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

Ashanti Chatman

Graduation year: 2024

High school: Urbana High School

Hometown: Chicago

Majors: Pre-medicine, French   

Activities: Reading/Writing Center peer tutor, L.O.V.E. (Ladies of Vital Essence)

Post-grad plans: Gap year

Why Augustana?

I loved the greenery here and knew I would enjoy this space! The campus is beautiful during every season and just felt like a place I could be at peace in. Augie has a great science department, and I thought I could be properly supported through my endeavors. 

Augustana is three hours away from home for me, and I loved the living [housing] progression year by year. I felt like I was getting prepared properly for living on my own. And to be honest, Augie offered me a pretty nice financial package.

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

Honestly, I wasn't even planning on the French major, but the people are a great group of people and the material we covered was always fascinating. So I felt like I could really expand my perspective with continuing with the major. I also took on more leadership roles than I expected throughout my time here. 

I'm not too sure where I thought I'd be my senior year, but I am proud of who I am now. Nothing can change that. I have so many families here that I know I can always return to.

Who helped you get to where you are now?

Three people on campus I'd like to thank who were my rocks and who helped me find my passions and thrive at Augustana were Lucas Street, Kiki Kosnick and Bill Iavarone. 

Lucas was my advisor initially and then converted to my boss at the Reading/Writing Center so I always have had someone to talk poetry. He urged me to apply for the RWC, and I feel the tutors and faculty were my first family at Augie. 

Kiki Kosnick always supported me through my ups and downs and has seen me in every form. They never gave up on me and are truly the reason I'm able to graduate with both of my majors. 

Even though Bill was just doing his job, I always felt comfortable and he gave some eye-opening advice to me.

But I also want to thank my parents for always trying to understand me and my situation. There was a point in my junior year when I was just ready to drop out of school altogether. But talking it out helped me remember why I wanted to go to school. Thanks.

Peak experience?

This'll be too hard to choose, but most of my roommates are theatre majors and always tried to get me involved with shows on campus. I got to be a French dialect coach for the play "Private Lives" that my roommate directed, and I got to be behind the scenes with that. 

I also adored my French Senior Inquiry retreat to Green Wing Field Station, which was so peaceful and productive by the fireside. Also presenting at a writing center conference (IWCC) hosted at Augie and getting to rep was awesome. 

Peak Experience: Senior Year.

What surprised you?

There are way more extracurricular activities and clubs that I wanted to be involved in than I expected. So many people here are involved with so much, and you can see the effects in the interactions at events when you're supporting the passions of your friends. By supporting I got to become a part so many smaller communities on campus. Random meetings turn to lifetime bonds.

What will you miss the most?

I will miss my early morning walks through campus and people-watching on the benches outside of Brunner. I loved people-watching on 7th Ave., always interesting things to see. Also all the different campus-wide events were thrilling, like bingo... I never won one game all my four years here (T^T). True Pain. I made so many genuine connections that I'll miss the easy access I had to all my loved ones here on campus.

Advice for the Class of 2028?

You do need breaks and you deserve a break, regularly. Don't burn yourself out trying to achieve everything all at once. Honestly, I fought hard to try and balance my classes and be my best version in every class. But how can you be your best if you're running on E. Resting comes in many forms.

"Within Ashanti’s first week on campus, I knew the Reading/Writing Center needed her quirky humor, her way with words, and her 'chill' demeanor. But it turns out that these qualities are hard-fought — Ashanti’s cheerful resilience in the face of difficulty has inspired us all. She’s become one of our most sought-after tutors: a delightful, devoted writer/scholar who meets students where they are, taking in their words and ideas and nudging them to be the best they can."

– Lucas Street, assistant professor, English; director, Reading/Writing Center