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jennifer banach
More Than I Imagined Seniors reflect on accomplishments and look ahead

Jennifer Banach

Graduation year: 2011

Majors: Biology and pre-medicine

Minor: Biochemistry

Activities: Chi Alpha Pi Sorority, Biology Club, ACHOO/Jest, UNYK Dance Troupe, Order of Omega, Beta Beta Beta Honors Society

Post-grad plans: Attending graduate school for my MSc in The Netherlands

Are you where you thought you’d be four years ago?

No. After a few foreign terms, my love for traveling and my passion for the sciences helped me to realize that I would love to study and live abroad for more than just a few months. I would never have seen myself in the position where I am today about to move overseas, but I am more excited than ever!

Who helped you get to where you are now? 

My mom is definitely the person who has most supported me throughout my life and even more during college. Without her, I would not have made in this far, nor have had the possibility to experience my dreams. Then, my best friend Rachel (who is an Augustana graduate) has inspired me to work hard even when life tends to work against you. She is one of my role models, and has always been there during the hardships and struggles. Last, I could not forget my current roommates, who more than anything have helped me to realize who I am, and who I want to be. Thank you Alexa, Emma, Kate, and Sarah for supporting me, never judging me, and inspiring me to continue traveling the world.

What was a peak experience while you were here? 

Although both my Vienna term abroad and Nicaragua medical service trip were amazing foreign abroad experiences, it has to be climbing Telica, an active volcano in Nicaragua near León. After the 17-mile overnight hike, I knew that I could push myself mentally and physically further than ever.

What did you learn about yourself in these past four years that surprised you?

I learned to be opened to any to decision or idea. Close-mindedness leaves little room for creativity and inspiration. The more you start to see and experience the more you realize you have yet to learn.

Advice for this fall’s incoming class (Class of 2015)?

Be open to adventures! Augustana has many opportunities to grow and learn your passions both inside and outside the classroom. Take the time, give the energy, and experience the thrill. By far, an open and eager mind sets the foundation for any ambition.

"I have had the pleasure of working with Jen in the biology department for three years. She has an incredible appetite for knowledge, life experience and travel! Her determination, kindness and intellectual curiosity have served her well at Augustana and promise a bright future for her as she continues her academic journey in graduate school. She is one of those students who I am both proud to see move forward and sad to see leave." 

- Stephanie Fuhr, Lab Coordinator and Instructor, Biology Department