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olivia hicks
More Than I Imagined Seniors reflect on accomplishments and look ahead

Olivia Hicks

Graduation year: 2013

Major: Biology

Minor: Anthropology

Post-grad plans: I plan on working for a few years. Then I hope to go to graduate school to become a microbiologist or an epidemiologist so that later on, I can conduct research on different strains of bacteria that cause epidemics.

Why did you choose to attend Augustana?

I loved the campus. I also loved the small class sizes that made me feel like I could talk to my professors.

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

No, I am way farther than I thought I would be. I have never been one to go outside of my comfort zone, but ever since I did last year I have been able to make great progress in the fields that I am interested in.

Who helped you get to where you are now? 

As always, my friends and family have helped me through a lot with being stressed with classes. But I have also been able to find other people to talk to about classes and my future. Dr. Dara Wegman-Geedey has helped me see my true potential and help me focus on what I really want for my future.

A peak experience?

Of course there are so many, but I would have to say being a lab proctor has been one of the best experiences. It has really helped me find my real interest. I also enjoy working with different people and trying to explain things to them in a way that will make sense.

How did you use your Augie Choice?

I used my Augie Choice money to help me with West Nile Virus surveillance for the Rock Island County Public Health Department during the past summer.

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

That I am way more independent than I ever thought I could be. I also know now what I want in my life, and I am not afraid to go for it! After attending Augustana, I know that my dreams of working in a medical laboratory are finally possible.

What will you miss the most?

Not only will I miss my friends, but I will also miss my professors who have helped me with whatever I needed. I will also miss my job as a supervisor at the College Center because I have worked with them for four years, and everyone is so nice.

Advice for the Class of 2017? 

Don’t be afraid to ask questions and search for things that you really want. Although times might get tough, believe in yourself, and you will accomplish your wishes!

"I met Olivia when she was a student in my winter 2012 microbiology class and lab. She was very adept at mastering new lab techniques, and when I realized she was a junior, I immediately asked if she’d consider being a microbiology lab assistant during her senior year. I also recommended Olivia for a summer internship with the Rock Island County Public Health Department doing West Nile Virus surveillance after her exceptional performance in my Senior Inquiry class on emerging infectious diseases during spring 2012. For the past year, Olivia has been such a capable curator of our bacterial stock collection and so proactive as a teaching assistant that I know it will be a while before microbiology labs are running this smoothly again. If I could only figure out a way to clone her... ”

- Dr. Dara Wegman-Geedey Professor, Biology