Austin VanDerWeide '19: Where Are They Now?

Austin VanDerWeide ‘19

Major: Nursing

Sanford ICU Nurse


Why did you choose Augustana University?

A: I chose Augustana because it felt like a place that I could make my “home away from home.” During my tour I noticed that my guide knew almost everyone that we met along the sidewalk and that was something I had not seen at other schools during my visits. On top of that I realized that Augustana was a place that would fit my needs both academically and athletically.

What was your favorite class?

A: My favorite Augustana class was Economics 120, taught by Dr. Eggleston. Although I was a nursing major, I am very interested in economics and Augustana helped give me opportunities to take elective courses outside my major that I was interested in.

Did you have a favorite professor?

A: My favorite professor has to be Dr. Strandjord. He very clearly cares about each and every one of his students. Even though I only had two classes with him my freshman and sophomore years, he was sure to say ‘hi’ and catch up whenever I saw him. He had a genuine interest in my life. On top of that, Dr. Strandjord is a professor who teaches students pertinent information they will use for the rest of their lives rather than cramming the semester full of useless information that we would soon purge from overflowing brains.

What’s your favorite memory during your years at AU?

A: My best Augustana memory has to be the trip to Scotland I went on my freshman year. The trip was organized through distinguished scholars and was led by Dr. Sandra Looney. It was a phenomenal experience seeing the country, being immersed in another culture, meeting people from all over the world, and learning about history.

Do you have a favorite learning experience?

A: My favorite learning experience outside of the classroom had to be my summer internship with Sanford Medical Center in their Intensive Care Unit. The experience allowed me to learn so much about nursing and was a great experience. I give Augustana a lot of credit for the experience because of the stellar letters of recommendation my nursing professors gave me, as well as the school having an above average reputation. What made the experience so great was it provided opportunities for me to get experience that you wouldn’t normally get as a student. They allowed me to do 98% of the tasks an ICU would normally do (with supervision, of course.)

Now that you’ve graduated, what are you currently doing?

A: I was lucky to be offered a job in Sanford’s ICU. It was my hope to be hired there as it provides great learning opportunities and will help prepare me for graduate school. I hope to go to nurse anesthesia school after a few years of work experience.

How has AU prepared you for your profession?

A: I feel AU has helped prepare me to thrive in Sanford’s ICU by making me learn skills such as time management, critical thinking, problem solving, and creativity. I hope the academic rigor provided at Augie will also help me be more prepared for what graduate school may have in store for me as well.