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John Le
More Than I Imagined Seniors reflect on accomplishments and look ahead

John Le

Graduation year: 2023

High school: Batavia High School

Hometown: Batavia, Ill.

Majors: Political science, philosophy

Minor: Jazz studies

Activities: Augustana Jazz Ensemble, Augustana Jazz Combo, Augustana Socratic Society (Philosophy Club), Augustana Go Club (Go and Chill Out), Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia,

Internship: Texas Medical Center Summer Internship Program

Post-grad plans: I will be studying law!

Why Augustana?

Augustana felt just right when I visited for a political science scholarship in the winter.

I was deciding between Augustana and another larger university, and after being able to talk with the political science professors, I knew I wanted to come to Augustana because of the dedication and care the professors have for all of their students in getting to know them personally as well as professionally.

Ever since, I have always been amazed by Augie's beauty and commitment to learning!

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

I don't think I could ever have imagined being where I am now when I first got to campus. Before starting at Augie, I had a very set idea of what I thought I wanted to do, which ended up completely changing due to the Augie community, my professors and my own intellectual curiosity.

I am so thankful for the opportunity that Augie presented me in being able to explore subjects and studies outside of my intended path, as it has allowed me a clearer understanding of myself, and of my purpose.

Who helped you get to where you are now?

I wouldn't be anywhere without my parents, who throughout these four years, have given me nothing but support and courage, especially during the COVID years, to keep me pushing toward the things that I wanted out of college.

Another individual who has had a significant impact in my life is Dr. Gould in the philosophy department, who I thank for the many years of commitment and passion toward the rigorous study of ideas that has been imbued within me. I also am grateful for his mentorship and guidance throughout my undergraduate career, along with the various life lessons that I will take with me into the future.

I would also like to thank Dr. Heidi Storl for her guidance and support during and after my Texas Medical Center internship, which has contributed greatly to my undergrad and future endeavors.

Finally, the counseling services here at Augustana were a great mental health resource, and I thank them for the emotional support and guidance during my experience here.

Peak experience?

My peak experience was definitely PHIL 303 – Metaphysics and Epistemology in the spring of my sophomore year. The environment that I, my colleagues and Dr. Gould cultivated was truly one that embodied the spirit of a liberal arts education and passed on to me an intellectual curiosity and intellectual skills that I will use for the rest of my life.

Without that class, I would never have submitted and presented a work at an undergrad conference, or interned at the Texas Medical Center.

What surprised you?

I think what surprised me the most was being able to explore all the opportunities that were offered to me or that I had begun to pursue. Augustana's passionate faculty and learning environment really gave me the chance to explore and understand who I wanted to be and what I wanted to do with my life. Augie presented me with a rare opportunity to truly introspect.

How did you use your Augie Choice?

I plan to use my Augie Choice to help pay for expenses for a summer study abroad to The Max Planck Institute in Leipzig, Germany, in which I will have the privilege to discuss with my Augie colleagues and students at the institute, pressing issues in the philosophy of mind and neuroscience!

What will you miss the most?

What I will miss most is the community of colleagues and the interaction with the environment at Augustana: walking the Slough on evenings with friends, discussing theories hours after Philosophy Club has ended, playing jazz with the Jazz Ensemble in Centennial Hall, engaging in spirited debate in class amongst my peers.

The culture of Augustana is one that encompasses a true passion for learning and engagement with the world, and it is a place in time that I will truly miss.

Advice for the Class of 2027?

Be willing to explore new paths and experiences regardless of what you think you want to study!

Taking advantage of all of the opportunities on campus and going where your curiosity leads you can lead to some amazing new perspectives and the discovery of an untapped passion you didn't even know existed!

"John is just the sort of student one hopes to work with: he truly grasps the value of his liberal arts education. Through his work in philosophy, he has found a path that will enable him to pursue something fulfilling and of use to others. Furthermore, he has brought together his zeal for conceptual analysis and his understanding of jazz to produce work that has been accepted to multiple peer-reviewed conferences. Any community will be lucky to have John Le as a participant."

– Dr. Deke Gould, lecturer, philosophy