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Andrea Pardo
More Than I Imagined Seniors reflect on accomplishments and look ahead

Andrea Pardo

Graduation year: 2018

Major: Elementary education

Minor: Communication studies

Activities: Viking Pups, Club Ed

Internship: I student-taught last fall at Logan Elementary School in Moline, Ill., and I continued to volunteer at Logan the rest of the school year.

Post-grad plans: Teach third grade at Rogers Elementary School in the North Pekin/Marquette Heights (Ill.) School District

Why Augustana?

I chose Augustana because of the amazing education program. The other colleges I visited explained to me that their students do not work with elementary-school students until their junior or senior year. When I learned that the education majors at Augustana work with elementary-school students beginning in their sophomore year, I knew I would rather be a part of that program. In addition, the small class sizes were a major draw because I like being able to know my classmates and my professors. 

Are you where you thought you’d be when you first came to campus?

Not exactly. I have accomplished more than I thought I would. Since beginning my journey at Augie, I have become a handler and a foster for Viking Pups. I have worked in the education department, and have had many experiences working with elementary-school students with all different abilities from different schools. I have also made many wonderful, lifelong friends in a variety of majors.

Who helped you get to where you are now?

My family, friends and professors have all helped me. My family has supported me and my decisions with my major, minor and extra-curriculars. Whether it was listening to me as I ranted about everything I had to get done or proofreading a paper, my family was always there to support me. My friends were always there for me to be goofy with, binge-watch shows and show their support. My professors were always encouraging and willing to help when I needed it.  

Peak experience?

Picking one peak experience is impossible for me. This past school year has been so amazing from having the service dog I fostered and trained for over a year be placed with his client to student teaching to volunteering at the same school where I taught. I feel that I have grown so much as an educator and as a person in general.

What surprised you?

I learned that I can accomplish whatever I put my mind to. Whether it is creating lesson plans or grading until late at night, or spending way too much time to create a bulletin board, I can get it done and do it well.

How did you use Augie Choice?

I used my Augie Choice for the study abroad spring break trip to Norway. It was a fantastic experience that I will remember forever. We traveled to three different cities. While traveling, I experienced dog sledding, Viking ships, Edvard Munch’s The Scream, and even met family members who live in Norway.

What will you miss the most?

I will miss being able to walk around campus and seeing so many people I know. There is a sense of community that I will miss. Also, sitting in the Brew. The Brew is a great place to sit and study and socialize with friends.

Advice for the Class of 2022?

Try as many clubs as you can your freshman year, then decide which one(s) you want to continue going to. If you join a club and decide it is not right for you, you can quit and try another. I met many of my friends through the clubs I tried even if I didn’t stick with that club.

“Being a teacher is one of the most difficult and complex jobs that exists today. It often requires peak perfection, and Andrea is up to the challenge. She exudes great enthusiasm for the classroom and finds abundant joy in creating lessons that meet the needs of today’s diverse learners. She is an idea generator who is tireless in her commitment to student learning. Although Andrea’s student teaching experience is over, she continues to visit her students on a weekly basis. She has moved beyond the mechanics of the teaching task and is distinguished by her continued and profound commitment to the achievement of her students. I look forward to the impact she will have on tomorrow’s generation.”

– Dr. Deborah Bracke, associate professor, education