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Mitch Johnson
More Than I Imagined Seniors reflect on accomplishments and look ahead

Mitch Johnson

Graduation year: 2018

Majors: Applied mathematics, business administration-finance

Minors: Accounting, economics

Activities: Varsity cross country (Academic All-American), varsity track & field, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Harvest Bible Chapel Small Group, Omicron Delta Kappa National Leadership Honor Society, Mortar Board

Internships: Marketing and finance intern at RISQ Group in Sydney, Australia; actuarial intern in Life & Retirement Division at Horace Mann Educations Corporation; actuarial intern in Property & Casualty Division at Horace Mann Educations Corporation

Post-grad plans: Work at Horace Mann Educators Corporation as an actuarial assistant and continue to take actuarial exams. 

Why Augustana?

I wanted to attend an academically renowned school that valued smaller class sizes. Humorously, the better food in The Gerber Dining Center also played a role in deciding between my final two schools. 

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

In terms of my academic career, I have achieved my expectations. However, I have exceeded the expectations I had set for my athletic career. Coming in as a freshman, I had goals of just making the varsity squad in cross country by the time I graduated. Four years later, I ended my career as the captain of the team and a CoSIDA Academic All-American.     

Who helped you get to where you are now?

While a great number of people provided support and encouragement through my Augustana journey, two faculty members stand out in particular. Lucas Street, the director of the Reading/Writing Center encouraged me to apply for a position as a tutor my freshman year. This campus job sharpened my writing and communication skills, contributing to my success in classes and internships. Lucas provided encouragement and helpful feedback as well as writing recommendation letters for me. The second individual is Paul Olsen, my cross country and track coach. Ols saw my potential as a leader and as an athlete before I believed it myself, and he provided encouragement and wisdom for both race day and life in general. 

Peak experience?

Interning abroad in Australia was one of my peak experiences. I can only compare this experience to arriving at college for the first time—a completely new environment with its mix of enthusiastic exploration and anxieties in adjusting to a new routine. Through this experience in a global city, I put into action the diverse skill set that Augustana helped foster.

What surprised you?

I have learned that I can adapt quickly to change. Coming into college, I was hesitant to face change and try something new. However, after putting myself in situations that allowed me to learn and grow, I have come to appreciate change and see its value.

How did you use Augie Choice?

I applied Augie Choice toward my internship in Australia. 

What will you miss the most?

While the friendships I built at Augustana will continue past graduation, I will miss doing life together with my teammates. From running every day at practice, to eating meals together in the dining hall, companionship after graduation will not be the same.

Advice for the Class of 2022?

Never stop challenging yourself. Your time at college will fly by so take advantage of learning opportunities. Don’t just take classes that you know you can get an “A” in or only join organizations that reflect your strengths. Embrace challenges and opportunities in order to develop new skills and strengthen old ones. Augustana has so much to offer if you make the effort to seek it out.

“Throughout his experiences at Augustana, Mitch Johnson has served as a role model for other students in developing mind, body and spirit. He is an outstanding mathematical scholar, going above and beyond course requirements to achieve his professional career goals. Mitch was also the No. 1 runner for the cross country team and placed 9th in the CCIW. He has contributed to Augustana’s chapel services, and is a deeply humble and moral individual of strong will and spirit. I know Mitch will continue to be an outstanding leader.”

– Dr. Andrew Sward, assistant professor, mathematics