Augie provides support for student success

Anh Bui

Augustana is equipped with many resources that students can utilize for their life after college. Both students and faculty feel that the programs at Augustana aim to prepare and support students in any direction that they choose, whether that be going to graduate school, taking a gap year or finding jobs right after graduation.

Senior Lauren Palmer plans to take a year off after graduation and then go on to medical school. She said the rapid and active communication from Augustana helped her in navigating graduate studies.

“Their ability to answer questions is incredible. I emailed my advisor, [Troy Larson], probably a billion times a week, and it’s always just something like, ‘hey, quick question’,” Palmer said. “He is always really good at responding and telling me what I should do. If he doesn’t know, he would give me some resources that I could use. I’ve felt a lot of support from him and my other professors, too.”

Palmer is currently studying for the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT), the standardized examination for prospective medical students in the United States.

“The nice thing about the pre-med degree is that it is the perfect checklist for the MCAT. I’ve actually just started studying, but from what I’ve looked at so far, it is all stuff I’ve done here so far. [The program] covers everything that is on the MCAT,” Palmer said.

One major career resource for students is CORE (Careers, Opportunities, Research, Exploration), Augustana’s career center. CORE provides students with resources and information to work on career development, experiential learning and career readiness.

Laura Kestner-Ricketts, executive director of career and professional development, said all students can benefit from CORE resources, regardless of their majors or plans after college.

“What we want to do is compliment what students are learning in the classroom. We help students engage in experiential learning opportunities such as internships, study away and research,” Kestner-Ricketts said. “Once they have those experiences, they would work with their career coaches to be able to put together the story of why they’re pursuing the career or the graduate and professional school that they’re pursuing.”

Before getting career advice, students are usually unsure of what to study and what to do after graduation. Kestner-Ricketts encourages students to visit CORE even if they are unsure of the path they want to take.

“All of our career coaches are skilled and trained in helping students make good career decisions and help them figure out the path that’s right for them. We also help students with not only graduate school, professional school but also post grad service. It really depends on what the students are doing.”

Alumni continue to receive support from Augie even after graduating.

“If there are students who still need assistance… we continue to help them up to three years after graduating. If people come back after 3 years and want help, we can connect them to our alumni networks,“ Kestner-Ricketts said.

Alumni Kirby Stockwell, social media and Public relations specialist, said she benefited a lot from CORE.

“It was really helpful to sit down with one of the people in CORE to talk about what I enjoy, what classes that have been the most interesting to me. That was the first step. Throughout the years, I kept taking opportunities within CORE to better understand the options, the directions and how to get there,” Stockwell said.

Many students are still unaware of CORE. Only 45% of students engage with CORE at least once during their 4 years in Augie. Kestner-Ricketts hoped students would take advantage of the abundant resources that CORE, in particular and Augustana, in general, provide.

“I think it takes a little bit of the student to put it back on themselves to seek out those opportunities. Students have to make the concerted effort to come see us. We are open. We are welcome. We are here to serve every student, but the students have to make the first move,” Kestner-Ricketts said.