Graduation year: 2013
Majors: Biology, pre-optometry
Activities: Clogustana, Biology Club, TriBeta, Mortar Board, Omicron Delta Kappa (leadership honor society)
Post-grad plans: I will begin classes at the Illinois College of Optometry in August.
Why did you choose to attend Augustana?
As soon as I stepped foot on the campus, I had a gut feeling that I was going to choose Augustana as my undergraduate program. Then, as I learned that the college had great biology and pre-optometry programs, I knew that I was going to choose this school.
Are you where you thought you’d be four years ago?
Academically, I have met all the goals I set for myself when I entered Augie. I’ve managed to earn a biology degree, and I’ve been accepted into grad school. Socially, I was able to make friends that I know will be with me for the rest of my life. I didn’t necessarily expect that when I enrolled in college, but I’m glad it happened.
Who helped you get to where you are now?
My parents helped me immensely. They always provided an encouraging word if I was feeling stressed, and they were always there to celebrate when something good happened.
A peak experience?
I am studying abroad in Ireland right now, and I would say that it’s probably the best experience I’ve had while enrolled at Augustana. I’ve made so many new friends, and I will miss them so much when I graduate. Additionally, I love traveling and learning about new places, so combining the two into something I get credit for is amazing!
How did you use your Augie Choice?
The money from my Augie Choice went towards my study abroad term in Ireland.
What did you learn about yourself in these past four years that surprised you?
I learned that I actually like to lead things if I have the opportunity to do so. Through high school, I never wanted to be in charge of anything. However, I took executive positions in clubs on campus, and I’ve had leadership roles during group projects in class. It’s extremely satisfying when one of my groups is successful, and I’m glad that I’ve developed leadership skills.
What will you miss the most?
I’ll miss the warm, sunny days that happen at the beginning and at the end of the year. Those days, I would eat and study outside with whatever friends were available. We didn't always get a lot done, but spending time outside was always wonderful.
Advice for the Class of 2017?
Don’t be afraid to go to your professors for help if you need it. They’re not scary, and they genuinely care about their students. My time at Augie would have been a lot more stressful if I hadn’t taken advantage of office hours!
"Renae has the academic ability to pursue any of several careers in biology, medicine or biomedical research, but she has been focused (pardon the pun!) on optometry since long before I met her. During summer 2011, Renae worked as an optical assistant for an optometrist to determine her aptitude for the profession. I feel that experience helped Renae understand the many hats a private practitioner must wear, including community service and outreach efforts that can make eye care accessible and affordable for everyone. Renae is a compassionate person and by undertaking leadership roles in various groups during the past few years, she has steadily developed the confidence all health care providers need."