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More Than I Imagined Seniors reflect on accomplishments and look ahead

Marisa Potter

Graduation year: 2020

High school: Neuqua Valley High School

Hometown: Naperville, Ill.

Majors: Communication sciences and disorders, Spanish for professional use

Minor: Latin American studies

Activities: Búhos Club (ESL classes), Tertulias leader, Active Minds, Student Speech-Language-Hearing Association, Palomares Social Justice Center volunteer

Internships: Three terms of clinical experience at the Augustana Center for Speech, Language, and Hearing

Post-grad plans: Attend the University of Nebraska-Lincoln to pursue a master's in speech-language pathology

Why Augustana?

I avoided visiting Augustana because my dad graduated from here, and I did not want to follow his footsteps. Eventually, I succumbed to the pressure and visited the school. Wow! It had everything I was looking for in a college—the small classroom feel, tight-knit faculty and a friendly campus environment. Despite the fact I knew my dad had every right to say "I told you so” for weeks to come, I chose Augustana because I knew I would have a great, well-rounded experience here.

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

No, I am not. Freshman-year-me would be in disbelief at all the opportunities I have been presented with and all the groups I've been able to be a part of during my four years here. I've been surrounded by many great people who have pushed me to take on these opportunities and try new things. If it had not been for these people, I would still be the timid and shy freshman-year-me. I am now more confident in myself and my abilities thanks to all of the people and experiences.

Who helped you get to where you are now?

There have been many people who have helped me get to where I am now. The entire CSD department has been an amazing support system for me. They've presented me with many great opportunities and provided constant guidance. They have pushed me to be a better version of myself.

The professors in the Spanish department have helped me grow as a Spanish speaker, instilling a new-found confidence in my abilities. They've pushed me to try new things and to challenge myself.

My CSD friends have helped me in more ways than they know. Their constant support and laughter have helped me through some stressful times. My friends/roommates are the ones who forced me to get out of my comfort zone and try new things. They continue to inspire me and help me to enjoy the small moments.

And of course my family, who has helped me every step of the way. I could go on for pages about everything they've done to get me to where I am now.

Thank you to each and every one of you!

Peak experience?

My peak experience is three-fold, and it all revolves around traveling. During my time at Augustana, I traveled and learned in three countries: Cape Town, South Africa; Sevilla, Spain; and Cuenca, Ecuador. Each experience shaped my way of thinking and presented me with a new way to view and appreciate the world. I never thought I would be presented with these types of opportunities. I also never imagined how much I would grow as a result of these experiences. Amazing!

What surprised you?

How much I'm going to miss the Brodahl building. Yes the building itself is new and amazing, but I'm going to miss the welcoming, supportive and family-like environment that exists within it. I was surprised that I formed such a connection with the faculty, clinical supervisors and my fellow CSD majors; it was something I never imagined would happen, but so happy it did.

How did you use your Augie Choice?         

I used my Augie Choice to study abroad in Cuenca, Ecuador, during the summer term of 2019. I lived with a host family, learned about life in the Andes and went on many excursions. I would highly recommend this experience!

What will you miss the most?

I'm going to miss living in a house with my five closest friends. It'll be weird to no longer see these five amazing women on a day-to-day basis. They've provided me with such a sense of comfort during these last four years. I've been so lucky to have a great group of friends, and I know we'll stay in contact after graduation. I'll also really miss living with my roommate of four years, Kailey. We started this college experience together, and I don't think we are prepared for this to end.

Advice for the Class of 2024?

Enjoy the experience! It's long, stressful, exciting, intimidating and amazing. It'll be easy to get caught up in the moment and feel stressed, but try to take a deep breath. Find the people, clubs, events and activities that'll allow you to enjoy this rollercoaster ride of an experience.

"Marisa has maintained a stellar academic record while staying busy in a variety of service endeavors. She tutors for the CSD major and has assisted in multiple research studies. As a student clinician, she has excelled at clinical writing and in developing rapport with her patients and patients’ families. Marisa is bilingual and has participated in two study abroad experiences in Ecuador and Spain to improve her knowledge and use of Spanish. She has been creative, flexible and exceptionally pleasant. We will miss her!"

– Dr. Allison Haskill, professor, communication sciences and disorders