Faces of Resilience (part 1 of 4)


Jordan Cone

During these uncertain times, the Observer has teamed up with Farrah Roberts, director of student well-being and resiliency, to launch the Faces of Resilience project, which spotlights members of the Augustana community who have shown resilience during this challenging season. Students, faculty and staff were encouraged to nominate each other for finding ways to stay connected, for going above and beyond in distance learning or for bouncing back from adversity.  

We are pleased to present to you part one of a four part series celebrating our community.



nominated by Jacob Loitz

“He’s an amazing guy. Even in this new age of separation, he has been constantly organizing ways for all of us to be together over the quarantine through Google Meets, Discord, among other things. He has also been very diligent in watching over all of his friends and their health/preparedness for classes, and have been able to keep all of us on track and in touch as well! All while being on time and organized himself! Selfless guy.” – Loitz

Cromp says he was aware that for some of his friends, acclimating to new circumstances and waking up for class is a difficult feat, and he knew it was probably going to be more challenging while at home. So, he says he stays in contact with them almost 24/7, making sure that they know he will always be there for them.

“It’s more of like, just continuing my friendship with them,” Cromp says. “I don’t really see it as me going 100 extra miles to make me look like a good person. It’s just me being the friendly self I am.”

As a music education major, Cromp says he’s been practicing his instruments, specifically the bass clarinet. But he’s also been reading – something he does for himself.

“Find something that you can do alone, because you’re alone a lot now. Find one thing that you can just always set aside and be like, This is me doing my me time. You can do your homework alone, you could do all this stuff alone, but that’s not really you doing it for you.”



nominated by Devin Wisniewski

Dr. Gillette has made distance learning comfortable and engaging, while still keeping the curriculum challenging. She should be recognized for her ability to respond to the human side of her students and encourage them during this time of adversity. She makes the classwork speak to her students, by having it reflect the current crisis, but also by adapting jokes from the class GroupMe (which she started) into actual class material. Only praises for this accomplished professor!” – Wisniewski

Gillette says that when quarantine began, students were sending her literary quarantine memes that were “too good not to share,” so she created the GroupMe to encourage that goofiness and help grow friendships that started in the classroom. This term, the professor is teaching literature such as Bradford’s “Of Plymouth Plantation,” Whitman’s “Song of Myself,” and Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises. She says that they read very differently during the pandemic: “Right now we’re all seeing for ourselves how literature relates to its contexts and how we use it to come to terms with our world.”

Outside of teaching, Gillette goes for runs and works in her garden. She advises against taking down any hideous yellow wallpaper you may have pasted to your walls – quarantine is not a good time for that.



nominated by Grace Telfer

Bornstein was nominated by 2020-2021 SLPB co-chair, Grace Telfer, who says, “We’ve been having to schedule and carry out a lot of meetings since being sent home, and he has planned them out and sent emails and set agendas for them all, all while being in difficult classes as well.” 

Bornstein says during this time at school, he and Telfer would be training the new SLPB board on how to program events for next year. He says it’s been difficult to find times for everyone to meet virtually as some members are now in other countries. However, this has not discouraged him, as  he says the board has been coming up with great ideas.

“Because we have all this time on our hands – in a way – this has been one of my bigger priorities and keeping me busy and sane during this time,” Bornstein said. “I’m having fun doing it and seeing their faces every week.”

Outside of his SLPB duties, Bornstein is biking and grilling. He encourages the Augie community to stay positive and build up excitement for the coming year and whatever new adventure awaits.



nominated by Katherine Streicher

“He is constantly reaching out to us, making sure that we stay connected, and know that we have his support. He encourages us to send us pictures of our quarantine as well to stay connected, and he sends us pictures of his dog as well! It’s truly amazing to know that he is supporting us still from afar.” – Streicher

Crowe says preparing for distance learning takes him hours longer than conducting live classes, as he must craft new presentations and anticipate student questions. But despite these challenges, he says it’s going well.

“Honestly I’ve been kind of amazed,” Crowe says. “The best part of it, to me, is how the students have responded. I mean, almost all of my students are working very, very hard.”

The professor is practicing social distancing with his wife and daughter, and the three are keeping themselves busy by reading crime fiction and watching crime mysteries through BritBox.

“At the end of the term, I’m gonna for sure tell the students how proud of them I am.”