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katie dinkel
More Than I Imagined Seniors reflect on accomplishments and look ahead

Katie Dinkel

Graduation year: 2013

Majors: Biology, music

Activities: Jenny Lind Vocal Ensemble, varsity track & field, Campus Ministries, Peer Mentor Program, UNYK Multicultural Dance Troupe, SBC Music Academy, La Casa Guanajuato

Post-grad plans: Attend graduate school to earn my doctorate in naturopathic medicine. I hope to continue my volunteer work by serving in the Peace Corps and/or Mercy Ships.

Why did you choose to attend Augustana?

I have a broad range of interests, and I wanted to go somewhere I could be involved. I wanted to be a part of a strong music program, study biology and play sports. When I was going on college visits, I was always told to picture myself being a student. I distinctly remember feeling that as I walked around the Augustana campus during my first visit.

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

I am way more than what I thought I would be. The opportunities that I have had here have really allowed me to grow into myself and find passions that I never knew I had. I definitely feel ready to tackle the ‘real world.’

Who helped you get to where you are now? 

My parents and grandparents have given me so much support. Whether it was talking with me about my dreams, coming to campus to watch me give piano recitals or cheer for me in sports, they have gone above and beyond, and I would not be where I am now without them. The music and biology faculty has been great as well. All of the professors here really care about their students, and I appreciate them for being so dedicated. My friends have also been a huge support system. I feel so lucky to have met such inspiring people!

A peak experience?

The opportunity I had to study abroad in Ecuador was definitely a highlight of my college experience. I left the United States without knowing any Spanish or any of the other students who were going (since the majority of the people who go are Spanish majors), but I fell in love with the language and got to know some amazing people that I know I will be friends with forever. I gained a sense of independence and cultural awareness that I couldn't have gotten if I never went. Becoming fluent in Spanish is now a serious goal of mine, and I plan to continue working and volunteering with Hispanic communities throughout my life.

How did you use your Augie Choice?

I used my Augie Choice to study abroad in South America, where I traveled to Ecuador and Peru with a group of Augustana students. Without Augie Choice, I wouldn't have been able to travel as much as I have.

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

I never thought I would be part of a dance troupe or sing in a choir. The opportunities that I had at Augustana showed me that there is so much to learn and so many great people to meet. My love for learning and meeting people has skyrocketed. I learned that there is always a reason to smile!

What will you miss the most?

My favorite day at Augustana is the first day of spring, when so many students are out on the Quad studying or throwing around a Frisbee. I’m going to miss that day. I will miss all the people here, my friends, the faculty, the custodians and lunch ladies. I was also fortunate enough to foster a service dog in my house senior year because one of my roommates is part of the Viking Pups club. I've never had a dog before, so coming home every day to an excited puppy is something I will really miss.

"Katie has shown more growth over the past four years than any student I have ever come into contact with. She has always had a natural sense of musicianship and a formidable technique as a pianist. What she didn’t have was a deep understanding of musical structure and logic. In her time at Augustana, she has not only addressed this area of her playing, but has actually turned it into one of her strengths. So much so that both her junior and senior recitals have demonstrated some of the finest and most sophisticated music-making I have ever had the joy of coaching!"

- Dr. Rob Elfline Assistant Professor, Music