What Our Graduates Say

Andrew Kightlinger '08

Andrew Kightlinger ‘08, filmmaker (pictured above)
"Directing and acting laid the pavement for my eventual infatuation with finding that sweet spot between artistic expression and popular entertainment."

Rebecca Ogren ’08, Primrose preschool lead teacher
“Augustana Theatre made me feel like I belonged to more than just a department, but to a family. They embraced the quirkiness that was me, and helped me grow into the woman that I am today.”

Karen Hokanson ’03, actor, Stamford, Conn.
“I always felt supported and encouraged to try new, creative and cutting edge ideas. In a world that is harsh and does not care about your personal victories, I have had to draw upon my own creativity to create opportunities for success. The talented faculty openly poured out their wisdom and helped us all to excel, grow and perform at a level that has personally produced employment in the cut-throat real world. Because of my training at Augustana, I was a fully employed actor before I graduated college.”

Sammuel Hawkins '04, opera singer/television, film, and stage actor
"Studying at Augie was more than a technical learning experience; it was a lesson in life skills as well. After graduation I was prepared to take the plunge into the professional scene with confidence in my abilities and a strong foundation in a variety of performance styles. From opera to improv, prop design to stage managment, the Augustana Theatre Company gave me a taste of it all."

Heidi Sue Meyer '09, corporate publications specialist, SkyWest Airlines
"Augustana Theatre is where my hobby and habit of playwriting began. The overwhelming support to nurture and pursue this creative outlet initiated many of my own plays and eventually led to the collaborative effort to found the Claire Donaldson '8 in 48' Short Play Festival."

Julie Voelker-Morris '96, instructor, Arts & Administration Program, University of Oregon
"The theatre program at Augie offered a wonderful combination of playful risk and traditional practice to encourage students to hone individual abilities, take on leadership roles, and collectively challenge one another in our creative endeavors. My teaching today is continually built on this model of challenging students as critical thinkers and life-long learners with a passion for the creative journeys and risks they undertake as artists, authors, and performers. I love that I continue to maintain contact with Ivan Fuller and Julia Pachoud, "the dynamic duo" who guided my personal, academic, and career paths in so many ways that I would not have expected upon my arrival at Augustana."

Amanda Johnson Mitchell '03, management consulting analyst with Accenture
"The Augustana Theatre Department, like the College itself, gave me a wonderfully rounded education and an understanding of theatre as a whole. Having the chance to learn all aspects of theatre, the opportunity to play a leading role my freshman year and the individual attention and support from each of my professors made my experience at Augie one I will forever cherish."

Sarah Mason '04, Americorp Admission Possible
"Augustana theatre is ultimately about collaboration. Although the theatre is often stereotyped as being made up of egotistical individuals, I learned that the best productions come out of collaboration with visionaries, designers, do-ers, organizers, painters, sewers, researchers, dancers, etc. Collaboration is absolutely crucial in the working world. To this day, I try to focus on the strengths that individuals can contribute to a larger mission. There is something inspiring about a place that encourages students to hone their strengths and support others as they do the same.

Augustana theatre models community. It is a place that not only nurtures creativity, but it nurtures the students so that they have a space in which they feel like they can be their authentic creative self."

Amanda Conrad Berg '05, high school theatre, speech and English in Columbus, Neb.
"My four years in the Augustana Theatre Department were full of many things. They were full of love, support, encouragement and laughs. They were full of challenge, depth, accountability and tears. My four years at Augie were truly the best four years of my life, and a large part of that was due to the relationships I had in the Augie Theatre. It was through those relationships that I found people who genuinely cared about who I was, where I wanted to be, and what steps I needed to take in order to live out my passions. The Augustana Theatre Department provided for me a group of people who were not afraid to be real with me, and who were not afraid of challenging me to be real with myself. As cliche as it sounds, in four years, the professors and my fellow classmates truly became my family."

Julie Bergan Abraham '90
"My time at Augie not only gave me the job skills I needed to be employed in my major disciplines (English, speech communications, theatre, and secondary education) but also taught me life skills. For instance, Dr. Ivan Fuller took a chance on me during the Interim term of my senior year, when he allowed me to experience both the thrill and the terror of directing a musical theatre production. In addition, singing under Dr. Olaf Malmin in the Augustana Choir taught me the power of music to viscerally connect worshippers to God — a power that I still experience singing in my church choir. And professors like Dr. Arthur Huseboe, Dr. Sandra Looney, and Dr. Curt Rude in the English department both informed and inspired my own teaching through their exceptional dedication, compassion, and scholarship. But I think it was Dr. Murray Haar's religion class that taught me, perhaps, the most important life lesson I learned at Augustana: God is good, and His plan for us will be realized in His time.

I've come to say about my career that 'God has a funny sense of humor,' mostly because when I was in college, I vowed that I would never 1) do children's theatre or 2) do theatre in church. The irony, of course, is that I've spent the bulk of my teaching career working with children, teaching and directing them in a church setting! I didn't understand what that meant when I was a 20-something student, hoping to do 'big things' in the 'real world' after graduation. But I think I understand a little better now what God saw in me twenty years ago. Throughout my professional life, I have been able to help young people realize the potential that they posses to express themsleves, the self-confidence that they can experience through performance, and the power that each of them – that each of us – has to change the world, using the gifts that God has given us."