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cortney lebeda
More Than I Imagined Seniors reflect on accomplishments and look ahead

Cortney Lebeda

Graduation year: 2013

Majors: Communication studies, English

Activities: Advertising Developers, Alpha Phi Omega service fraternity, Camp Kesem, EDGE team

Post-grad plans: I’ve been hired as a program director for Camp Kesem National. I will help manage 10-12 Camp Kesem chapters and support college students who have a desire to impact children affected by a parent's cancer.

Why did you choose to attend Augustana?

My dad graduated from Augustana in ’85, and I have grown up with stories from his college days. While I never expected to attend college here, I fell in love with the campus on my first visit. I never left! Everyone was so welcoming, and the class sizes and atmosphere were perfect for me. 

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

My college career has surpassed all of my expectations. I am so proud of what I have been able to do. From being a founding member of an amazing organization to completing extensive research for my internship and Senior Inquiry, I have done things I never thought I could do.

Who helped you get to where you are now? 

Every person I have met on campus has helped me get where I am today, and I am graduating with friendships and memories that will last a lifetime. I owe a huge thank you to my wonderful parents who have supported me during every up and down during my time here. Doug Tschopp has helped me uncover my passion for research and strategic planning. Wendy Wood and Maxine Bultynck have pushed me to be the best person I can be and have made working at the bookstore a lot of fun. I, of course, owe a big thank you to my Camp Kesem family. No matter what hardship we faced over the last two years, we got through it together.

A peak experience?

I have had so many! One peak experience was joining Camp Kesem Augustana. The coordinators, counselors, national staff and kids I have and will work with have changed my life forever. I also feel very lucky to have spent time in the Web Guild office. I am inspired by all the student talent there. My trip to France last summer also opened my eyes to the world around me. I cannot wait to travel again!

How did you use your Augie Choice?

I used my Augie Choice to do a six-week program in Paris, France. 

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

I’ve learned that I can do anything if I set my mind to it. If someone told me four years ago that I would help raise nearly $82,000 for Camp Kesem or create a research presentation that was shown to more than 100 people, I would have laughed. I will now bring this drive and confidence into everything I do.

What will you miss the most?

I am going to miss everything, especially seeing my friends and going to Camp Kesem meetings.

Advice for the Class of 2017?

My advice to future Augie students is to branch out as quickly as possible. I did not start joining groups on campus until late my sophomore year and now that I am graduating, I wish I had more time!

"Cortney was one of the quiet girls who sat in the back of my public relations class together, so I didn’t know what to expect when they presented their first project... They rocked it. I nicknamed them “The Table.” Cortney went on to absolutely nail the PR course and then became a key member of the ADs’ National Student Advertising Competition team. She is currently wrapping up a research internship in the EDGE Center where she did extensive research on generational demographics with a focus on the later Millennials and the iGeneration... cutting-edge stuff that every organization is interested in."

- Doug Tschopp Director, Entrepreneurial (EDGE) Center Instructor, Speech Communication