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Sam Allen
More Than I Imagined Seniors reflect on accomplishments and look ahead

Sam Allen

Graduation year: 2024

High school: Macomb High School

Hometown: Macomb, Ill.

Majors: History education; middle grades social science

Minor: Psychology

Activities: Office of Student Life and Leadership (OSL), Leadership Academy, Phi Omega Phi fraternity, Student Government Association, varsity basketball and track & field

Internship: Student teaching at United Township High School in East Moline, Ill.

Post-grad plans: Just accepted a teaching position at Rivermont Collegiate in Bettendorf, Iowa

Why Augustana?

I was originally exposed to Augustana through my cousin, who was a 2022 graduate. I chose Augustana based on the excellence of their education department and the rich tradition associated with both their basketball and track & field programs. I saw Augustana as a place that could help me grow as a student, athlete and as a leader, which were opportunities I didn't envision myself getting at a big university.

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

Absolutely not! I came into college wanting to be an All-American basketball and track athlete; however, I wouldn't change my experience for anything. 

Since joining Augie, I have evolved into a student leader on campus being the president of my fraternity, holding leadership roles within the OSL, and having many other leadership responsibilities throughout my tenure here. I have grown and matured in so many ways, and that is in large part due to my willingness to try new things.

Who helped you get to where you are now?

I will start with thanking my education professors Dr. Scarlett, Dr. Schroeder and Dr. Egan, who all helped transform me into the educator and learner I am today. I want to give a special shoutout to Dr. Michael Scarlett. I can't think of a better mentor and advisor who has been with me through thick and thin.

To Ken Brill, Tia Fuhr, Schary Santamour and Kirk Anderson, thank you for helping me achieve success as a leader on campus and for giving me the opportunities to do so.

To my dad, mom and sister, much of what I do is done with the mindset to make you proud as you all have supported me throughout my entire life, and it is because of your unwavering support that I have to thank for all of my accomplishments and overall experience at Augustana.

And finally, to my friends, thank you for making me the person I am proud to be today and for creating memories that will last a lifetime.

Peak experience?

I have two very memorable experiences. My first would have to be my student teaching at United Township High School. Through this experience I was able to develop critical skills that will translate well into my future profession, and I was able to create some pretty awesome relationships with my students, which I will cherish forever.

Another experience would be a trip I took to Greece with the basketball team the summer after my sophomore year. This trip ushered in my love for travel.

What surprised you?

The immense number of opportunities for growth that Augie gave me was something that I didn't really know was possible. Since Augie is a smaller school, I knew that there would be more chances for me to get a job, to get more one-on-one time with my professors and to try out new things. However, I didn't know how easy it would be to get involved and make an impact.

How did you use your Augie Choice?

I used my Augie Choice for a study abroad trip to Jamaica. I had the privilege of teaching at an all-girls Catholic school in Kingston, where I not only got to fine-tune my teaching prowess, but also immerse myself into a new culture and experience a beautiful country.

What will you miss the most?

The people! The people I have befriended here have truly made Augustana a place I call home. Many of the people that I have forged relationships with throughout my four years will one day stand at my wedding. 

I will also miss the morning walks to class along the Slough, the late nights in the library and the mid-day runs to get coffee (shoutout Redband).

Advice for the Class of 2028?

Your college years are very transformative to your growth as an individual. This is your chance to truly find yourself and find out who you want to become. It is okay to fail, fail again and fail again in order to transform yourself into the person you can be proud of. Don't ever doubt yourself.

"It's been an absolute pleasure working with Sam these past four years. He is a natural leader. Whether it was in student teaching, during our J-term in Jamaica or in the classroom, Sam was always willing to step up and lead the way. His future students will be lucky to have him as their teacher. I am so excited to see where his teaching career takes him! He will accomplish great things!”

– Dr. Michael Scarlett, associate professor, education