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Joseph Kreis
More Than I Imagined Seniors reflect on accomplishments and look ahead

Joseph (Joey) Kreis

Graduation year: 2021

High school: Mundelein Cons High School

Hometown: Mundelein, Ill.

Major: Neuroscience

Minor: Data analytics

Activities: Socratic Society of Augustana (Philosophy Club), Psychology Club, Student Advisory Council to the President, Board of Trustees Fellow, Psi Chi (psychology,) Sigma Xi Scientific Research Honor Society, varsity lacrosse (2 years)

Internships: Research with Dr. Shara Stough at Augustana (spring 2020 and spring 2021)

Post-grad plans: Attend the Medical College of Wisconsin to pursue my Doctor of Philosophy in Neuroscience

Why Augustana?

I chose Augustana because I saw a more personalized education waiting for me on campus. During one visit, I sat in on a Research Methods lecture and immediately felt as if I belonged. How the students engaged with the professor just felt right.

Throughout the admissions process, everyone prioritized communication, and the number one thing that was always communicated was a passion for Augustana and the work being done by students on campus and alumni throughout the world.

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

I never could have predicted the path I took to get here, but yes, I am where I thought I would be. Throughout my life, I have always maintained high expectations for myself, but I got to where I am now because of the people I have met and the experiences I have had at Augustana. Since I first came to campus, I have continually been challenged to be the best version of myself whether that be as a student, peer, coworker or researcher.

Who helped you get to where you are now?

I could not be where I am now without everything my parents have taught me and provided me. They have always reassured me to trust myself, be myself and never be hesitant in asking questions, no matter how difficult.

Dr. Harrington was the first professor I met. Our first conversation confirmed that neuroscience was for me and that Augie was the place to study it. His letter of recommendation is one of the reasons I was accepted to a neuroscience doctoral program.

Dr. Gould looked over my shoulder as I selected the first classes I would take at Augie, and he, too, is one of the reasons I will be continuing my studies as a Ph.D. student. Philosophy Club has played an integral role in developing my communication skills and interest in meaningful discussion.

Dr. Stough, the best advisor and research mentor I could ask for, was the first to affirm my choice to study data analytics. She is also a reason why I was accepted into graduate school and will get to pursue my Ph.D.

Peak experience?

My peak experience was studying abroad. After two thought-provoking courses in neuroscience and philosophy with Drs. Harrington and Storl, we spent two weeks in Germany. Much of our time was spent at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Leipzig where we attended a fascinating summer lecture series.

We also had plenty of time to explore Leipzig and Berlin and visited both Weimar and Potsdam, which left me wanting to stay and experience more of the culture and history.

What surprised you?

The natural progression from year to year in my major is what surprised me the most. The organization of coursework within the psychology and neuroscience department felt like stepping stones guiding me toward a career in research. Each course built on the one before it while simultaneously preparing me for what came next.

How did you use your Augie Choice?

Unfortunately, I was unable to use my Augie Choice. I planned to use it to help cover expenses for a research internship in the summer of 2020, but COVID-19 canceled all the internships I applied for before many of the decisions were even sent out.

What will you miss the most?

I will miss walking across the beautiful campus the most. Five minutes may not seem like a lot of time, but a walk through the Quad between classes brings with it many waves to or quick chats with friends and professors. The trees and flowers around campus are also hard to ignore as they change colors in the fall and bloom with new life each spring.

Advice for the Class of 2025?

Be confident in yourself, but also be confident that things will work out in time. Be open to trying new things and welcome adventure and opportunities to learn. Attend that event or complete that internship. You'll always gain something no matter the experience.

"Joey truly understands what it means to belong to a liberal arts community. Through his active engagement with the Philosophy Club, Joey encouraged many other students to share his commitment to the careful examination of previously unquestioned assumptions. Through his persistence and excellent mindset in his studies and outside the classroom, Joey has achieved much success in his time at Augustana College, and his dedication to the community has greatly benefited his friends and colleagues around campus."

– Dr. Deke Gould, continuing lecturer, philosophy