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megan funke
More Than I Imagined Seniors reflect on accomplishments and look ahead

​Megan Funke

Graduation year: 2015

Major: International business

Minor: Ethics

Activities: Delta Chi Theta sorority, Student Government Association, Student Alumni Council, CORE, intramurals

Post-grad plans: Open my own business as a wedding planner in Peoria, Ill.

Why did you choose Augustana?

My mother attended college here, and for that reason I initially refused to go here. However, after searching through 11 schools of varying sizes, I knew I wanted a small liberal arts school. Augustana provided a home full of ambitious and friendly students as well as professors who were more invested in the students than anywhere else I had visited.

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

No way. I was going to be a corporate lawyer who traveled the world. However, after two internships in law firms, I realized that world was not for me. Throughout my time here, I learned that it's not just big companies that run the world, but the ambitious small-business entrepreneurs who truly make a difference in the community. Using another internship at Augie, I have now committed myself to building my community back home through running my own small business that uses my talents in ways that will make me most happy and fulfilled.

Who helped you get to where you are now?

The CORE center is the reason I was able to obtain two of my internships for experience. The Faiths in Dialogue program in Rome, Italy, and the Australia internship program helped build my love of different cultures and ethnicities. My advisor, Mamata Marmé, always led me to new opportunities and encouraged me to try experiences that I was not initially comfortable with, such as a dance class I fell in love with or the chance to travel to the National Air Force Academy to represent the college. Lastly, my sorority built my day-to-day experiences into something amazing and really made me into the friend and community member I want to be.

A peak experience?

Interning for Brown Forman in Sydney, Australia, was a dream come true. I had wanted to participate in the experience since I learned about it as a junior in high school. I got to scuba dive in the Great Barrier Reef, surf in Sydney and mountain climb in New Zealand, on top of receiving the best real-life job experience of my life to date. However, my greatest achievement was in the success of my proposal to President Bahls and his cabinet to transform the Westerlin Cafeteria into AugiePlex (student fitness and recreation center).

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

That I can be a confident leader and speak in front of a large group of people without fear or intimidation. Augie gave me the opportunity to speak to 700 people at the Scholarship Competition in January. I got to write my own speech and share my Augustana experience with tons of potential new students. I will never get to speak to that many people again, and it was such a rush for me to realize I could do something like that because I never could have before coming to Augie. I have so much more self-confidence and faith in myself since I have been at Augie, and it has truly shaped much of my personal and professional life.

How did you use your Augie Choice?

I used my Augie Choice to help pay for my living expenses while I was an intern in Sydney, Australia.

What will you miss the most?

The Augustana community and all my wonderful friends and classmates here. My sorority sisters have helped build me into the person I am today, and I'm not sure what I will do without them.

Advice for the Class of 2019?

While it is OK to be afraid to step out of your comfort zone, don't let that stop you from trying. So many opportunities are waiting for those who have the courage to take them, and you never know how amazing something could be until you try it.

“Megan was one of the first students to declare the new ethics minor. It has been my privilege to be her advisor. She is an excellent student and has great leadership skills, serving in SGA and other organizations. She exemplifies what Augustana is all about.”

 

- Dr. Daniel Lee, professor of religion and director, Augustana Center for the Study of Ethics

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