Posted on June 12, 2009 by Tia Lalani

The 2009 recipient of the Augustana Medal is Jessica Sommerfeld, who also received the Science Medal.

Jessica Sommerfeld is a young woman with determination. Whatever she sets her mind to accomplishing, she gives it 100%, whether its earning her degree or working on a scaffolding job over the summers. So, it isn’t a surprise that she is the 2009 recipient of, not only, the Science Medal but the Augustana Medal as well.

Created to recognize truly outstanding academic achievement by its graduates, the Augustana Medal is awarded for academic excellence to the undergraduate who achieves the highest academic standing in a Bachelor degree program according to Augustana graduation requirements.

“School kept me pretty busy,” says Sommerfeld. “I put a lot of hard work into it. Sometimes I would put off going out with friends.”

Sommerfeld came to Augustana Campus from Sparwood, British Columbia. Intending to transfer to U of A’s north campus in order to pursue a medical degree, she decided to complete her biology degree in Camrose. “After 2 years here, I couldn’t move again. I have friends here, it’s home here.”

Despite dedicating so much time to her studies, Sommerfeld did make time for other activities. “In my first and second year, I was on Student Council. It was such a positive experience,” she says. “I remember the very first year here, I didn’t really know anybody and around the third or fourth weekend in September, we were going on a retreat. I didn’t know anybody. By the end of the weekend, I was really good friends with them. It was quite the experience to go from zero to really close friends over the weekend.”

Admittedly shy, it seems surprising at first that for the past 3 years Sommerfeld has worked in a predominately male-oriented job, on a scaffolding crew. “I never thought I’d see the day that I’d be working in a trade. I gained a lot of respect for it,” she says. “It’s something I’m really proud of.” When speaking with Sommerfeld and recognizing her desire to challenge herself and excel at whatever she pursues, it doesn’t seem so surprising she would find a job that on the surface doesn’t seem likely for the petite young woman.

Reflecting on her time at Augustana, Sommerfeld remembers the professors and relationships she’s formed while here. “The environment here is one where you can develop relationships; it’s a community environment.” She also remembers Dr. Neil Haave and his classes as being some of her hardest but ones “I remember the most from.”

While Sommerfeld originally came to Augustana with the intent to pursue becoming a doctor afterwards, she’s decided to become a chiropractor instead. Later this year, she’ll be moving to Toronto for another 4 years of school. She’ll be taking the lessons she’s learned at Augustana with her though, “This school teaches you how to learn and how to teach yourself. I have a much broader education.”


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