Skip to main content
Kenaya Allen
More Than I Imagined Seniors reflect on accomplishments and look ahead

Kenaya Allen

Graduation year: 2024

High school: Sherrard High School

Hometown: St. Louis, Mo.

Majors: Political science; Asian studies

Minor: Japanese; art

Activities: Black Student Union, Augustana Concert Band, Student Government Association, Sigma Pi Delta sorority, PACE, Japanese Table

Internship: Leadership and The American Presidency, Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing

Post-grad plans: Preparing to take the Foreign Service Officer Test to become a diplomat and work in a U.S. embassy somewhere in the world. Also preparing to take the Japanese Language Proficiency Test to hopefully work in the Japanese Embassy.

Why Augustana?

The school really reminded me of the class setup that I was so used to back in high school. However, what really made me decide on Augustana were the faculty that I met before fully committing. They were so helpful and friendly that I knew that Augustana was the atmosphere that I wanted to be in.

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

Yes I am. I wanted to get myself out there as soon as I got to campus because I am on a journey. It's been long and of course there were hardships, but I truly believe that those hardships were there to help me open myself up to new opportunities that came left and right.

Who helped you get to where you are now?

I have to thank my political science advisor, Dr. Mariano Magalhães, and the head of the department, Dr. Xiaowen Zhang. They introduced me to new people who could help me get to where I want to be in life and for that, I am forever grateful and indebted to them. 

I would also like to thank Ashley Allen and Leticia Martinez for being the strong women role models in my life and showing me that I have a place at Augustana and that I belong as well. 

I have so many other people I would like to thank, but I would run out of room. However, I would like to also thank my family for helping me get to where I am now. Thank you for never giving up on me and encouraging me to go beyond what I had already planned.

Peak experience?

Going to the American Model UN conference back in 2023 with the political science department. It was a fun weekend of getting to network with other people while also getting closer with the people in my delegation that went with me. If there was one experience that I would love to do all over again, it would be this one right here.

What surprised you?

Saying yes to an opportunity and getting the chance to speak at the Midwest Political Science Association on a panel about environmental justice and politics with another Augustana student. I wasn't expecting that to show up, but it was an amazing experience, and I encourage other students to jump on the opportunity if it presents itself.

How did you use your Augie Choice?

I used my Augie Choice to go on a semester abroad in England back in fall 2023 — best decision ever made as I got the chance to travel, experience new cultures, try new foods and make lifelong friendships.

What will you miss the most?

The people — they really made the Augie experience so much fun for me. I met so many people from all walks of life that I would've never met if I hadn't committed to Augustana.

Advice for the Class of 2028?

Say yes to the opportunity if it's plausible! You never know what doors will open for you while you're at Augie, and it will make your time here an unforgettable chapter in your life.

"Between multiple independent research projects, participation in band, study abroad and more, Naya has certainly kept herself busy. She brings confidence, energy and enthusiasm to every class and every task. I hate to see her leave, but at the same time, I can't wait to see her go far, as I know she will."

– Dr. Elizabeth Lawrence, assistant professor, history