Posted on May 31, 2019 by Tia Lalani

From art conferences in New York City to rainforests in Costa Rica, the Nahanni River in the Northwest Territories to Dinosaur Provincial Park just east of Calgary—Augustana took these graduates far outside of the classroom.

Emily with Augustana Dean Allen Berger.

Emily MacMillan

Research Assistant | 2019 College Art Association Conference Attendee | Augustana Onesimus Award Winner |Project coordinator for the Métis Nation of Alberta

Who was your favourite mentor or professor at Augustana?
It’s impossible to choose just one person at Augustana who made a difference in me, but professor Judy Liao was such an amazing supervisor to work under and I will be forever grateful for the mentorship she provided me. Judy took me under her wing following my third year, and I began working with her through my directed study and as her research assistant. Both of these opportunities challenged my academic abilities, instilled a newfound sense of confidence in myself and opened so many doors moving forward. Megan Caldwell, our Indigenous Student Services Coordinator, was also a huge blessing through my time at Augustana. She provided endless support and encouragement throughout all my academic endeavors and inspired me to always push myself to my fullest potential.

What was your favourite class at Augustana?
Erin Sutherland’s Cultural Productions! I really enjoyed the nature of this class and the opportunity to do experiential learning. Erin created such a safe space to have open conversations about important and sensitive topics, while simultaneously allowing us to learn by doing and to try things we’d never done before. Tanning a hide and weekly communal dinners were highlights!

What’s your best memory from Augustana?
Getting to travel to New York with professor Liao to present our research! We attended the College Art Association’s 7th Annual Academic Conference to present our research on the “Becoming (of) female sporting bodies in a digital reality: The WNBA in NBA Live 18 video game.” It was pretty surreal to experience an academic conference as an undergraduate student.

If you could give a new student a piece of advice about coming to Augustana, what would it be?
Be bold! A lot of things at university are terrifying, but being brave and asking for help got me so far. Every professor that I met at Augustana had the purest heart with the hope of helping you succeed, so make sure you use the resources you’re given and the rest will come. As the saying goes: “Be afraid, but do it anyway!”

What’s next for you?
I am currently working as a youth project coordinator for the Métis Nation of Alberta-Region 1! I eventually hope to go back to school to complete a master’s and continue to explore my research on Indigenous health promotion through cultural realms.


Photo courtesy of Robert Renman.

Nils Asfeldt

Augustana Nordic Sports Club | Augustana Outdoors Club | Raft Expedition Trip Leader | Recipient of the Augustana Roger Epp Award 

Who was your favourite mentor or professor at Augustana?
It’s hard to choose just one. Many of my professors have gone far out of their way to look out for me and other students. However, Gerhard Lotz stands out as a role model to me, especially in the past year with his work on the recovery of Nordic Sports. He has always been available to discuss strategies and help me jump through the hoops to get things rolling (despite never having been my professor!).

What was your favourite class at Augustana?
Applied Improvisation with Sparky Johnson. It was one of the few classes I’ve taken that I feel has direct, concrete applications to my life. Anyone who works with people (hint: all of you) should take an improvisation class.

What’s your best memory from Augustana?
My favourite memory at Augustana is seeing younger students stepping up to take leadership roles in organizations I’ve been a part of throughout my five years at Augustana. I’m excited to see what the new leaders for the Augustana Nordic Sports Club, the Augustana Outdoors Club, the Climbing Wall, Chaplaincy and other student leaders will accomplish.

If you could give a new student a piece of advice about coming to Augustana, what would it be?
Don’t limit yourself to the opportunities that you’re offered. Take them and morph them into what you need, and create your own opportunities. Learn what you want to learn. Also, take your core classes ASAP. You never know what you might enjoy…

What’s next for you?
I’m spending the summer as Trip Leader on raft expeditions on the Nahanni River, N.W.T. After that, who knows? Find me on rivers, trails, and mountains…


Sydney Martin

Research Assistant | Studied abroad in Costa Rica | Pursuing Graduate School

Who was your favourite mentor or professor at Augustana?
I had two favourite professors at Augustana: Tim Parker and Neil Haave. Professor Parker taught his courses with such passion, which made them very interesting and enjoyable and led me to complete an in-depth research project on the effects of drug use on the brain, an experience through which professor Parker offered tremendous support and guidance. The research project proved to be a valuable learning experience, and I am grateful to professor Parker for the opportunity to work together on such a project. Furthermore, he was always willing to help his students in any way he could. I am thankful to have had the opportunity to take many of his classes. I began and ended my degree with professor Haave and would like to credit him with much of the growth I experienced both as a student and as an individual. He was always available to answer any questions I had, offered tons of advice and guidance throughout my entire degree and pushed all of his students to be their absolute best. Professor Haave was a great mentor and I am thankful to have had the opportunity to get to know him throughout my degree.

What was your favourite class at Augustana?
My favourite course at Augustana was Neurobiology of Learning, Memory and Addiction. I enjoyed this course because I got the opportunity to volunteer in a retirement community with patients with varying levels of dementia, which proved to be a great learning experience and taught me several essential skills that I will be able to use in the future. Further, this course was extremely focused, which I enjoyed, as it enabled us to explore one topic in-depth rather than skimming several ideas. This course also spurred my interest in how addiction influences the brain.

What’s your best memory from Augustana?
My best memory from Augustana is the two weeks that I spent in Costa Rica as part of a research course. Walking through the rain forest in the middle of the night, watching spider monkeys climbing through the trees and releasing baby sea turtles into the ocean made the trip an amazing experience, and is one that I will remember for the rest of my life.

If you could give a new student a piece of advice about coming to Augustana, what would it be?
If I could offer one piece of advice, I would say to take advantage of all that the professors have to offer. At Augustana, it is so easy to get to know your professors and to meet with them regularly, allowing students to get help when struggling in a course, to gain research and teaching experience and to receive advice and guidance on questions concerning both school and life in general. At Augustana, we are fortunate to have such interactive and invested professors who know each student, many of them personally, and are willing to do anything and everything to ensure their students succeed. Forming close relationships with my professors truly made all the difference in my experience at Augustana.

What’s next for you?
Starting in September, I will be attending the University of Manitoba to complete my Master’s in Physician Assistant Studies. While I am incredibly excited to start a new program, I will miss Augustana greatly!


Julie Ostrem

Former Intern at Miquelon Lake Provincial Park | Former Park Interpreter at Dinosaur Provincial Park | Research Assistant | Recipient of the Augustana Roger Epp Award | UAlberta 2018 Outstanding Sustainability Research Award Winner

Who was your favourite mentor or professor at Augustana?
I had the privilege of having some outstanding mentors and professors during my four years at Augustana, so many I couldn’t bring myself to just choose one! Here are a few that have really stood out and have played a critical role in not only my university career but also how I progress in my day to day life: Glen Hvenegaard, Greg King and Joe Wiebe.

What was your favourite class at Augustana?
My favourite course that I have taken at Augustana was Applications in Sustainability taught by professor Greg King. This course was fantastically designed with Camrose in mind to show the importance of individual efforts in promoting sustainability in your own community. This course also had a huge impact on me outside of school and encouraged me to make sustainable choices in my everyday life.

What’s your best memory from Augustana?
One of my favourite memories at Augustana was the Miquelon Lake Field Studies Course. This course provided me with my first real research opportunity and inspired me to become a research assistant in my final year. I was also able to connect with many like-minded individuals and we still look back on this trip today, smiling and laughing about our fond memories.

If you could give a new student a piece of advice about coming to Augustana, what would it be?
Do what makes you happy. You can plan ahead but don’t be afraid to change your plans to better suit what you truly enjoy. And remember—university is also a time to make memories and life-long friends, so make sure you have some fun while you’re here too.

What’s next for you?
After graduating with my environmental science degree, I plan to take a year or two to travel and gain a new perspective on environmental conditions around the world. Eventually, I hope to return to university and continue my education by obtaining a master’s in the environmental education field.


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