Skip to main content
More Than I Imagined Seniors reflect on accomplishments and look ahead

Sarah Lisak

Graduation year: 2020

High school: Marian Catholic High School

Hometown: Frankfort, Ill.

Majors: Biology, environmental studies

Minor: Music

Activities: Symphonic Band, Symphony Orchestra, Flute Choir, Phi Beta Kappa

Internships: Spring 2019 intern at Kelmarna Community Gardens, Auckland, New Zealand; summer 2019 intern at Possibility Place Native Plant Nursery, Monee, Ill.

Post-grad plans: I will be participating in a service year with Washington State AmeriCorps at Clark Count Food Bank in Vancouver, Wash. As a nutrition educator, I will play my part in alleviating hunger and its root causes by offering cooking and nutrition education opportunities to low-income individuals, families and youth. After my service year, I plan on obtaining my master’s in entomology.

Why Augustana?   

I came from a small high school, where the small class sizes gave me a chance to really connect with my teachers. I wanted a similar experience in college. Augustana's liberal arts education allowed me to pursue both science and music, and I was able to participate in many research opportunities and in an excellent music program.

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

Not at all! I honestly had no idea where Augustana would lead me. Looking back on all of the experiences Augustana gave me, I am truly blessed. I have grown so much as a leader, independent thinker and overall person through my academic and extra-curricular experiences. I cannot thank my professors, mentors and peers enough for all of the support and guidance that pushed me to where I am now.

Who helped you get to where you are now?

My professors and peers! I cannot express in words how much I admire the professors here at Augustana. Through their guidance and support, they pushed me to strive for excellence. I was shown time and time again that my professors care about me as not only just a student, but also an individual. They have been the best role models I could have asked for during my college career.

I cannot overlook the influence my classmates and friends have had on me throughout these four years. My peers have challenged me academically and personally, helping me to become the best version of myself. The friendships I have created here will be lifelong friendships that I will always cherish.

Peak experience?    

I have had so many amazing experiences that it is hard to choose just one! My peak experience would have to be my three-month study abroad internship at Kelmarna Community Gardens in Auckland, New Zealand. During my time there, I participated in food and environmental education. I developed a project on insects where I created an insect collection, booklet and curriculum that now are now used in educational workshops.

What surprised you?

Augustana surprised me by introducing so many amazing people into my life. I never thought that the people I would meet at college would have such a profound impact on my life. Every person I have encountered has played some kind of role in my personal and professional journey. The relationships I have created will never be forgotten.

How did you use your Augie Choice?   

I used my Augie Choice to intern at Kelmarna Community Gardens in Auckland, New Zealand. This gave me the opportunity to live in another country and embrace its culture. Through this experience, I learned more about myself and who I wanted to strive to be.

What will you miss the most?   

I will miss living within Augustana's community. Augustana has become a second home to me. The people, classrooms, practice rooms, dorm rooms, Slough Path, Fresh Fruit Fridays and every other aspect of Augustana will always be close to my heart. Although I will never have the opportunity again to live within the heart of Augustana's community, Augustana will always be a part of me.

Advice for the Class of 2024?    

Do not be afraid to reach out to your professors. The professors here at Augustana are your best resources. They can give you advice, connect you to opportunities within your field, and do so much more for you if you just take the time to make a connection with them.

"It has been a joy to work with Sarah in flute lessons and flute choir for the last four years. Sarah is a student who always goes above and beyond expectations, even when they are very high! Always willing to take on new challenges, she has excelled in solo and ensemble performances on flute, piccolo and alto flute. Sarah performed a beautiful senior solo recital in February. I know she will go on to share her love of music with others in creative and caring ways."

– Janet Stodd, instructor of music (flute)