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Dylan Hart
More Than I Imagined Seniors reflect on accomplishments and look ahead

Dylan Hart

Graduation year: 2020

High school: Rock Island High School

Hometown: Rock Island, Ill.

Major: Computer science

Activities: eSports Club

Internship: John Deere part-time student infrastructure analyst

Post-grad plans: John Deere full-time Linux System administrator within the IT Development Program

Why Augustana?   

Augustana is very close to home for me, and I felt very welcome when I visited as a senior in high school. I think that Augustana was suitable for me because it is a smaller and close-knit community, and I wanted to stay local in hopes of getting an internship during the school year at John Deere.

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

Yes! I luckily figured out what I wanted to do and stuck to it! Computer science has always been something that I loved and had the urge to learn more about, and that helped guide me in the right direction for success. Early at Augie, I was faced with a decision on whether to apply for a part-time student IT position at John Deere. As a freshman with little experience in computer science and no prior IT-related jobs, it was tough. But it is safe to say I made a good decision.

Who helped you get to where you are now?  

My parents have been a huge influence on where I'm at now. They have always supported me and pushed me to go further than I had before and provided me with the confidence to keep being successful.

My sister has also helped me tremendously. She has always wanted nothing but the best for me and has helped me during difficult times during the school year.

One additional person who helped me was my uncle, Jason. Jason was the one who got me interested in computer science in the first place. He helped me build my very first computer and has taught me about his day-to-day job while working at John Deere.

Dr. Stonedahl was a big part of my development as a computer scientist here at Augie. He has always been available when I needed answers or guidance on what's next, and I still remember the very first day of class with him during freshman year when he dressed up as a wizard!

Peak experience?   

Augustana did provide many opportunities to experience new perspectives inside and outside of class. But my "peak" experience is definitely the spring term of freshman year when I received a call that I was selected for the part-time student position at my dream company, John Deere. This was something that I had dreamed of for a while as many young undergrads are seeking an internship for something that they are passionate about—and finally I had achieved this for myself.

What surprised you?    

Something that really surprised were geography classes specifically with Dr. Heine and Dr. Strunk. I wish that I would have taken more classes earlier within the geography area because Dr. Heine and Dr. Strunk were both able to instill their passion about geography-related topics to me in just one class each. I'm forever grateful to have taken those classes.

How did you use your Augie Choice?   

I applied for my Augie Choice during the spring term of my senior year for my internship at John Deere. I didn't really want to study abroad, and I figured that it was the perfect plan to help prepare myself for a professional setting and get some new clothes and equipment for work. Apply early!

What will you miss the most?   

I will miss the professors that I was able to meet and connect with on a deeper level. Something that I won't miss (but that has gotten better now...sorta) are the terrifying mornings of registration.

Advice for the Class of 2024?

Do not limit yourself to just your academics. Join groups on campus and get involved in the things you like! Also, try to connect with your professors as much as you can; they are more than just a teacher and have many fascinating stories and experiences to share. Lastly, challenge yourself!

"I fondly remember how Dylan started off in my introductory CS course as an enthusiastic, but inexperienced young student, and how he has matured into the seasoned information technology professional that he is today! During Dylan's very first year, I encouraged him to apply for a part-time job at John Deere's global IT headquarters, and that position has made a huge difference in his career trajectory. Augustana is proud to have so many students and alumni serving among the talented technical workforce at John Deere, Inc.!"

– Dr. Forrest Stonedahl, associate professor, computer science