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More Than I Imagined Seniors reflect on accomplishments and look ahead

Jessamine Burch

Graduation year: 2020

High school: Monroe High School

Hometown: Monroe, Wis.

Majors: Art history, graphic design    

Activities: Students for Reproductive Freedom (SRF) and Sigma Pi Delta sorority 

Internships: Art studio intern at Madison Children's Museum; development intern at the Figge Art Museum

Post-grad plans: Six-month marketing Internship at Colony Brands in Monroe, Wis., then graduate school

Why Augustana?  

I applied to Augustana originally for its art history program and was accepted. The student-to-teacher ratio, clubs and activities, and gorgeous campus set Augustana apart from the other schools I applied to.

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

I never thought I would be at the place I am today. I started off as an art history major and wanted to work in museums and galleries. After completing my major and looking to start a new one, I found my passion for graphic design and have now accepted a design and marketing internship after graduation. Augustana has pushed me to adapt and change, growing and finding what I am truly passionate about.

Who helped you get to where you are now?

Dr. Margaret Morse has been my advisor since freshman year and has changed my life through her dedication to what she does. Her incredible passion for art history is so contagious and has always motivated me to go farther, push myself and dig deeper into the subject, and has certainly been the reason my love for the arts has never left me.

In addition, Vickie Phipps has been instrumental in showing me how incredible graphic design, and life, can be. V has opened so many doors and has been along for the ride while I experimented, dreamed, designed and failed, the most important part of learning. V has taught me to get back up and never stop thinking differently, something I am lucky to take with me when I leave Augustana.

There are so many other professors and students who changed my life and who I wish I could mention, but it would truly take pages and pages. I am lucky to have grown with such amazing people.

Peak experience?    

My peak experience here at Augustana would be when I assisted Jennifer Saintfort with assembling an exhibit titled WHIMSY, which was exhibited during the end of fall semester of my senior year. I learned so much about the exhibition process, including hanging works and setting up object cases. To finally attend the exhibition opening and see all my hard work being enjoyed by members of the community was so impactful and incredible.

What surprised you?    

I was most surprised by how far professors will go for you to gain experience and how dedicated they are to seeing you succeed. I think every professor at Augustana has the best intentions for their students. Their kindness, dedication and selflessness towards their students has always pleasantly surprised me.

How did you use your Augie Choice?   

I used my Augie Choice to study abroad in Amsterdam spring term of my junior year. The trip changed my life and changed the way I looked at my majors. I am so grateful for the experience and look back on it with so many fond memories!

What will you miss the most?

I will miss so many things, but most of all, I will miss the in-class learning and discussions. I feel so fulfilled when I'm surrounded by those who want to have deep discussions and feel passionate about the topics. I will miss the atmosphere of Augustana classrooms and especially the warm familiarity of everything and everyone on campus.

Advice for the Class of 2024?   

Be kind, caring, empathetic and considerate. Talk to your professors after class and before—always get to know them (and sit in the front row). Do YOUR very best, never anything more or less. Connect to the people around you and explore the QC. And never take time or people for granted!

"Jessamine is an amazing student who has fully embraced all that Augustana has to offer, from her academics to her work and study abroad experiences. She always seeks to challenge herself and grow from each opportunity. I admire the way she constantly combines creativity and passion with a remarkable work ethic. I will miss our chats about art along with the positive energy she brings to the classroom, but am eager to see the ways she will share her talents and joy with the world."

– Dr. Margaret Morse, associate professor, art history