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More Than I Imagined Seniors reflect on accomplishments and look ahead

Joshua Malone

Graduation year: 2020

High school: Prairie Central High School

Hometown: Chenoa, Ill.

Majors: Geology, geography

Activities: Delta Omega Nu fraternity, Camp Kesem, Udden Geology Club, Geography Club, Sigma Gamma Epsilon earth science honor society

Internships: Ranch hand at Spear-O Mountain Campus, Bighorn Mountains, Wy. (summer 2017); research assistant at the University of Auckland, New Zealand (spring 2019); intern with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Rock Island District (May 2018-August 2020).

Post-grad plans: Pursue a Ph.D. in geological sciences at the University of Texas at Austin in the fall

Why Augustana?

I went to the winter Scholarship Day in January of 2016, and I came into the day with my mind already set on attending another school. That changed after I listened to Dr. Jennifer Burnham present her research on bird migration in Greenland. I credit her talk and vision for her students for being the turning point that lured me to Augie. In addition, my brother was two years ahead of me at Augie and being with him for the next two years allowed us to become closer than we’d ever been growing up.

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

Not one bit! As a freshman, I was not very anxious to take on the world. I wasn’t quite confident or comfortable enough to join many groups. It didn’t take long for Augustana to instill in me a new sense of passion, ambition and curiosity that I will carry with me as I phase into the next stage of my life.

Those newfound attributes enabled me to join more clubs and a Greek group, and become a more active participant in the classroom and community.

Who helped you get to where you are now?

I don’t even know where to begin! First and foremost, my parents. They’ve played the most significant role in shaping me into who I am today. They’ve graced my life with opportunities that I know are not of my hand or any other hand. They taught me that when you show generosity and kindness to other people, it reciprocates itself in many different forms.

I would not have been able to succeed at Augustana without the unyielding support and encouragement from my friends and instructors in the geology and geography departments. Most notably, Dr. Strasser, Dr. Wolf, Dr. Kelsey Arkle, Jenny Arkle, Dr. Burnham and Dr. Fockler have all played a tremendous role in helping me reach the next step in my life.

Also, Susan Wolf has been a “rock” (pun intended) for me the past four years. She’s put in countless hours proofreading/editing conference posters and résumés for me.

These past four years, they’ve all served as a mentor, instructor, cheerleader, and most importantly, a friend.

Peak experience?

My peak experience was spent in New Zealand. I went there on a study abroad internship program where I was lucky enough to be a research assistant for Dr. Lorna Strachan at the University of Auckland. The academic part of this experience was spent analyzing turbidites (underwater landslide deposits) in cores collected along the sea floor off the coast of New Zealand. The other half of the time was spent hiking up mountains and volcanos, and body surfing some very powerful waves!

What surprised you?

What surprises me the most is how much Augustana has woven itself into my life story. Prior to attending Augie, I always thought college was just four years that help you get to the next point in your life. That’s not the case. I will be carrying the knowledge and relationships I’ve gained from here for the rest of my life!

How did you use your Augie Choice?

I used Augie Choice to help fund my adventures and experiences in New Zealand! Ultimately, this went toward traveling across the breathtaking New Zealand countryside and eating gourmet meat pies!

What will you miss the most?

Definitely the people. It will be difficult to not be within walking distance or a 5-minute drive from my circle of friends. I’ve always regarded the relationships I’ve formed at Augie as the most integral part of my experience, so it will be bittersweet to see a lot of them move off in their own direction.

Advice for the Class of 2024?

First, balance your studies and personal life in a healthy manner. Find what’s important to you and what allows you to grow as an intellectual and empathetic person. Secondly, foster the relationships with your peers and professors. The Augustana network is vast and invaluable. Take advantage of it!

"Joshua has done a tremendous job on his geology Senior Inquiry, researching dinosaur gastroliths using analytical techniques never before applied to this subject. He has impressed his professors with his creativity, energy and thoroughness in his research, and his work has attracted the attention of others in the scientific community. We look forward to seeing him excel in his graduate program at the University of Texas, and we’ll miss his leadership in our department!"

– Dr. Jeff Strasser, professor and chair, geology