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Augustana expands student-engagement initiative Augie Choice

Fifteen years after launching Augie Choice, Augustana College announces the expansion of the transformative initiative. Now, sophomores in addition to juniors and seniors may apply for up to $2,000 to help pay expenses related to an internship, research or study away experience.

The broadening of this pivotal program coincides with the launch of the college’s strategic plan, Bold & Boundless, which prioritizes engaged learning, maximizing student potential and connecting to the community through partnership. That learning then translates into students finding inspirational pathways and developing their capacity to be impactful citizens when they leave Augustana.

Making Augie Choice accessible to sophomores allows students to access the  transformative experiences earlier and accelerate the building of skills and mindsets that today’s and tomorrow’s employers desire.

Each year nearly 550 students utilize Augie Choice to engage in career- and life-changing experiences. Augustana has invested more than $11.8 million to assist Augustana students in achieving high-impact learning experiences.

During the 2022-2023 school year, 415 students were awarded Augie Choice. Of the recipients, 224 used those funds to study abroad, 177 used the funds to defray the costs of internships and 14 used it to conduct independent research.

One of the goals of Bold & Boundless, President Andrea Talentino said, is to make high-impact learning opportunities unavoidable for students, which means they need to be accessible to all. Augie Choice helps remove or lessen financial barriers for students, and this expansion helps students pursue opportunities to shape their chosen academic and career paths earlier during their time at Augustana.

“We know Augie Choice has been instrumental in shaping Augustana juniors and seniors into strong leaders and that it prepares them for their next steps in the workforce, graduate education or service,” President Talentino said. “We’ve seen the benefits for these students, and we are so excited to add sophomore students to this program to allow them to dive into the experiences that will enrich them and lead them to their next steps.”

Augie Choice dollars have helped students in a variety of ways — paying for professional clothing for internships, covering rent for internships or research, and helping students travel. This includes students who have traveled individually and group travel.

Since its inception more than 3,000 students have used Augie Choice for study abroad; 2,400+ used it for the costs related to internships, such as rent or professional clothes; nearly 400 have used it to conduct research.

“Augustana develops the qualities of mind, spirit and body necessary for students to discover their life’s calling of leadership and service in a changing world, and we know Augie Choice creates life-defining experiences that prepare them for that world,” President Talentino said. “We also know that earlier opportunities will help them better shape their curricular and co-curricular journey and inspire their vocational direction.”   

Members of the Class of 2024 who tapped into Augie Choice includes: 

  • Leslie Bandera, a biochemistry and chemistry double major, paid for housing in Houston, Texas, for her summer research experience with the Texas Medical Center.
  • Alexander Tosetti, an accounting and business administration-finance double major,  paid for professional attire and transportation costs during his summer internship.
  • John Flannery traveled to Japan with the Augustana Symphonic Band during the spring 2023 tour. The group explored the country and played concerts with Japanese students.
  • Emily Martin, an environmental studies and geology double major, went to Bonaire in the Caribbean as part of Geology 321: Island Geology to learn more about the nature of the islands and threats upon them. 
  • Alyssa Macias, a public health major, studied abroad in Iceland and Sweden, learning about the multiple factors influencing health and wellness in Scandinavia in comparison to America. 
  • Grey White, a theatre – musical theatre and business administration – management double major, interned at Skellington Manor in Rock Island, Ill., and funded “Private Lives,” the play they directed as part of their Senior Inquiry. 

More information about Augie Choice is available at

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