. My swim coach who challenged me to ignore my limits and reach greater heights. And of course all my friends that I’ve met at Augustana, who have been there to support me and make college such an enjoyable time. 

    A peak experience?
    My entire senior year has been a peak experience. All the work I’ve done these past three years has been coming to fruition through academic success, leadership opportunities and meaningful friendships.

    What did you learn about yourself in these past four years that surprised you?
    How much I can achieve when I am passionate and relentless in what I set my mind to.

    How did you use your Augie Choice?
    I used Augie Choice to help pay for my living expenses in Chicago during my internship at Grant Thornton. 

    What will you miss the most?
    My Rho Nu Delta brothers and my friends at the Office of Student Life. These people gave my college experience meaning outside of the classroom and have left a lasting impression on me. I really treasure all the people I’ve gotten to know through these two organizations. 

    Advice for the Class of 2018?
    Realize what it is costing you to attend and use that as motivation for going to class, joining clubs, checking out campus activities or even meeting new people. College should not be a place where you spend a bunch of money to get a piece of paper, but rather an opportunity to invest yourself in a way that pays off for the rest of your life.

  • Hannah's activities: Augie FC (women’s club soccer), SAGA Arts & Literary Magazine, Stonecutters (Ultimate Frisbee), Campus Ministries annual spring break trip to Appalachia

    Hannah Bohn

    "Hannah Bohn is one of those students whose scholarly abilities are at such a high level that I feel like I'm not teaching her so much as I'm simply giving her new readings to fuel great discussions. Her Senior Inquiry project on Northern Ireland is truly exciting. That region of the world has been studied extensively, but her research question is really unique, and will make a novel contribution to the topic. Hannah also embodies the interdisciplinary nature of the liberal arts, and the deep, instinctual curiosity that we try to instill in all our students here at Augustana."

    — Dr. Adam Kaul; associate professor; sociology, anthropology and social welfare

    Hannah Bohn

    Majors: Anthropology and French
    Minors: Studio art and sociology

    Post-grad plans:: I have accepted a year-long position as a FEMA Corps Team Leader for the Southern Region. After that I’ll either opt for a second year with the Corps, find a job with FEMA or a related agency, or pursue graduate study in emergency management or anthropology.

    Why did you choose to attend Augustana?
    Somehow Augustana ended up on a list of schools to visit when my mom and I took a three-day/five-college road trip through the Midwest. We visited on a lush summer day, and my mom fell in love with the campus. It wasn’t until I visited again for the Departmental Open House and Scholarship Competition and stayed overnight with some amazing students who later became like family to me, that I fell in love, too. I couldn’t see myself anywhere else.

    Are you where you thought you’d be four years ago?
    Well, I came into Augustana thinking I would major in art education... that didn’t happen. I realized that I wasn’t ready to be a teacher, and I was really interested in people and culture. By the end of this year I’ll have written two Senior Inquiries (one in a different language!), traveled abroad, designed and conducted my own research, and published SAGA’s 77th volume. So... definitely not where I thought I’d be. It’s a much better place.

    Who helped you get to where you are now?
    Absolutely, most importantly, my parents. They have always supported my dreams, rejoiced in my success and listened tirelessly to my stories. At Augustana, I’ve been fortunate to have been surrounded by amazing people. Dr. Adam Kaul, my anthropology advisor, is truly an advisor, mentor and friend. He has been so supportive and enthusiastic about my research and my future. Meghan Cooley, the director of recruitment communications, for whom I’ve worked all four years at Augustana, has become family to me. Between listening to me vent about school, teaching me valuable communication skills, and inviting me to get to know her family, she is such a role model. 

    A peak experience?
    Spring term of last year I studied abroad in Ireland, and I received a summer student research fellowship to stay in Ireland for the summer to complete my ethnographic research on Northern Ireland’s Troubles. On the term abroad, I made new (and strengthened old) friendships while exploring a beautiful country. Staying in Ireland independently was an incredible learning experience during which I met fascinating people, dove deep into Irish culture and history, and went surfing... just for fun.

    What did you learn about yourself in these past four years that surprised you?
    I guess I was surprised by how much I’ve enjoyed doing research. Before my project in Ireland, ethnographic research was only theoretical to me. Interviewing was comfortable and natural and actually hardly seemed like research at all. I’m amazed at how well I’ve gotten to know my subject, and how I’ve come to care about it so much.

    How did you use your Augie Choice?
    I used Augie Choice to study abroad in Ireland the spring term of my junior year.

    What will you miss the most?
    Frisbee in the Quad, the spring break service trip to Appalachia, advising meetings that turn into life talks with Adam Kaul, “anthropologizing” about daily life, soccer games, the art department, work/life chats with Meghan Cooley, hilarious intelligent conversations in the Reading/Writing Center, racquetball when we remember to play, and of course my Augustana family. This is a hard place to leave.

    Advice for the Class of 2018?
    Try something new, continuously. Join an obscure club, sit at a table with people you don’t know, take a random class, study abroad. Keep it interesting.

  • Hiba's activities: Muslim Student Association, Student Government Association, Reading/Writing Center, Chinese Club, Volunteer Income Tax Assistance, Interfaith Understanding, Mortar Board, Omicron Delta Kappa

    Hiba Ansari

    "Hiba is more than just an outstanding student. She has been an asset to the cultural life of our college. Whether in Washington, D.C., at a national interfaith conference or in the Muslim Students Association or in China during her term abroad or even in a study group for local young women that she manages, Hiba is a person whose passion for positive change affects everything she does. This passion constantly infuses her studies with direction and meaning. It energizes others. She is, in many ways, a person who finds it difficult not to lead."

    — Dr. Cyrus Zargar, assistant professor, religion

    Hiba Ansari

    Major: Business administration (international business)
    Minor: Accounting

    Internships: Accounting intern at Deere & Company; operations intern at Junior Achievement of the Heartland

    Post-grad plans: Begin my business analyst position for a management consulting practice in Des Moines. In the future, I’d like to pursue an MBA and start my own business. 

    Why did you choose to attend Augustana?
    My first visit was during the fall of 2009 (wow!), and I was instantly mesmerized by the scenic campus setting. The welcome and warmth that I felt on this campus also surpassed other colleges. Faculty and staff assured me that students were empowered at Augie to work magic beyond the classroom. This was the type of campus synergy I was seeking...plus, doesn’t Founders Hall remind you of Hogwarts?

    Are you where you thought you’d be four years ago?
    No way. I came to Augie thinking I was going to go into neuroscience and religion. With the help of some early mentoring, I realized that I couldn’t just connect the dots with courses to a major. I needed breathing room, growing room. Discovering the business major was so clarifying for me because this was the niche where I could sharpen both people and number skills to make an impact. Still, I continued to be curious and take classes in religion, geography, sociology and Chinese! Looking back, I’m so grateful that I exposed myself to so many other disciplines. Truly it has helped me become such a better global thinker, which is just what the business world needs.

    Who helped you get to where you are now?
    There are so many “campus champions” that cheered me on from start to finish. Mrs. Mamata Marmé was always there to motivate me and push me forward, even when I didn’t want to budge. She encouraged my ideas, ambitions and helped me make my game plans. Her spirit of giving back to students is something I hope to embody in my future career. Johnna Adam and the CEC for all the excellent internship to career advice; it made the difference! Dr. Cyrus Zargar for providing much-needed guidance in the classroom and the community. I also have to mention Pastor Richard Priggie for nurturing me as a freshman and giving me the courage to move forward on campus.

    A peak experience?
    My study abroad trip on East Asia Term was the most adventurous and exhilarating experience I’ve had during my time at Augie. Discovering the local hum and jazzy city life made me realize how flexible one can become in unfamiliar environments. Especially navigating through China’s robust recreational activities, I’ll never forget lighting floating lanterns across the Yangtze River. Although it was a tiny flame, it had the power to illuminate new worlds for me. 我爱中国,将返回。

    What did you learn about yourself in these past four years that surprised you?
    Deadlines are no longer as scary as they seemed. You don’t need a time turner to take two classes at the same time. As soon as I got comfortable with an activity or group, I kept trying something new. I don’t know how I survived a day without Google calendars.

    How did you use your Augie Choice?
    I used Augie Choice to help cover food and travel costs while on East Asia Term.

    What will you miss the most?
    I'm certainly going to miss the energy that helped make this campus alive and thriving. The classes, conversations, friends coming together to cram for the next exam. Taking walks down the slough and making office visits to my professors. I’ll miss all the friendly faces that made Augustana home for four years. I owe them much gratitude and thanks.

    Advice for the Class of 2018?
    Transform this campus to one you want to be a part of. Make it yours. Boredom will be nonexistent once you let yourself explore. There are allies everywhere on campus, so don’t ever feel alone. Be curious with your classes, and there’s no such thing as being “too” hardworking. Really. Lastly, Augustana will move you, stretch you, shape you... so stay spontaneous and enjoy it.

  • Matt's activities: Augustana Chemical Society

    Matt Humphries

    "Matt is a great example of a student who has taken advantage of all that Augustana has to offer and in the process has given a lot back to the college. He has excelled in the classroom and has shared his academic gifts by tutoring other students. He has demonstrated leadership as a peer mentor and as president of the Augustana Chemical Society. Most impressively, Matt made significant contributions to a research project that led to publication of a peer-reviewed article. I am confident that Matt will continue to make positive contributions to the field of chemistry and society as a whole."

    — Dr. Greg Domski ’03, assistant professor, chemistry

    Matt Humphries

    Major: Chemistry
    Minor: Mathematics

    Post-grad plans: Attend graduate school to earn a Ph.D. in chemistry. I plan to pursue a career in researching alternative energy.

    Why did you choose to attend Augustana?
    From listening to past graduates, I was given the impression that being an Augustana graduate is something that sticks with you as a token of pride for a lifetime.

    Are you where you thought you’d be four years ago?
    I thought I would pursue a degree in biology/pre-med and go to medical school. I changed my mind to go into chemistry after becoming aware of and very interested in chemistry research.

    Who helped you get to where you are now?
    My parents and my wife always encouraged me to do well inside and outside of class. I have also had a very close connection with professors, and they have continued to push me to where I am now.

    A peak experience?
    Having the research I conducted with Dr. Domski published was one of the most rewarding experiences I had at Augustana.

    What did you learn about yourself in these past four years that surprised you?
    I learned that you can balance a successful academic career while still maintaining a social life.

    How did you use your Augie Choice?
    I used my Augie Choice to fund some of the chemistry research I conducted over the summer of 2013.

    What will you miss the most?
    I will always miss the atmosphere at Augustana. Being involved at Augustana has been one of the most rewarding and memorable things I have done.

    Advice for the Class of 2018?
    Keep an open mind as a first-year student. Learn what is out there for you to major in before choosing what you want to do.

  • Maggie's activities: Varsity soccer (Academic All-American 2012, 2013; NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship), Delta Chi Theta sorority, Order of Omega Greek Leadership Society, National Society for Leadership and Success, Student Athletic Advisory Committee, Athletes Giving Back

    Maggie Hoscheit

    "Maggie is one of those students who has mastered the ability to juggle not only her academics, but also her performance on the field. It takes dedication to both her studies and her sport. She is able to accomplish all this and remain human. She also makes time to help other students through tutoring and mentoring them in the classroom and on/off the field."

    — Dr. Jason Koontz, associate professor, biology

    Maggie Hoscheit

    Major: Biology (pre-dentistry)
    Minor: Biochemistry

    Internship: Riverside Dentistry in Moline, Ill.

    Post-grad plans: Attend Southern Illinois University School of Dental Medicine

    Why did you choose to attend Augustana?
    The first time I visited, I was overwhelmed by the positivity spread all across campus. From admissions to the athletic department, each person I met had a host of great things to say about the Augustana experience. After learning about the exceptional science department, successful women’s soccer program and dense campus environment, it struck me that Augustana is a very special place. It seemed as if there were endless opportunities to grow as an individual here, and I couldn’t pass up the chance to become a part of it.

    Are you where you thought you’d be four years ago?
    My time here has exceeded any and all expectations that I had four years ago. I am much more prepared for life after graduation than I thought I would be, and am very anxious to pursue my career. I’ve met and formed lasting relationships with a myriad of wonderful people, and my list of experiences is deeper and more meaningful than I could have ever imagined.

    Who helped you get to where you are now?
    Staying strong in my faith has been the keystone of my progression. Aside from that, the unwavering support from my family has given me a very full college experience, and has allowed me to choose the career path that is right for me. My professors have amply prepared me for graduate school and simultaneously introduced me to opportunities that I never knew existed. Finally, my friends, teammates and coaches have consistently pushed me to be the best person I can be, and they are the day-to-day reasons why I have thoroughly enjoyed my time here.

    A peak experience?
    I’m incredibly fortunate to have multiple peak experiences. Traveling across Europe with my team in the summer of 2011 is definitely something that will stay with me forever. Winning conference in fall 2013 and our three trips to the NCAA tournament are all peaks of my athletic career, as it was always exciting to see that our hard work paid off as we reached our goals as a team. Helping organize the Payne in the ALS 5K run in spring 2012 was also a high point, as it showed me how powerful two people’s desires to give can be. Helping that group of girls put together a successful fund-raiser was very rewarding, and it fueled my interest to serve the needy through mission trips across the country.

    What did you learn about yourself in these past four years that surprised you?
    A lot. The most noteworthy things would probably be how much I enjoy taking advantage of unforeseen opportunities, and how I thrive off of living a very busy lifestyle. Making the most out of each day has proven to be very rewarding.

    How did you use your Augie Choice?
    I used my Augie Choice to supplement an unpaid shadowing internship at Riverside Dentistry in Moline. It was an invaluable experience from which I learned an incredible amount about dentistry, and it made me very confident and excited about my career choice.

    What will you miss the most?
    I’m really going to miss my teammates and being a part of something so much bigger than myself. I’m also going to miss the tight-knit “community” feel that is spread throughout campus, as I know that it is something very special and unique to Augustana.

    Advice for the Class of 2018?
    Don’t hesitate to fully immerse yourself in your interests here, but make an effort to step out of your comfort zone and try something new. Keep an open mind to meeting and befriending people who are quite different from you. These new experiences and relationships often teach you the most valuable lessons about yourself and others, and will continue to inspire you to grow as an individual.

  • Chrissy's activities: Alpha Phi Omega national service fraternity, Camp Kesem Augustana

    Chrissy Kunkel

    "Chrissy has taken advantage of unique opportunities to work closely with faculty on exciting original research projects at the intersection of rhetoric, media and gender. She has already presented her work on women in ‘Game of Thrones’ at one national conference, and is preparing to present on Michele Bachmann’s presidential campaign rhetoric at another national conference this spring! This experience makes her a competitive candidate for top-tier graduate programs in communication studies."

    — Dr. Stephen Klien, professor, communication studies

    Chrissy Kunkel

    Majors: English and communication studies

    Internships: Summer Research Fellowship at Augustana to study representations of female empowerment in HBO's “Game of Thrones”; Student-Faculty Research Grant at Augustana to study the rhetoric of the women of the Tea Party movement with Dr. Stephen Klien.

    Post-grad plans: I will attend graduate school for my master’s in communication studies. I am still waiting to hear back from other schools, but I have received admission at Johns Hopkins University. I have not yet decided whether to pursue a Ph.D. or search for a career in the field of communication/public relations after graduate school.

    Why did you choose to attend Augustana?
    I chose Augustana because of its strong reputation as an academic institution and the small size that facilitates closer relationships between students and faculty. However, it was the gorgeous campus that really sealed the deal. I felt at home immediately on my first visit!

    Are you where you thought you’d be four years ago?
    If someone asked me four years ago whether I would be eagerly waiting to attend graduate school next year, I would have laughed. I didn’t even know for sure what my major would be, and now I’m graduating with two! I am so excited to use all I’ve learned in grad school and beyond. The liberal arts education I’ve received at Augie has given me not only factual knowledge, but also more insight about myself and the world around me.

    Who helped you get to where you are now?
    So many people have helped me the last four years — family, friends, peers, faculty. The majority of my gratitude goes to the professors at Augie who go above and beyond to ensure that all of their students are doing all they can to be successful.

    A peak experience?
    I have had two peak experiences at Augustana. Studying abroad in Ireland was educational, beautiful and taught me so much about the world and our own society. I made some of my best friends in college on that trip. A second peak experience was my summer research fellowship studying representations of female empowerment in HBO’s “Game of Thrones.” The school funded a trip to Marist College in New York so I could present my research at the Women & Society Conference this past October, which was such a rewarding experience.

    What did you learn about yourself in these past four years that surprised you?
    College has given me a sense of independence, courage and confidence. I had no idea that I was capable of living in a foreign country for a term or conducting my own research projects!

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

    What will you miss the most?
    It’s hard to pick just one thing. Probably the people I’ve developed relationships with throughout the last four years — I’ve become very close to so many of my peers and professors. I’ll also miss the beauty of the campus, particularly during fall and spring!

    Advice for the Class of 2018?
    Take advantage of all the opportunities Augie offers and don’t sell yourself short. There were so many amazing experiences I could have missed out on if I hadn’t been confident to put myself out there and go for it!

  • Paul's activities: Business Club, Observer student-run newspaper, WAUG student-run radio station

    Paul Kleinhans-Schulz

    "Paul Kleinhans-Schulz brings enthusiasm and passion into anything he leads on campus. As the president of Beta Upsilon Sigma, he ensured great programming for the student organization. Business trips planned to Chicago, St. Louis and Milwaukee were second to none. His experience within sports business grew as he completed four internships with different teams and sports associations, including a strategic sports internship in Sydney, Australia. Paul excelled both inside and outside of the classroom, and I look forward to following his path as a leader within the sports business world."

    — Karen Petersen, director, Employment and Internships

    Paul Kleinhans-Schulz

    Major: Business administration (marketing)
    Minor: Psychology

    Internships: Waterloo (Iowa) Bucks Baseball; Quad Cities River Bandits; Bowls NSW (Sydney, Australia); and Cedar Rapids (Iowa) Kernels Baseball

    Post-grad plans: Account executive with the Quad Cities River Bandits

    Why did you choose to attend Augustana?
    It is a well-respected school that was far enough away from home for me to explore places that I have not had any experience with but close enough where I didn’t feel isolated. Also, I felt that Augie would be a great place where I could develop my academic skills outside of just growing in my knowledge of the business world.

    Are you where you thought you’d be four years ago?
    Yes, but not by the path that I thought I would take to get there. I did not expect to be able to get so much experience in and out of the classroom that would be in a variety of different fields and departments. Overall, I worked harder and learned a lot more on my path to get to where I am than what I thought would.

    Who helped you get to where you are now?
    Karen Petersen especially helped me realize the amount of work that I would need to do to help me get to where I am. Also, Mrs. Marmé, my advisor, was a big help in setting my path in the right direction. I need to give credit to all of my former mentors at my past internships, Dan Corbin in Waterloo, Shane Huff in Davenport, Michael Beaumont in Sydney, Scott Wilson in Cedar Rapids, and everyone else who has helped with my professional growth.

    A peak experience?
    My peak experience was the Australia program by far. It was so much fun to be in a place of the world that I did not think I would make it t0... while being surrounded by some of the best people I have ever spent time with... while getting work experience. It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that I reflect upon every single day.

    What did you learn about yourself in these past four years that surprised you?
    That I can effectively use my time wisely in order to succeed with my school and work lives while continuing to have a fun social life. I knew that time management was going to be something that I would grow in college, but I did not expect it to happen to this large of an extent.

    How did you use your Augie Choice?
    I used my Augie Choice for the Australia Program.

    What will you miss the most?
    The friends that I made along the way and the professors that I spent countless hours conversing with in and out of the classroom.

    Advice for the Class of 2018?
    1) Go to class. It doesn’t matter if you sleep through most of it; you’ll at least learn something that you wouldn’t have if you stayed home. 2) Be friends with the professors you’ll be dealing with. They will help you in professional development so much, and they can help you reach heights that you cannot reach on your own. 3) Network, network, network. Makes searching for internships and jobs so much easier.

  • Vuk's activities: Omicron Sigma Omicron fraternity, Advertising Developers (ADs) competition team

    Vuk Bojovic

    "A student wanders into my office and says he is writing for ‘Branding Magazine’ ... an hour later we are still talking about the power of brand in the marketplace. Vuk joined the Advertising Developers (ADs) competition team. At some meetings he is the idea guy rolling through some innovative marketing tactic; at the next meeting he may be the person that calls the group to task keeping the marketing plan integrated and audience-focused. I hope his future employers are ready for his focused marketing energy."

    — Doug Tschopp, director, Augustana’s Entrepreneurial Center, and instructor, communication studies

    Vuk Bojovic

    Major: Economics
    Minor: Communication studies

    Post-grad plans: Remain in the States for at least a year to get experience in marketing and strategic planning for market research, hopefully on the East Coast.

    Why did you choose to attend Augustana?
    I chose Augie because I wanted more than just an exceptional education; I wanted a great experience at a small college where I would be more than just a number.

    Are you where you thought you’d be four years ago?
    I made it farther than I thought I would. I came to Augustana from Serbia, not knowing what I wanted to study or how it would help me shape my future. My goal was to get comfortable with the American college culture and to experience everything that it has to offer. I got a degree in economics, a discipline whose models helped me grasp the behavior of the markets that are applicable in any field. I got to go to East Asia and learn about cultures that are different from both American and Serbian. Because of my experience, I will always be a big advocate of liberal arts education.

    Who helped you get to where you are now?
    Everybody that was a part of my education in any sense: professors, advisors, friends, colleagues and others. The best part about all this is that at a small school like Augustana, these people are rather connected than split in categories. Some of the people that I could classify as “all of the above” in previously mentioned categories are my international advisor Jane Tiedge, academic advisor Chris Marmé and Advertising Developers advisor Doug Tschopp. They all contributed to my college experience in a different, special way, and I cannot thank them enough for that

    A peak experience?
    The experience that completely blew my mind with how much I learned and developed personally and professionally was East Asia Term in Japan and China. The directors of the program have been running it since the 1970s, and I am glad I got to be a part of that special experience. I got to go to so many different places and to meet some very special people that I would not have met otherwise.

    What did you learn about yourself in these past four years that surprised you?
    That I am a true citizen of the world, and Augustana helped me realize that. Not that I am surprised by it, but the small campus/class size environment pushed for more interactions with others and exploration of self.

    How did you use your Augie Choice?
    I used my Augie Choice to do research in international finance, specifically analyzing how the depreciation of currencies on the foreign exchange currency markets affect trade balance of the Serbian stock market.

    What will you miss the most?
    Class discussions with people whose opinion differs from my own and Monday morning walks to class in Evald.

    Advice for the Class of 2018?
    Stay open-minded and experience Augustana the way you want!

  • Erin's activities: WAUG student-run radio station, Heavy Metal Club

    Erin Williams

    "Erin Williams, a brilliant if modest senior with a creative, independent mind and dexterous hand, has produced a unique deck of visually pleasing cards — equally fine in writing, imagery and colors — to aid the studies of Norse Runes. She must have broken a record of hard work by staying up for nights before a group critique. For her drive and labor of love, Erin deserves to be world famous one day. And if we all had her drive, the world would be very different!"

    — Peter Xiao, professor, art

    Erin Williams

    Majors: Business administration (marketing) and graphic design

    Internships: Marketing/design intern with the District of Rock Island

    Post-grad plans: Move to St. Louis and find a job with an arts or music non-profit or become a radio DJ

    Why did you choose to attend Augustana?
    I visited for a Madrigals event while in high school and fell in love with the campus. I thought it was a beautiful place, and I wanted to see what it had to offer.

    Are you where you thought you’d be four years ago?
    Not at all! I came to Augie as a music education major, and now I’m leaving as a business and design graduate. I explored many, MANY different majors before deciding on the two I have now, and it’s been such a rush to try all these new things. Augustana has changed me mentally, spiritually and creatively.

    Who helped you get to where you are now?
    All of my professors have helped me in some way or another. The entire art and design faculty have been great, and I owe a lot to them, especially Corinne Smith for getting me more into design than I thought possible in her 2D Design class, and Peter Xiao for helping all us seniors form new and exciting ideas for our Senior Inquiry projects. I also want to shout out to WAUG’s former faculty advisor Brad Isbell for bringing the radio station into a great place and for always giving me great life advice. The professors at Augustana really do care about their students, and it’s nice to see a teacher you had freshman year in the hallway, and they still recognize you. I feel like that is something that only happens at small schools like ours.

    A peak experience?
    Getting to intern with the District of Rock Island and work on their summer music festivals was one of the highlights of my college career. I met many wonderful people, especially the two people I worked with the most, Catherine Rodgers-Ingles and Carl McClaskey. Without this internship, I would have never been interested in graphic design, and I feel so lucky to have worked with them. I use knowledge I gained from that summer every day, even two years later.

    What did you learn about yourself in these past four years that surprised you?
    I learned a lot about my creative capabilities from being challenged over and over in my design classes. I learned a lot about my own personal faith from the varied religion courses I took, and I learned a lot about my own heart through how much I love my Heavy Metal Club family!

    How did you use your Augie Choice?
    I used my Augie Choice to fund living in the Quad Cities during my summer internship.

    What will you miss the most?
    I will miss Augie’s Heavy Metal Club the most by far. I joined as a freshman with a vague interest in folk metal, and these people quickly became my second family. I would do anything for them, and I know they would do anything for me. I will miss that sense of loyalty and friendship while we were on campus for the rest of my life. I wish the members of Metal Club who aren't graduating all the best in the world, and hope that they have found the same sense of family in the group that our seniors have, and that the club continues to thrive and grow.

    Advice for the Class of 2018?
    Don’t be afraid to branch out! I joined WAUG when I had no experience, and now I'm the manager. Try new things, join way too many clubs when you get on campus and then pare down. Don't be afraid to change majors (your parents really won't be disappointed, I promise).

  • DJ’s activities: Varsity soccer, Sports Medicine, Residential Life, Student Athletic Advisory Committee, Beta Beta Beta Biology Honor Society, Mortar Board National College Senior Honor Society, Omicron Delta Kappa National Leadership Honor Society

    DJ Lawlor

    "DJ has shown a great enthusiasm for learning. He has done an outstanding job of taking advantage of opportunities in and out of the classroom. He has shown that he is a true leader by volunteering his time to teach his fellow Augustana students on topics relating to human anatomy. By teaching his peers, he will be better prepared for the rigors of medical school."

    — Brad Kennedy, instructor, biology

    DJ Lawlor

    Majors: Neuroscience and biology (pre-medicine)
    Minor: Biochemistry

    Internships: I spent my summer before senior year shadowing a general surgeon in the Quad Cities.

    Post-grad plans: I plan to attend medical school.

    Why did you choose to attend Augustana?
    After visiting other colleges and universities, Augustana felt like it was more than just a college block — although in the winter, I frequently wished it was. I was amazed with the friendliness of the campus and could not imagine a better place to spend four years.

    Are you where you thought you’d be four years ago?
    Not quite. While coming into college, I was set on my career path, but I never would have thought I would become a Community Advisor, develop the friendships I have or conduct genetic research on chicken retinas during my four years here.

    Who helped you get to where you are now?
    I could not have made it this far without the support from my family and friends and guidance from the Augustana faculty. Specifically in the biology department, Dr. Georgi has been helpful in the classroom as well as outside the classroom. He has pushed me to further apply myself and provided the opportunity to perform genetic research on chicken retinas.

    A peak experience?
    During the summer leading into my sophomore year, I had the opportunity to play soccer internationally. The men's team traveled to Trinidad and Tobago, playing five games and experiencing another culture. Having never left the country before, this was certainly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

    What did you learn about yourself in these past four years that surprised you?
    I have learned that taking chances is a must in life. While some things may seem ridiculous, just give it a shot. If it does not work out, at least I tried it.

    How did you use your Augie Choice?
    My Augie Choice was used to fund my experience shadowing a general surgeon. During this internship, I scrubbed in for surgeries, observed from the operating table, and sat in on consultations/post-op visits. Because this experience was unpaid, I used the money to "pay" myself as if it was a regular job.

    What will you miss the most?
    Over the years, I have developed great friendships and will miss seeing my friends daily.

    Advice for the Class of 2018?
    Get involved in something you find interesting. With hundreds of sports, groups, clubs and activities on campus, find a few that you like. You will meet your closest friends and have a blast!

  • Samantha's activities: Augustana Dance Company

    Samantha Paddock

    "Now and then a student will appear in one of your classes whose eyes tell you there’s a lot going on behind them, including a profound sense of gratitude for our rich cultural inheritance. Here’s a mind poised to leap on the next book, certainly, but here, too, is a soul prepared to be instructed by it. Samantha is such a student — a very worthy heir of that priceless thing we call a liberal arts education."

    — Dr. Jason Peters, professor, English

    Samantha Paddock

    Majors: English and graphic design

    Internships: I had a graphic design internship during the summer of 2013, as well as an internship during the winter of 2011 working for MidCoast Fine Arts.

    Post-grad plans: I have been accepted into the University of Chicago’s program for a Professional Editing Certificate. Long term, I am keeping an open mind, but a career in art direction or returning to school to receive my Ph.D. in literature are strong possibilities.

    Why did you choose to attend Augustana?
    I chose Augustana for its English program. I loved all of the faculty members that I met on visits, and I was excited for the opportunities they offered for students interested in editing and publishing.

    Are you where you thought you’d be four years ago?
    Not at all. I have this whole other major besides the English major that I had planned on, and I found a talent in the fine arts that I had no idea I had.

    Who helped you get to where you are now?
    Professors like Jason Peters, David Crowe and Kelvin Mason are the reasons students should choose Augustana. Being a part of each of their classrooms changed who I am as a student, and more importantly as a human being. I owe an enormous debt of gratitude to each of them. In their own way, each of them inspired me, challenged me and taught me skills that will be invaluable in my future.

    A peak experience?
    My peak experience was a field trip to the Shawnee Hills that I took with Reuben Heine’s geography class. I will be honest. At first, I was not too thrilled to be spending my first weekend back on campus on a field trip, but that is what made it such an amazing experience, because it was so unexpectedly wonderful. I was able to meet people that I would not have met otherwise, and I got to be out in the gorgeous scenery all weekend long.

    What did you learn about yourself in these past four years that surprised you?
    I learned that I am an artist, which I never in a million years thought I would be. In high school, I didn’t take a single art class or venture out of my comfort zone for that matter. Then I came to Augustana, took a photography class freshman year, and am now on an entirely different path than I thought I would be.

    How did you use your Augie Choice?
    I used my Augie Choice towards a graphic design internship that I had last summer.

    What will you miss the most?
    I will miss getting to be a student. I really do love it, and I feel extremely fortunate that for the last four years I have gotten the chance to learn from some extremely gifted individuals.

    Advice for the Class of 2018?
    Take a class with Jason Peters or David Crowe. It will change your life, I promise you.

  • Cameron's activities: Student Government Association, Black Student Union, Rho Nu Delta, WAUG student-run radio station, and numerous college boards and committees

    Cameron Onumah

    "It’s easy to think that Cameron is just a natural-born leader. People respond to his confidence, charisma and genuine commitment to student causes. However, leaders are made, not born. From studying political science and communication studies to serving at the helm of SGA, BSU and WAUG, Cameron has been intentional in developing his leadership skills while at Augustana. I can hardly wait to see the positive impact a strong leader like Cameron can make in the world!"

    — Dr. Wendy Hilton-Morrow, associate professor, communication studies

    Cameron Onumah

    Majors: Communication studies and political science (pre-law)

    Internships: Democratic Party; Office of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti

    Post-grad plans: I will be moving back to my hometown of Los Angeles and pursuing a number of professional interests. I eventually plan to go to graduate school.

    Why did you choose to attend Augustana?
    It just felt right. Augustana was not at the top of my list when I began my college search. However, it quickly became clear to me that this would be a place were I could grow both academically and as a person. I have loved every minute of it.

    Are you where you thought you’d be four years ago?
    That’s hard to say. I am moving in the direction that I hoped I would, and that is all because of my time at Augustana.

    Who helped you get to where you are now?
    I have been lucky to have a lot of people who were willing to put up with me over the years. Dean Mark Anderson has been immensely supportive of me throughout my college career; he has treated me like family, and I am so thankful for his being there for me. Dean Campbell and President Bahls have taught me so much about leadership and not being afraid to make tough decisions. In the classroom, I am grateful to have had such awesome professors like Steve Klien and Wendy Hilton-Morrow from communication studies and Lendol Calder in history. I would not have been able to intern in Los Angeles this term had it not been for Dr. Chris Whitt and the political science department, who went out of their way so that I could work on part of my Senior Inquiry from home. Finally, and most importantly, my wonderful family and my unbreakable faith in God have helped me get to where I am today and where I will be in the future.

    A peak experience?
    It has been an honor and privilege to serve my fellow students as president of the Student Government Association for the last two years. Winning that first election my sophomore year against two very tough and perhaps even better-qualified candidates than myself is surely my most peak experience. I have helped to make our college better for our students and personally I have been afforded opportunities that I otherwise could have only dreamt of.

    What did you learn about yourself in these past four years that surprised you?
    I thought I wanted to be a lawyer when I first came to Augustana. While that is no longer the case, I am happy that I was able to explore law while at Augustana and realize that it was not for me before choosing to pursue a profession that I would not have been happy with. 

    How did you use your Augie Choice?
    The summer before my junior year, I used my Augie Choice funds to intern with the Democratic Party. This was an amazing experience and would not have been possible without Augie Choice.

    What will you miss the most?
    The sense of community, which is one of the things that made me decide to come to Augustana four years ago.

    Advice for the Class of 2018?
    Don’t get too comfortable. These four years are going to fly by, so be sure to take advantage of everything college has to offer. Intern, study abroad, join as many groups as you can positively contribute to, and have fun. I have found that the best way to do that is to not be afraid to go outside of your comfort zone and take risks.

  • Jean's activities: ACHOO (Augustana Community Health Outreach Organization), JETS-Nicaragua (Joining Education Through Service)

    Jean (John) Bosco Munyengabe

    "John was a solid contributor during our summer medical clinics in Nicaragua: his work ethic and awareness of cultural nuances were invaluable. His behavior with patients and our Nicaraguan staff members served as a constant example to other students on how to be respectful yet persistent. John’s reflective journal entries also showed that he was processing material at a deeper level than many other students — he wants a health care career because he loves biology but also for deeply altruistic reasons. I look forward to seeing his future accomplishments."

    — Dr. Dara Wegman-Geedey, professor, biology

    Jean (John) Bosco Munyengabe

    Major: Biology (pre-medicine)
    Minor: Religion

    Post-grad plans: I'm waiting to hear if I am accepted in the post-baccalaureate pre-health professional program at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine.

    Why did you choose to attend Augustana?
    I attended Black Hawk College for two years, and when I was looking into transferring to a four-year undergraduate school, Augustana stood out among other possible colleges. I was looking for a school near the Quad Cities that had a strong program to prepare me for medical school. Even more than that, I was looking for a small school where interaction with other students and professors would be much easier. Augustana had all these qualities.

    Are you where you thought you’d be four years ago?
    I have made huge progress, but I still have a long way to go. This has been a great foundation for my prospective career in medicine.

    Who helped you get to where you are now?
    My mom has been very supportive, and she has encouraged me throughout my school years. Dr. Dara Wegman-Geedey has been so inspirational as well. ?I did multiple research experiences with Dr. Lori Scott, and she has helped me begin to see myself as a scientist.

    A peak experience?
    I traveled to Nicaragua with other students for medical service learning. This became an experience that helped me to see the medical field from a different perspective. I also got to make new friends, something I usually find difficult.

    What did you learn about yourself in these past four years that surprised you?
    I have learned that public speaking is not my thing because I tend to be very nervous.

    How did you use your Augie Choice?
    I participated in the JETS program for medical learning service.

    What will you miss the most?
    I will miss being taught by science professors Dr. Scott, Dr. Wegman-Geedey and Dr. Georgi.

    Advice for the Class of 2018?
    Study more, play less. Travel abroad for a new experience because you don't know where life might take you. You don't know what you are missing.

  • Amy's activities: Residential Life; Augustana Student Speech, Language, and Hearing Association; National Residence Hall Honorary; Mortar Board; Omicron Delta Kappa (leadership honor society)

    Amy Maplethorpe

    "Amy is a delightful, dedicated student, who demonstrates a great level of commitment and passion for communication sciences and disorders. In addition, she has been a fantastic leader on campus, serving as a community advisor and this year as an assistant residence director. Her interpersonal skills and reliability are truly remarkable."

    — Dr. Dr. Ann Perreau,
    assistant professor,
    communication sciences and disorders

    Amy Maplethorpe

    Major: Communication sciences and disorders

    Internship: Three terms of a clinical experience at the Augustana Center for Speech, Language, and Hearing

    Post-grad plans: Attend Eastern Illinois University to study speech-language pathology

    Why did you choose to attend Augustana?
    Studying speech-language pathology has been a goal of mine since middle school. Augustana's communication sciences and disorders program was extremely appealing, especially with the clinical opportunity specifically for undergraduates. I knew this would help me take the first steps in accomplishing my goal.

    Are you where you thought you’d be four years ago?
    I never imagined how involved I would become in college with various campus groups and organizations. Each activity has helped me grow in a different way and has provided invaluable experiences.

    Who helped you get to where you are now?
    My parents have been my biggest support system. These two people have believed in me and my dreams, which makes me even more determined to make those dreams a reality. My mom and dad have been with me every step of the way throughout my journey, and am I so grateful to have such involved parents.

    A peak experience?
    For three years, I have been a member of Residential Life. During my sophomore and junior year, I was a community advisor in Andreen. During senior year, I have been the assistant residence director of Erickson. The relationships I have built through these positions have made it a peak experience; many of my best friends from college are due to my time with Res Life!

    What did you learn about yourself in these past four years that surprised you?
    These past four years have helped me learn that it is important to try something new, even when I was worried it would be quite challenging. As a first-year, I joined Clogustana even though I had no dance experience. It was an opportunity to learn a fun skill and prove to myself that I can accomplish things that I never imagined possible.

    How did you use your Augie Choice?
    During spring break 2014, I traveled to Guatemala with the Childhood in the Developing World class through the psychology department.

    What will you miss the most?
    I will miss the people of the Augustana community the most. It has always been comforting that no matter where I went on campus — a walk through the library, a basketball game or the lobby of a residence hall — I always saw a friendly face.

    Advice for the Class of 2018?
    Don't be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone, whether that entails joining a group you are unsure of, saying "hi" to a person down the hall from your room or choosing to add a minor. That one step can open the doors to so many possibilities.

  • Erik's activities: Varsity football (two-time captain) leading to Academic All-American recognition (2011, 2012, 2013)

    Erik Westerberg

    "One thread ties Erik's many accomplishments together: an exceptional, earnest work ethic and integrity. For some, the term ‘scholar-athlete’ refers to a student who manages to divide his time and accomplish two distinct goals. For Erik, success in the classroom and leadership on a team are the result of the single belief that growth comes from hard work, for which he accepts a level of responsibility bordering on a moral imperative. In short, I am proud to be part of the same profession as this future teacher."

    — Dr. Brian Katz,
    assistant professor,
    mathematics and computer science

    Erik Westerberg

    Majors: Mathematics and math education

    Internship: Student teacher at United Township High School, East Moline, Ill.

    Post-grad plans: To get hired as a math teacher and assistant football coach. After a few years of teaching, I will return to school to obtain a master's in education.

    Why did you choose to attend Augustana?
    The classroom sizes were small enough where I could build a relationship with professors; it was a safe distance away from my home in Elmhurst, Ill.; and because of the opportunity to be a part of Augustana's storied football program.

    Are you where you thought you’d be four years ago?
    Four years ago, I didn't have an idea of what my major was going to be, I didn't know what campus organizations I was going to be involved in, nor did I realize that my face along with other Academic All-Americans were going to be on billboards around the state of Illinois. To say that I knew where I was going to end up four years ago would be an absolute lie. It has been quite a ride!

    Who helped you get to where you are now?
    My family, my outstanding coaches, my caring professors, and my goal-driven friends and classmates have all pushed me throughout my college career. They all have had expectations for me and have held me accountable to those expectations.

    A peak experience?
    I had two peak experiences during my time at Augustana. My first peak experience was when 15 teammates and I held a "Be a Viking for a Day" event for students with special needs from the Blackhawk Area Education Center during the fall of my junior year. The other peak experience was when the football team traveled to France, and my best friend, Eric Chandler, and I led our team into a stadium of 8,000 people by carrying the U.S. flag before we played the French National Team.

    What did you learn about yourself in these past four years that surprised you?
    I have learned that the quote "It's all about relationships" truly applies in life and certainly applies in college. Taking the time to talk, interact and learn about the lives of the people who go to school here and work here will be some of the most beneficial learning experiences you will have at Augustana. The people in this community will be your best friends after you graduate, potential co-workers and resources for you later in life.

    How did you use your Augie Choice?
    I used Augie Choice to travel to France with the football team to play the French National Team this past summer.

    What will you miss the most?
    I will miss waking up in the dorms, in a TLA and in a house with my best friends. We push and support each other day in and day out. These bonds that students build with one another here at Augustana are one of the major reasons why Augustana has so many successful students, student-athletes and graduates. It is all about the people here at Augie.

    Advice for the Class of 2018?
    Take advantage of as many off-campus opportunities as you can. I also recommend that you reach out and start conversations with as many people as possible. Begin building relationships with the great people that go to this school. In the end, you may find out that person you struck up a conversation with is now a CEO of a company, the general manager of a professional sports team, a surgeon, a lawyer or a schoolteacher who may be educating your son or daughter someday. As our athletic director always says, "It is all about relationships."

  • Matt's activities: Omicron Delta Kappa, Augie Jazz Ensemble and Jazz Combo, Gospel Choir, Udden Geology Club, Sigma Gamma Epsilon, Farm2Fork, “Let’s Rock!” Teaching Program

    Matt Osman

    "Matt is energetic, enthusiastic, amicable, ambitious, diligent, highly intelligent, hard-working and adventuresome. All of these traits have helped him take full advantage of the Augustana experience and education. Whether he’s rock climbing the walls of the Grand Canyon to get a better look at the stratigraphy, snow-shoeing the alpine glaciers of Alaska to collect and analyze isotopic data from ice samples, or sampling climate-changing methane leaking from high Arctic Swedish lakes, Matt's adventurous spirit enables him to tackle challenges with eagerness, optimism and determination. I look forward to seeing what successes Matt will create for himself after Augustana."

    — Dr. Mike Wolf, professor, geology

    Matt Osman

    Major: Geology
    Minors: Mathematics and environmental studies

    Post-grad plans: Pursue a Ph.D. in glaciology/climatology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) – Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute Joint Program

    Why did you choose to attend Augustana?
    I've always been afraid of becoming another face in the crowd, and at Augie I didn't feel like I would succumb to such. I also instantly fell in love with the Quad Cities. It's really a hidden Midwestern gem.

    Are you where you thought you’d be four years ago?
    No. I wasn't particularly academically oriented throughout high school, and STEM subjects were not my forté. In fact, I only enrolled in Geology 101 fall term of freshman year at random after spooking myself out of taking calculus. Now, four years later, I'm graduating with degrees in both geology and math and am set to attend one of the world's foremost scientific research institutions! Who'da thunk it?

    Who helped you get to where you are now?
    The funny thing about Augie is that everyone here seems to be collectively trying their hardest to push you forward. The geology department seems to be particularly good at this. More than anyone else, I credit Dr. Wolf and Dr. Strasser with instilling in me a deep curiosity and nerdiness for the sciences, and I am indebted to them for their ardent care and commitment.

    A peak experience?
    Hmm. Decidedly an unanswerable question...though reaching the peak of Japan's Mt. Fuji this past fall was pretty neat (East Asia Term, 2013).

    What did you learn about yourself in these past four years that surprised you?
    There are only 24 hours in a day, and you can't do everything... but with a little coffee and a dedicated outlook you can certainly try.

    How did you use your Augie Choice?
    I spent the summer after my sophomore year living for two months on an Alaskan glacier as a student-researcher with the Juneau Icefield Research Program. Augie Choice helped fund some of the hefty logistical/equipment costs necessary for such an environment.

    What will you miss the most?
    Friends. The geoscience building. Cute black squirrels. The quad in the fall. The quad in the winter. The quad in the spring. Late-night bike rides through the Quad Cities. Jazzing out in Bergie. Weekend climbing trips. Brian Konecke's homemade chili.

    Advice for the Class of 2018?
    Never again will you be given four years to live with your best friends, be immature and rambunctious without being judged too harshly for it, and have the opportunity to learn crazy, eclectic things such as Swedish, differential equations and East Asian religious philosophy all in the confines of a single day. My advice: Work hard, study hard and play hard, but don't take for granted how privileged you are.

  • Chase's activities: Augustana Reading & Writing Center, Jazz Ensemble, Jazz Combo, Bata Ensemble, World Hand Drumming Ensemble, Percussion Ensemble

    Chase Matzinger

    "How do I describe Chase? He is smart, curious, creative and diligent. He enriches any class he is in with his astute questions and comments. As his academic advisor, I have enjoyed long conversations with Chase about the future of education, literary criticism, jazz, graphic novels and his aspirations to make a difference in the teaching profession. I am excited for the school district that hires Chase. He will quietly and effectively change his students’ lives."

    — Katie Hanson,
    assistant professor, education

    Chase Matzinger

    Major: English education
    Minor: Music

    Internship: Student teacher at Bettendorf (Iowa) Middle School

    Post-grad plans: Immediately: Teach language arts in public school. Long-term: Study rhetoric and composition in graduate school and become a coordinator for a college writing center.

    Why did you choose to attend Augustana?
    I was familiar with the campus after attending Leadership Lab several summers during high school. I originally planned to be a music education major, and a close friend of mine who attended here told me Augie had a great music program. As I began visiting as a prospective student, the faculty were all very welcoming, and I knew the supportive atmosphere would be a great place to learn.

    Are you where you thought you’d be four years ago?
    No. College has been part of a long — and not yet complete — journey. My goals and values have crystallized during these years at Augustana, and I now feel certain about what I want to do and prepared to achieve it.

    Who helped you get to where you are now?
    The names of those who helped me are innumerable; Augustana has a wealth of resources, which I hope all students take advantage of. The faculty of the education department guided me to hone my skills as a reflective, informed teacher with their high expectations and endless support. The Reading & Writing Center's faculty gave me a place where I always feel at home on campus as well as the opportunity to use my talents to help fellow students. I am also indebted to the teachers at local schools who welcomed me into their classrooms.

    A peak experience?
    Being a part of the Augustana Percussion Quartet. We were an extracurricular ensemble that formed when a tight group of friends found some fantastic chamber literature and decided "Well, heck, let's play this." Tony Oliver - and the rest of the music faculty, especially Robert Elfline - supported us as we took on these ambitious pieces, and I made huge gains as a musician while spending quality time with my favorite people.

    What did you learn about yourself in these past four years that surprised you?
    I've learned that people actually want to spend time with me - all I have to do is ask. :)

    How did you use your Augie Choice?
    I used my Augie Choice to go on an immersion experience at the Florida School for The Deaf and Blind, seeing firsthand how a specialized school accommodates the needs of its students.

    What will you miss the most?
    I'll miss the music the most. My word, Augustana has a lot of ensembles to participate in, and the community that the music program fosters is an amazing group of friends. People should take advantage of these opportunities by joining ensembles or attending their performances.

    Advice for the Class of 2018?
    Decide what you care about and align your involvement with your values. You will have a fulfilling time, and will gain experience that can open doors for careers you're interested in while also connecting you with like-minded individuals.

  • Katherine’s activities: Varsity cross country and track & field, Spanish tutoring (Katherine's page)

    Katherine Kornaus

    "Katie has become a fluent and confident Spanish speaker and writer, proof that the combination of hard work and passion towards one’s professional choices are key to success; she has both, and in large doses. With her preparation, I have no doubt she is ready to truly enjoy her graduate experience at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her attention to detail and clear awareness that any academic pursuit is the outcome of time, effort and thoroughness is a gift to any professor."

    — Dr. Araceli Masterson,
    assistant professor, Spanish

    Katherine Kornaus

    Major: Spanish
    Minor: Latin American studies

    Internship: Spanish translator with the City of Moline’s Community Development Department

    Post-grad plans: Attend University of Wisconsin-Madison to obtain a master’s in Spanish. Eventually I would like to obtain my Ph.D. and become a professor. I have found I also enjoy working in a municipal setting, so perhaps a future in politics or government as well.

    Why did you choose to attend Augustana?
    Being from Wisconsin, I had never even heard of the Quad Cities before, but chose to visit Augie on a cross country recruitment visit. Throughout my visit, I was so impressed with how connected all the students and faculty felt to Augustana, and I knew I wanted to feel that, too. I wanted to be part of a small Spanish program that I could be really involved in, so that attracted me to Augie as well.

    Are you where you thought you’d be four years ago?
    No. I’m still majoring in Spanish, but I had no idea how far I would come in this field. I actually still can’t believe that I make an impact on people’s lives every day at my internship because of the fluency in Spanish I’ve obtained from studying at Augustana. I now have an incredible confidence and self-assurance that definitely was missing four years ago.

    Who helped you get to where you are now?
    Everyone who's been there with me these past four years, especially my coach Fred Whiteside, the entire Spanish department, the honors department and my teammates. They've helped me to discover what I want to do and my strengths by challenging me and pushing me to do my best — whether it's a tough workout or an innumerable amount of projects and conversations they’ve helped me through.

    A peak experience?
    I spent half a year abroad in Sevilla, Spain, during my junior year, and this was absolutely a peak experience. I learned so much about myself and what I value. Most importantly, I improved my fluency in Spanish, which has helped me immensely in the job search process. I also ran my first marathon there and took a weekend trip to Africa, just to name a few highlights.

    What did you learn about yourself in these past four years that surprised you?
    I’ve learned that hard work and dedication do not go unnoticed and that anything can be accomplished if you set your mind to it. Among other things, I’ve learned to get past my fear of public speaking, I’ve discovered how to use my strengths to the best of my ability, and I’ve found out what really matters to me. The whole Augie experience has been one of self-discovery.

    How did you use your Augie Choice?
    I used Augie Choice to help cover some of the expenses of studying abroad.

    What will you miss the most?
    More than anything I will miss being able to run with my teammates every single day. There is nothing like the bond of a group of people who support each other through very high and very low moments such as those we experience in summer training, a bad race or a lifetime PR at the conference meet. I might also miss agreeing to go on 10-mile runs with Fred (Whiteside) that actually turn out to be 15 miles, uphill and tempo pace for the last six.

    Advice for the Class of 2018?
    If you let yourself do what you want to do, instead of what you believe others may expect from you, you will discover what you're passionate about, and others will notice. These are the people who matter. Stick with people and interests that help you to grow and improve yourself, and you’ll do great things in four years that you probably didn’t even imagine doing before you stepped foot on campus.

  • Jimmy's activities: Sigma Xi Research Society (Jimmy's page)

    Jimmy Wiebler

    "Only Jimmy's development as a biological researcher outshines his performance in class. He is skilled at making field measurements, organizing and analyzing data, and, if he had his own set of keys, would probably be completely independent in the laboratory. He is such a good-natured person that I will miss working with him as much for the camaraderie as for the research collaboration. Jimmy’s research and teaching career will be a bright one.”

    — Dr. Tim Muir,
    assistant professor, biology

    Jimmy Wiebler

    Major: Biology
    Minor: Biochemistry

    Post-grad plans: Attend graduate school to research overwintering and physiological mechanisms in ectotherms

    Why did you choose to attend Augustana?
    I initially came to join the pre-dentistry program with intentions of getting into dental school.

    Are you where you thought you’d be four years ago?
    Definitely not. I came to Augustana with a naïve interest in dentistry, but my coursework and research experiences over the past four years have inspired me to become a biologist.

    Who helped you get to where you are now?
    I owe thanks to all my professors at Augustana, but Dr. Tim Muir is who inspired me to change my career path, and he has helped define my position today. It started with a simple question he asked me in his Human Physiology course my sophomore year: “Want to help me catch turtles over the summer?” I eagerly accepted and joined his research team shortly after. I’ve wanted to become a biologist ever since.

    A peak experience?
    I was granted a Student Summer Research Fellowship to carry out my own research experiment. This project allowed me to get a feel for a biologist’s lifestyle and helped prepare me for graduate school. It definitely gave me more confidence.

    What did you learn about yourself in these past four years that surprised you?
    I’ve learned that I don’t have a limit. I keep pushing myself to take on bigger challenges, and I always succeed, whether it’s learning from my mistakes or accomplishing something I didn’t know I was capable of.

    How did you use your Augie Choice?
    I used my Augie Choice to help fund my research project. I needed money to rent a truck for carrying equipment to our turtle-trapping field sites. I also purchased necessary equipment and laboratory supplies to carry out my study.

    What will you miss the most?
    I’ll miss Augustana’s campus. It’s especially aesthetic during the season changes, and I’ll miss getting in the slough to check turtle traps.

    Advice for the Class of 2018?
    Don’t be afraid to take courses that don’t necessarily fit into your major or field of interest. I particularly enjoyed the variety of writing courses I took, and I gained invaluable experience in that area.

  • Daisy’s activities: Chi Omega Gamma sorority, UNYK Multicultural Dance Troupe, Global Ambassador (Daisy's page)

    Daisy Hoang

    "Daisy’s ability to incorporate her background in Vietnam into the classroom and apply these experiences to complex business situations has helped her grow as a student, thinker and future business leader. Other students have learned from topics she has raised in class discussions, and many reported that Daisy made the global business environment ‘real’ for them. I look forward to following her career as she grows from recent college graduate to leader in the business world."

    — Dr. Gregory Tapis, assistant professor,
    business administration

    Daisy Hoang

    Major: International business
    Minors: Communication studies and Chinese

    Internships: Division marketing intern at OnMedia Advertising Sales, communication and marketing assistant at UnityPoint Health-Trinity

    Post-grad plans: Obtain a master’s in communication studies at Illinois State University

    Why did you choose to attend Augustana?
    I wanted to go to a small college in a suburban area, where I would get to know people personally and learn more about American culture. I was introduced to other international students studying here when I applied, and it was helpful to learn about Augie through their perspectives.

    Are you where you thought you’d be four years ago?
    Absolutely not. Four years ago, I never would have dreamed how much I would be able to achieve during my college career. I am so thankful for all the leadership experiences from Augustana, for friends from all over the world and for opportunities to learn about myself and my career path.

    Who helped you get to where you are now?
    Jane Tiedge, my international student advisor, was the first one to welcome me to campus and has been offering me endless support throughout the years with adjustments to American culture. Also, the Communication and Marketing staff as well as WVIK, Augustana Public Radio, have given me plenty of opportunities to learn valuable skills and prove myself since I started working there. And of course, my parents and my sister. Even though they are thousands of miles away in Vietnam, they have always provided me with emotional support and encouraged me to take advantage of opportunities.

    A peak experience?
    My peak experience was to help organize the International Street Fest. We put months of effort into planning activities, including the International Fashion Show, World Showcase and Food Festival. The event had a great turnout from both students and the community, and I felt extremely proud to have been able to represent my country and introduce other cultures to the Augustana community.

    What did you learn about yourself in these past four years that surprised you?
    I didn’t have an interest in studying communication when I started college. And if you asked me just three months ago, I was so sure about my plan to pursue an MBA in the States. But I have realized through my work in Communication and Marketing, my internships and my communication studies minor that I can be good at communication, and I have enjoyed every single minute of studying communication and working in the field. I am looking for a career that will combine my communication and business skills.

    How did you use your Augie Choice?
    I used Augie Choice for my summer internship at OnMedia to help cover my expenses while staying in the Quad Cities.

    What will you miss the most?
    I will definitely miss all the waves and greetings from other students while walking on campus. Everybody at Augustana is so friendly and open-minded, and I was lucky to be surrounded by them.

    Advice for the Class of 2018?
    Try new things and get involved. You will learn a lot about yourself.

  • Alexandria's activities: SAGA Art & Literary Magazine, Zeta Phi Kappa sorority (Alexandria's page)

    Alexandria Petrassi

    “I love teaching poetry because students like Alli Petrassi come along sometimes and turn in work that sits me back in my chair in awe. Then they keep doing it, as Alli has, in class, in directed studies, as summer writing interns and editors-in-chief of SAGA, as national poetry month instructors in local schools, lit with sight that makes the world new. They give us these moments (from Alli’s poem “Structural Devotion”):

       When I walk, I whisper ilium to you like a
       threadbare love letter. When we sleep,
       my skeleton is folded like a prayer."

    — Rebecca Wee, professor,
    English and creative writing

    Alexandria Petrassi

    Majors: English–writing emphasis and creative writing
    Minor: Spanish

    Internship: Summer internship in London with Cutting Edge Press, a small, independent publishing house that specializes in fiction and nonfiction with an edge.

    Post-grad plans: I’ve been accepted into the University of Chicago’s program for a Professional Editing Certificate. Eventually I hope to get my MFA and pursue working on a literary magazine and/or as an assistant professor.

    Why did you choose to attend Augustana?
    It felt like home. It's never stopped feeling like a home away from home, even after four years. And I know it'll feel like a homecoming whenever I visit as an alumna.

    Are you where you thought you’d be four years ago?
    Gosh, no! If you had asked me as a first-year if I'd be an editor-in-chief for SAGA and a leader in my sorority, I'd have told you you were crazy. Add the fact that I'm pursuing a career in English and creative writing, and that it's starting to materialize into reality, and you've got the brightest dream I could have ever dreamed up for myself four years ago.

    Who helped you get to where you are now?
    Professor Rebecca Wee hands down has been my biggest inspiration. Without her, I would never have found the courage to stand up and pursue my passions. She has given me direction when I had none, encouragement when I thought about giving up, and honesty when I needed to hear the truth. She has truly pushed me to be a fearless person when it comes to writing and my career path.

    A peak experience?
    The entire time I have been co-editor-in-chief of SAGA has been a peak experience. I have learned things about myself I never knew, and have realized that I have what it takes to be a leader and blend tradition with new ideas. SAGA has been a passion of mine over these four years, and to have the chance to make a difference...well, it's been a wild ride, and I can honestly say it has brought out more good in me than I have space to write about.

    What did you learn about yourself in these past four years that surprised you?
    I came into Augustana as a very confused person. I wasn't sure what I actually cared about, who I was or what I was doing here beyond the fact that it felt right. I was pretty down on myself, to be honest. I'm a wildly different person now, and I've learned through the years that I have the determination, intelligence and passion to make a difference, no matter how small it may seem. I know I have the fortitude to see my passions through.

    How did you use your Augie Choice?
    I used my Augie Choice money to get to London the summer of 2013. Augustana goes through this great program called CAPA International Education to get students internships and classes for credit. It was a total blast, and I can honestly say that I became a more responsible, future-oriented and confident person coming into my senior year.

    What will you miss the most?
    I will miss my professors, SAGA, the unlimited opportunity and possibility that comes with living on a college campus, the fantastic women in my sorority, and of course, Old Main at night.

    Advice for the Class of 2018?
    Trust yourself. You're stronger, better and smarter than you think you are. You'll find the right people if you branch out and explore. Give yourself the chance to grow. Even the bad experiences have something for you to learn.

  • Christina's activities: Symphonic Band, Sigma Alpha Iota (international music fraternity) (Christina's page)

    Christina Dekker

    "Christina Dekker epitomizes the liberal arts journey. While double majoring in music and sociology, she has been involved in many aspects of these departmental programs as well as working and volunteering outside of the Augustana community. She is the ultimate ‘people person.’ She is not only every professor's dream student — hard working, independently curious, consistently prepared and self-motivated — but also someone who leaves others feeling positive and inspired.”

    — Cynthia Lambrecht, instructor, music

    Christina Dekker

    Majors: Music and sociology
    Minor: Spanish

    Internship: Outreach intern at Harvest Bible Chapel, Davenport

    Post-grad plans: Marketing assistant at Chick-fil-A

    Why did you choose to attend Augustana?
    The music department was the clincher for me. I immediately loved the campus and the people, but the music department held a high standard (and still does) and was immediately my home.

    Are you where you thought you’d be four years ago?
    Definitely not. I changed my major, and therefore my entire post-grad plan, plus I'm staying in the Quad Cities instead of moving back to Chicago.

    Who helped you get to where you are now?
    Dr. Lambrecht, Mrs. Lambrecht, Dr. Croll — all my professors and advisors who listened to me talk. They help me process the thoughts that get jumbled in my head, and I couldn’t have found my place without their guidance.

    A peak experience?
    Freshmen year the Symphonic Band went on tour to Italy. Spending 10 days with my best friends in a beautiful country playing amazing music to incredible audiences — it will forever be a highlight of my Augustana experience.

    What did you learn about yourself in these past four years that surprised you?
    I have learned that I don't have to have it all together to keep moving forward. Plans change, and sometimes things are just unknown. No matter what, life keeps going and you figure it out someday! (maybe)

    How did you use your Augie Choice?
    I studied abroad in Paris — music and literature — for five weeks over the summer with Dr. Hall and Dr. Gillette. A dream come true!

    What will you miss the most?
    Getting to do life so closely with some of my best friends and the best people (students and faculty) I know.

    Advice for the Class of 2018?
    Don't be afraid of change. It's good to have plans and goals, but they'll probably change — let them!