Student Q&A: Tori Wilson '16

Tori Wilson

Meet Tori Wilson, class of 2016 from Wayzata, Minnesota. She’s majoring in all grades education and Spanish and minoring in English as a New Language (ENL).

Q. Tell us about the different activities you’re involved in on campus.

A. I have been a part of chapel staff since freshman year, so through that I have coordinated Faith Fest and various service opportunities for students to get involved in. These have included serving at the banquet, worshipping with the prisoners at the state penitentiary, working the Guatemalan gift sale, and helping with necessity for neighbors. This year and sophomore year I have also been a Viking Guide for our new student orientation program, and I coordinated decorations for Viking Days. I love going climbing, biking and camping with the outdoor program. I also live in a theme house community, so my housemates and I do activities with a Spanish speaking church in town, a few blocks away from Augie.

Q. Why did you choose Augustana?

A. When I started the process of selecting a college, I had no clue what I was going to study or what I was looking for in a school. As I did research, it became important [to find a school where I would have the] opportunity to dip my toe into many areas of study.

During an interview with Augie professors during my senior year [in high school], they told me that through a liberal arts education, I would find that my classes in completely different disciplines would connect with each other in surprising ways, and this would give me an edge in interacting with the world.

What made Augie different from other liberal arts schools is both practical and somewhat unpractical. For one, I needed a school that I would be able to manage financially, and preferred one that was a reasonable distance from home. For the other, I felt at once challenged and at home before I even decided to come here-by the personal nature of the professors, by the incredibly involved students. The huge slab of green grass in the middle of the campus didn’t hurt.

Q. You’ve changed majors a few times. Tell us about the gift of exploring, how professors have supported you on the journey, and how you came to choose your current majors. Are you still planning to graduate in four years?

A. I sure have. As I mentioned before, I had no clue what my end game was when I came into college. I got so excited about the classes that I have taken along the way that my major and minors took on a habit of switching with the seasons. It was a blast picturing myself going in a lot of different directions, and I am so thankful to the professors and advisors who helped with that imagination. I found nothing but enthusiasm and guidance from the various professors that I would meet with as I worked to discern what I was going to major in.

Thanks to Augustana, my journey traversing disciplines did not cause me to lose ground on graduating on time. A lot of the classes that I ended up taking were able to fit into the general education requirements, and a couple I have used as electives towards a selected major.

Q. How did you choose your majors?

A. I always loved my Spanish classes in high school, and I was eager to continue studying Spanish in college, so that major has sort of just fallen into place.

As for education, after my first year in college, I spent the summer working at a youth camp. I found out that I love working with kids, especially when they are challenging themselves. I like watching other people overcome personal hurdles and obstacles, and it would be an honor to be a part of that process. After talking with my advisor, I decided to give a few education classes a try. These classes have caused me to develop a passion for the discipline and profession. I’m very excited about my future in teaching.

Q. Tell us about the hands-on learning experiences you’ve had so far.

A. I spent spring break of my freshman year in Scotland and second semester of my sophomore year in Peru.

Through the experience in Peru, I was able to develop my Spanish in ways that are not accessible in a regular classroom.

In Sioux Falls, I have been working and volunteering for a church near campus called Pueblo de Dios. I have also been able to do practicums in multiple classrooms. The amazing thing about the education program is how well our professors know us. They work to find out what specific grades and content we are interested in teaching (beyond our general major label). They help us connect with local teachers who will work with us to make us more prepared. I guess I would say this hands-on experience paired with critical thinking is what gives us a bit of an edge as future educators.