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Scandinavian studies and a successful career path

Two students who majored in Scandinavian studies, with its rich history and global perspective, explain how their studies informed their path to career success.

Amanda Schar
Amanda Schar

Amanda Schar '19: Learning how ask meaningful questions

Schar took her major in Scandinavian Studies abroad, immersed in Sweden for six months, joining the majority of Augustana students who engage with foreign study or other unique environments outside the classroom. 

“I learned a lot about how to get comfortable in a new place and how important it is to understand someone’s culture and their unique perspective,” Schar says.

“I loved being a part of the Augie community. I was lucky enough to have a lot of really wonderful mentors who helped me think critically about what I wanted to get out of my education and what kind of life I was hoping to build.

“But I'm even more grateful for what I learned about being a leader, about being a responsible community member, and about what it means to work toward social justice. Augie didn't only teach me about psychology and Swedish, it taught me what kind of person I want to be.”

Schar found in herself a deep calling to serve others. After graduating from Augustana, she went to Philadelphia for a year to work with a non-profit involved with outreach to the homeless. Today, she’s enrolled in the graduate school at Boston College, working on master's degrees in social work, and theology and ministry. 

“Augie prepared me really well,” she says. “I know how to ask meaningful questions, my supervisors appreciate my fresh perspective, and all of those group projects (at Augustana) made me comfortable working with my teammates. Augie's focus on critical and interdisciplinary thinking was a huge asset to me.”

Brent Mignin
Brent Mignin

Brett Mignin ’16: Gaining global perspectives

Mignin also found his passion at Augustana in Scandinavian Studies. “I am lucky to have had a school that offered a Scandinavian program for me to discover,” he says. “Its fascinating folklore, history, language, and people helped shape me into the person I am today.”

After graduating from Augustana, Mignin entered a master's program at the University of Wisconsin at Madison that involved teaching, and a deeper dive into Scandinavian language and culture. It culminated with a trip to Sweden in conjunction with the Swedish Institute, which develops programs worldwide and offered Mignin a truly global cultural perspective. 

“I met students from around the world who also shared a love for the Swedish language,” he says. 

Today, Mignin says, he has found “a perfect fit” with a career at Nitto Kohki USA. The Japanese firm specializes in industrial and precision tools, but the international company is also an extension of Mignin’s interest in global perspectives, and expanding his knowledge of a rapidly changing world. 

“Augustana gave me personal contact with professors which allowed me to really get to know and understand their passion for teaching and learning, which in turn was imparted to me.”

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Akvavit Theater performing Feb. 20

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