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emma baldwin
More Than I Imagined Seniors reflect on accomplishments and look ahead

Emma Baldwin

Graduation year: 2013

Major: Biology

Minor: Spanish

Activities: Circle K International, Beta Beta Beta Biological Honor Society, Mortar Board, National Society of Leadership and Success

Post-grad plans: Seeking employment as a zookeeper in southern California

Why did you choose to attend Augustana?

The biology program stood out as exceptional, and the professor I met with, Darrin Good, took time to explain all the opportunities that existed at Augustana. I also wanted a small college.

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

I'm beyond where I thought I'd be. I had a fantastic internship/employment experience I never thought would happen during college. That puts me right where I want to be upon graduation. As a freshman, I also didn't realize the value of a liberal arts education, but now I know it is vital in becoming the well-rounded individual today's employers are looking for.

Who helped you get to where you are now? 

My family has been a tremendous help by supporting me financially and offering encouragement throughout my time at Augustana. Many of my biology professors fueled my interest in animal science by discussing their own research studies.

A peak experience? 

My peak experience was definitely my zookeeping internship at a zoo in California during winter term of this year. I got hands-on keeping experience with new species in a zoo accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. I even got hired as a temporary keeper during my internship! This experience helped me discover exactly where I want to be after graduation.

How did you use your Augie Choice?

I used my Augie Choice to pay for my travel expenses for my internship in California. I think it is wonderful that students can use the money for things other than studying abroad. There were no study abroad experiences that fit my career, but the internship was perfect for gaining additional experience in what I want to do after graduation.

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

I learned that I like to participate in class. I was very shy growing up, and in high school, I never participated in class because I was too afraid. At Augustana I realized I had a lot I wanted to say in my classes and got braver about speaking up over these past four years. Now it is difficult to keep quiet in a class I’m passionate about. My improvement in public speaking will be important for my job.

What will you miss the most?

I will miss the professors the most because many of the ones I’ve had are very helpful, have interesting stories to tell, and truly care about their students’ success. The one-on-one interactions I’ve had with my professors are one of Augustana's greatest characteristics.

Advice for incoming students?

Try to intern at least once during your time at Augustana. My three internships were wonderful because they allowed me to get hands-on experience in the field prior to graduation. Today's employers are looking for people who have had internships.

"Emma is an exemplary student. In addition, I am thoroughly impressed with her motivation and drive to become a zookeeper. She has gone above and beyond to gain experience, use her skills and knowledge as well as learn more. Emma recently completed an internship at The Living Desert Zoo in California where other zookeepers were extremely impressed with her work. I have no doubt Emma will make a very significant contribution to the zookeeping profession."

- Dr. Kimberly Murphy Assistant Professor, Biology