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Ryan Silvola
More Than I Imagined Seniors reflect on accomplishments and look ahead

​Ryan Silvola

Graduation year: 2016

Majors: Multimedia journalism and mass communication, women’s and gender studies

Activities: Augustana Observer, Office of Student Life and Leadership, Rho Nu Delta fraternity

Internships: Lambda Legal and KWQC-TV6 in Davenport, Iowa

Post-grad plans: Go into print journalism as a reporter.

Why Augustana?

I fell in love with the campus and the campus culture. I wanted to have smaller class sizes to really bond with professors, so Augie seemed like the perfect fit. I wanted to major in journalism, and I knew Augie would have a smaller program that would allow me the opportunity to get involved with the campus.

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

No! I definitely knew I wanted to be editor of the student newspaper, but I never thought I would serve as editor for two years. I also never thought I would be one of the first male-identified WGS (women’s and gender studies) majors.

Who helped you?

So many people helped me. Jared Schroeder, who no longer teaches here, was a big influence by forcing me to be a better journalist and co-editor, while also helping me navigate through difficult life decisions. Dr. Yaschur was a large influence as well. She taught me how to balance everything that was going on in my life, all while pushing me to get better at journalism and to apply for new and exciting experiences. Thanks to Stephanie De Pasquale-Soebbing, who taught me almost everything I know about social media and the web. Thanks to Araceli, Dr. Popple, Dr. Simonsen and Dr. Nodulman for giving me passion for social justice and a deep interest in intersectional gender issues.

A peak experience?

I would have to say serving as co-editor for two years because most of my best memories come from the Observer. However, the peak of that experience had to be when we won General Excellence at ICPA back in 2015 because it really showed all of the hard work everyone at the Observer puts into the paper.

What has surprised you?

I learned how passionate I am about social justice. Looking back at myself before Augie, I realize how uneducated, uninformed and uninterested I was with the larger world around me. I never would’ve suspected I would be graduating with one of my majors being women’s and gender studies.

How did you use your Augie Choice?

Interning at Lambda Legal last summer.

What will you miss the most?

Layout Tuesday (student newspaper) and Legend’s Fridays at 4 p.m.

Advice for the Class of 2020?

Do everything and get involved with whatever you can, so you can look back your senior year and know you made a difference.

“Ryan was in my first-year honors course on dissent in the U.S., where we learned about the importance of informed public dialogue — not just speaking, but hearing others’ critiques — as a cornerstone of democracy. For the last four years, Ryan has combined his talent for journalism with a passion for social justice, using writing to challenge the campus community to live up to its ideals, particularly in the area of gender equity.”

— Dr. Jane Simonsen, associate professor, history and women's and gender studies