Graduation year: 2021
High school: Rock Island High School
Hometown: Rock Island, Ill.
Minor: Public health
Activities: Varsity soccer (Academic All-Conference, CoSIDA Academic All-District, All-CCIW first team}; Greek life; Pre-optometry Club
Post-grad plans: I am in Augustana's 3:4 optometry program so this school year, 2020-2021, is both my senior year at Augustana and my first year attending Illinois College of Optometry. My post-graduate plans are to complete the next three years at ICO to earn my Doctor of Optometry.
I live super close to Augustana so originally I wasn't quite sure if I wanted to be this close to home. Then on my Visit Day, I couldn't find anything that didn't fit what I was looking for. The things that caught my attention the most were the close community feeling on campus, the program I was interested in, along with many other opportunities in case I changed my mind, and I could still play soccer while focusing on my education.
Are you where you thought you'd be when you first came to campus?
This is where I was hoping to be at this stage in my life, but the path to get here was filled with so many more fun memories and friendships that I didn't expect. I feel like Augustana prepared me well for graduate school. I'm on track with the rest of my class here (ICO) to graduate in the four years. This is something I was especially nervous about because I felt skipping a year would put me behind, but it ended up working out well.
Who helped you get to where you are now?
My parents are the most supportive people in my life so I am super thankful for them and credit them for where I am today. They were always cheering from the sidelines at each game and making me dinners every Sunday so I felt a piece of home.
I also had a few standout professors at Augustana who shaped me into the student I am, including Dr. Muir and Dr. Wegman-Geedey.
One of my favorite memories was the game against Wheaton last year. Every single player on the field pushed themselves for each other because we didn't want the season to end. It ended up going into double overtime and then to penalty kicks. One by one we made each penalty kick and when the final kick went in the net, everyone went crazy. The win put us into the conference championship, which was super exciting.
What surprised you?
The close friendships I made. I met some amazing people at Augustana, both on and off the soccer field, who were there for all of the highs and lows, and who will continue to be there long after Augustana.
How did you use your Augie Choice?
I used my Augie Choice to study abroad in Norway. I love traveling and experiencing new places so I was super excited about this option. I took a class about Norwegian culture and traveled there following the class in January 2020.
What will you miss the most?
I miss living close to my friends and the little things like chatting on the 2nd floor of the library to avoid studying or blasting music on the bus ride to a game.
Advice for the Class of 2025?
Say "yes" to more things. It all goes by so quick and at the end of your time, you don't want to look back and wish you had done more — so take advantage of any opportunity to make memories.
"When I met Grace her first year, I was impressed by her focus and drive to become an optometrist through our 3:4 program. She had to plan ahead in order to attend Illinois College of Optometry (ICO) after just three years at Augie: as a biology major, public health minor, and varsity soccer player who studied abroad in Norway, this was no small feat! Grace was also in the first 3:4 Augie cohort to be exempted from the Optometry Admission Test by ICO because of their superior GPAs. It's not hard to 'see' why Grace is doing very well in her first year at ICO!"