Posted on May 29, 2019 by Tia Lalani

We have so many amazing graduates to celebrate this Sunday at Convocation! Here are just a few of those students, along with some thoughts on their time spent at Augustana.

Melissa Wilk

Editor-in-Chief of the Augustana Medium | Writer for YouAlberta | Research Assistant | Co-president of Augustana Queers and Allies Club | Studied abroad in Cuba | Augustana Onesimus Award Winner | Mark Chytracek Leadership Award Winner

Who was your favourite mentor or professor at Augustana?
I’ve had the privilege of working with so many amazing people. I greatly appreciate Jason Taylor (instructor and director of experiential learning at Augustana) because he challenged me the most and helped take my research to the next level. Working with professor Erin Sutherland was also a pleasure; she provided me with opportunities to express myself in new ways, take risks and learn through a unique pedagogical approach. Also, shout out to professor Joseph Wiebe and professor Sandra Rein!

What was your favourite class at Augustana?
Every class with professor Janet Wesselius. I was never a philosophy student, but her classes were some of the favourites of my degree. From the philosophy of gender and sex to Indigenous philosophy to philosophy in Canada, she is a brilliant lecturer and facilitates fantastic classroom discussions. Janet makes everything—even the seemingly dull—exceptionally interesting.

What’s your best memory from Augustana?
I can’t choose a “best memory” but I would have to say on a broader level it would be the people and having the privilege to get to know them over the years. As for other best memories, here’s a little highlight reel:

  • First-year: writing for the Dagligtale and working at the climbing wall
  • Second-year: co-founding the Augustana Medium and studying abroad in Santiago de Cuba
  • Third-year: becoming the Editor-in-Chief of the Augustana Medium and receiving a placement as a Pathways Scholar
  • Fourth-year: planning Pride Week 2019, being an assistant curator for the continuum art show and finishing my capstone paper

If you could give a new student a piece of advice about coming to Augustana, what would it be?
The academic side matters, but so does all the in-between. Get involved, try something new and be present on campus—these experiences will be just as crucial for your future as writing papers. Augustana and Camrose have so much to offer students, and there are incredible opportunities all around.

What’s next for you?
I’m working as a research assistant with professor Erin Sutherland for the summer. In January 2020, I will be the program assistant for the Cuba study abroad program with professor Sandra Rein. After that, I am hoping to pursue a master’s degree.


Hannan Mohamud

Founder of the Augustana Diversity Club | Former Member of the Augustana Student’s Association | Former Residence Assistant | Augustana Leadership Award Winner | Recipient of the 2017 Lou Hyndman Glenora Award | Recipient of Augustana’s 2018 Heather Huber Memorial Outstanding Student Award

Who was your favourite mentor or professor at Augustana?
My favorite mentor was Feisal Kirumira. Although I wasn’t able to have a class with him, Feisal was faculty head for a lot of the campus clubs I was involved in. He also headed the diversity and inclusion initiatives on campus which I wanted to be a part of. Feisal truly made my Augustana experience feel more comfortable and rewarding. I guess it goes to show the benefits of a small campus means you can meet different professors, even if your not in their classes.

What was your favourite class at Augustana?
I had two classes outside of my discipline that I really enjoyed. The first being an art history class that I took with Andrea Korda. I never liked art or even knew how to look at art until I took this class. Professor Korda is amazing in connecting various disciplines into art history and allows students to choose the art pieces they wish to analyze. The second class was selected topics in religion, which I took with professor Ian Wilson. I really thought this 3-week long, 9 am religion class would have me knocked out, fast asleep. But professor Wilson is so personable and approachable that the majority of the class was engaged in either his small discussions or busy with projects we were able to do based on our respective majors. Both of these classes were amazing!

What’s your best memory from Augustana?
My favorite memory at Augustana was planning last-minute events with other students. Learning from senior students and witnessing first-year students’ curiosity was truly rewarding as I learned new things from both groups daily.

If you could give a new student a piece of advice about coming to Augustana, what would it be?
My advice would be to take chances. You will never know if an opportunity is truly for you if you don’t try it. And never be upset if something doesn’t work out. You did the 50% of putting yourself out there, never regret that effort that you sincerely made. Just keep pushing!

What’s next for you?
I’ve always wanted to go to law school. But I’ve always wanted to explore the prison system here in Alberta as well. I am currently waiting for various opportunities to work with the parole office here in Edmonton, the Remand Centre or with the government. In 2020, I hope to go to Windsor for law school and hopefully work for prosecution in Ontario.


Ben Schmidt (right) with professor James Kariuki.

Ben Schmidt

Research Assitant | Published in the Journal of Chemical Education | 2018 Canadian Chemistry Conference Attendee and Winner | Pursuing a PhD

Who was your favourite mentor or professor at Augustana?
Professor James Kariuki. I have had a variety of courses throughout my undergraduate degree with professor Kariuki and he was always an excellent instructor. I have had the opportunity of working with professor Kariuki for the past three summers here at Augustana and through his mentorship I have developed skills to become a strong researcher and independent learner. Though many of the chemistry faculty at Augustana have provided me with a great deal of mentorship and guidance throughout my undergraduate program here, professor Kariuki has always gone above and beyond in giving me opportunities to present at national conferences and publish my own research.

What was your favourite class at Augustana?
My favourite class would have to be Biochemistry: Intermediary Metabolism. This class was both challenging and very rewarding as we studied many metabolic pathways at an in-depth level, learning a lot about the body at the molecular scale (which is always quite interesting for me as a chemist).

What’s your best memory from Augustana?
One of my favourite memories from Augustana was getting to help out with the science fair chemistry demonstrations. It was awesome getting to see younger students excited about chemistry!

If you could give a new student a piece of advice about studying at Augustana, what would it be?
My number one piece of advice for students would be to take advantage of the small campus. At Augustana, you get the opportunity to have a lot more one on one time with professors than at larger institutions. Use this to your advantage. Building professional relationships early on with your professors can open a lot of doors for you in the future!

What’s next for you?
After graduating at Augustana, I will be heading to the University of Saskatchewan to pursue a PhD in chemistry. I will be working with Eric Price to research and develop a variety of compounds that can be used to image and treat different types of cancers.


Madison Pearson

World Congress of Undergraduate Research Attendee | Headed to the Parliamentary Internship Programme

Who was your favourite mentor or professor at Augustana?
It is difficult, of course, to name only one favorite professor. Really, half a dozen invaluable professors have shaped my academic, personal and professional lives. Of those, though, Shauna Wilton, a professor of Political Studies, stands out. Shauna is an incredibly talented educator, but what is truly special is her willingness to go above and beyond on behalf of her students. Without her guidance, I would not be where I am today.

What was your favourite class at Augustana?
This question is another difficult one to answer because I can think of a dozen courses that were essential in developing my understanding of politics, research and myself. One course, in particular, stands out because it was the first course where I designed and executed my own primary research: Politics and Culture. Being able to do that kind of work at an early stage of my undergraduate career made independent undergraduate research seem attainable and exciting. Moreover, the focus on popular culture paved the way for the research that I presented recently at the World Congress of Undergraduate Research in Oldenburg, Germany.

What’s your best memory from Augustana?
My best memory from Augustana isn’t really from Augustana but would be impossible without Augustana. Attending the World Congress of Undergraduate Research in Germany this May is the culmination of four years of hard work, a myriad of opportunities and the support of Shauna Wilton and the Augustana school administration. I learned so much and met so many amazing people, all while visiting a new country and exploring its culture and heritage.

If you could give a new student a piece of advice about coming to Augustana, what would it be?
Augustana fosters an incredibly supportive environment for undergraduate students: the mentors, the atmosphere and the opportunities that await its students are genuinely life-changing. My advice for students is to take opportunities when they are presented to you and make opportunities wherever you can. Your degree is what you make it. Go to office hours, speak up in class, do a semester abroad. Read those annoying student digest emails and apply for everything you’re even remotely interested in. You never know when kind of doors will open when you do.

What’s next for you?
Starting in September, I will spend ten months in Ottawa with the Parliamentary Internship Programme, working with nine other young Canadians for government and opposition Members of Parliament.


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