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More Than I Imagined Seniors reflect on accomplishments and look ahead

Catherine (Cat) Priebe

Graduation year: 2020

High school: Carmel Catholic High School

Hometown: Wadsworth, Ill.

Majors: Sociology, public health

Activities: +Impact, Title IX Student Advisory Committee, Phi Rho sorority, Her Campus, Phi Beta Kappa

Internships: Safe Place in Zion, Ill.; Family Resource's domestic abuse legal advocacy team at the Scott County Courthouse in Davenport, Iowa

Post-grad plans: Attend Mercer Law School in Macon, Georgia in the fall

Why Augustana?

As a chronically indecisive person, deciding on a college was a difficult decision for me. However, any Augustana alumni I met talked so highly about their time at Augustana that I knew there had to be something special about this little liberal arts school in Rock Island, Ill. In addition, every one of the professors I met on my visits to Augie were genuinely interested in me and wanted to help me on my educational journey in any way they could.

Are you where you thought you'd be when you first came to campus?

Yes and no. I came to college as an undecided major, so I never really had any crystal clear plans about where I wanted to end up after graduation or what I wanted to study in college. I knew I wanted to get involved with sexuality education as well as sexual assault advocacy on campus, but I never could have imagined the plethora of opportunities Augie had related to those areas.

Who helped you get to where you are now?

First and foremost, my outstanding parents who have always supported me no matter what my passions in life are (even if one of those passions is sex education).

Secondly, all of my amazing professors who guide the students at Augustana with such grace, honesty and patience. In particular, Dr. Croll for seeing potential in me when I was simply a confused, eager, outspoken freshman in his Intro to Sociology class. I cannot thank him enough for all of his life advice and encouragement throughout the past four years. My time at Augustana would not have been the same without him and his very flexible office hours.

I would also like to thank Dr. Hann for always inspiring me to strive for excellence in every aspect of my life. Her passion for community health education is unparalleled, and I would not have been able to put on any successful campus health events (two sexual health education fairs, HIV/STD testing events, contraceptive distribution) without her guidance and support.

Peak experience?

My peak experience was traveling to Washington, D.C,. for PLEN's Women in Health Policy Seminar. Five students total (including myself) got to be Augie's first cohort of students to attend a PLEN seminar, which meant the trip was financed by CORE. We got to go to lectures at the Capitol, explore D.C., and go to professional networking events.

What surprised you?

I was surprised at how quickly Augustana felt like home to me. After my first night on campus during Welcome Week, I knew I had made the right decision in coming to Augie.

How did you use your Augie Choice?

I used my Augie Choice to help finance my study abroad trip to Rome, which took place the summer before my senior year.

What will you miss the most?

I will miss living and learning in a community full of people who both inspire and care about me. Augustana really is a place where people look out for one another and want what is best for their community. That sort of place can be hard to find and even harder to leave. For that reason, Augie will always hold a very special place in my heart, along with the close friends I made while on campus.

Advice for the Class of 2024?

Say yes to every opportunity you can, especially the ones that frighten you. Before even applying for something, people often convince themselves that they aren't old enough, or smart enough or qualified enough to do [fill in the blank]. Be an advocate for yourself and your abilities!

"Cat jumped into Augustana from day one and it shows. As a first-year student in my Introduction to Sociology course, she was not afraid to speak up and jump into the conversation. Her passion for learning and her commitment to social justice are clear in everything she does. Augustana is better because Cat has been here for the past four years. I will miss her and our conversations together. I know Cat will change the world, and I cannot wait to watch her do it."

– Dr. Paul Croll, associate professor, sociology