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Carina Martinez
More Than I Imagined Seniors reflect on accomplishments and look ahead

Carina Martinez

Graduation year: 2024

High school: Lincoln College Preparatory Academy

Hometown: Kansas City, Mo.

Majors: Elementary education; Spanish

Activities: Augustana Symphonic Band; Clarinet Choir; Learning Commons tutor for Spanish and education; Sigma Alpha Iota music fraternity

Internship: Student teaching in second grade at McKinley Elementary, Davenport, Iowa

Post-grad plans: Teaching at an elementary school

Why Augustana?

When I first visited Augustana, I loved how beautiful the campus was and the welcoming environment. Once I toured and learned more about the college, I loved everything it stood for. 

Having small classes was a priority for me so Augie was a great choice. What sold me were the people and the opportunities. At Augie, I would be able to continue to participate in music while studying education and Spanish, enjoying the liberal arts experience. There is no place like Augie.

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

Not really. When I started, it was COVID so I had some of my classes online, and everyone was masked. I did not get to know many people, and I stayed in my bubble to keep safe. Now, I have traveled to a different country and around the Midwest with some of my favorite people and become more confident. All of the experiences Augie has provided me have shaped who I am in the best way.

Who helped you get to where you are now?    

Many people have helped me get to where I am now. I am so thankful for all of the professors in the education and Spanish departments for working with me and making my dream possible. I am especially grateful for my advisors, Dr. Hengst and Dr. Borderia-Garcia for their endless support. 

I can’t thank Dr. Zimmermann and Dr. Bracke enough for sparking my passion for teaching and making sure I am meeting all of my students' needs. I am also thankful for Dr. Egan and his constant confidence in me and for always pushing me to do my best. All of my education professors are fantastic and have helped prepare me to be the best teacher I can be.

My friends also have played a huge role. Their confidence in me has made me a better person, and I would not be where I am without their everlasting support. 

My family has made the biggest impact in my life. They have been with me every step of the way and are my best support system. I am eternally grateful for them.

Peak experience?

My favorite experience was definitely traveling to Japan with the Augustana Symphonic Band. Getting to spend almost two weeks there sharing our music was incredible! We got to meet so many amazing people and students and explore different cities. The food was spectacular, and it was peak cherry blossom season! 

My favorite experiences include getting to see Mt. Fuji twice, performing with the students at two schools, getting to play taiko drums, and doing a samurai workshop and tea ceremony.

What surprised you?

I was surprised at how many opportunities Augustana had to offer. During my time, I have gone on tours with the band, including Japan! I was especially surprised at the amount of opportunities the education department provides. I have spent hundreds of hours gaining hands-on experience in five different classrooms!

How did you use your Augie Choice?

I used my Augie Choice to go on tour with the Augustana Symphonic Band (ASB) to Japan during Spring Break in 2023. It was one of the most amazing experiences ever and was so much fun. We got to share our music with tons of people, play with Japanese students and explore a new country. It was amazing!

What will you miss the most?

I will miss a lot of things, especially playing with the ASB and getting to create amazing music. Getting to rehearse with them every week has been one of my favorite things about attending Augie.

I am also going to miss my elementary education cohort and the professors I’ve had, especially in the education and Spanish departments. It is amazing to go through a program with the same people and see how everyone grows. It is always the highlight of my day getting to have class with them.

Advice for the Class of 2028?

Take advantage of all of the resources Augie has to offer! They are there to help you along the way. Your professors and all of the staff and faculty are there to support you and make your dreams come true.

"Carina has an infectious love for learning. Knowing that a person like Carina will spread that love to her future elementary students gives me hope for the future."

– Dr. Mike Egan, professor and chair, education