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hannah johnson
More Than I Imagined Seniors reflect on accomplishments and look ahead

Hannah Johnson

Graduation year: 2012

Majors: Communication studies and English

Minor: Women’s and gender studies

Activities: Alpha Psi Omega, Electric Theatre Unplugged (ETU), Jenny Lind Choir, Augustana Observer

Post-grad plans: Pursue the Ph.D. in communication studies at the University of Iowa

Why did you choose Augustana? 

I chose Augustana because I saw an excellent presentation by Dr. Snowball on gender and advertising during the January Scholarship competition. I was really impressed and intrigued with where communication studies could take me, not just career-wise. I fell in love with the campus when I visited, even though it was the coldest day of the year. Everyone was friendly, and I saw my future here.

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

I never even dreamed I would be where I am now. I’m going to graduate school to get my Ph.D., and in the fall I’ll be a teaching assistant for freshman rhetoric classes. I came to Augie thinking that I’d leave with a good job, but now I get to be a nerd for the rest of my life and do what I love. I’m a much better writer, speaker and human because of my experiences here. 

Who helped you get to where you are now? 

I would be lost without the communication faculty. They’ve given me a huge amount of opportunities, like nominating me for the Hasselmo Prize last year, and have guided me towards where I need to be, and I’ve learned so much from their classes. Dr. Klien has been an awesome advisor, and his classes (rhetorical criticism and rhetorical theory) gave the necessary push I needed towards studying rhetoric for a career. I’ve been taking classes from these great people for the last four years, and I don’t think I’d be anywhere close, academically, if I hadn’t been a communication major. 

A peak experience? 

My peak experience was traveling to New Orleans for the National Communication Association’s annual conference, where Dr. Klien and I presented our work from my Summer Research Fellowship. I not only gained valuable conference experience but also got to meet people who are doing awesome work in my field, which gave me connections when I was applying for graduate school. To be able to recognize scholars I’ve cited in papers and actually have conversations with them is the coolest thing in the world — I was definitely a little star-struck at times.

What will you miss the most about Augustana?

I’ll miss walking down the slough path, waving to every other person and napping on the quad. I’ll definitely miss my professors here and taking classes with my best friends. I really won't get the chance to sing in a great choir like Jenny Lind again or write/direct/act in plays like I’ve done in ETU. I’ll miss the extracurricular aspects of Augie the most.

“I was pleased to nominate Hannah as the first recipient of the Hasselmo Prize for Academic Pursuit. Her work with me on a student-faculty research fellowship led to presentations at two national conferences. The University of Iowa’s Ph.D. program in communication studies, arguably the nation’s top program, saw the potential in Hannah’s insightful research on the rhetorical performance of LGBTQ identity when they admitted her to begin study this fall."

- Dr. Stephen Klien Associate Professor of Communication Studies Chair, Fine and Performing Arts Division