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Abby Thomson
More Than I Imagined Seniors reflect on accomplishments and look ahead

Abby Thomson

Graduation year: 2017

Major: Computer science

Minors: Mathematics, German, history

Activities: Augustana Symphony Orchestra, computer science tutor, Quidditch Team, Campus Ministries sacristan, Sigma Xi, History Club, Phi Beta Kappa

Internship: Corporate intern at Caterpillar the summer after junior year

Post-grad plans: Pursue a Master of Information Science at Indiana University-Bloomington

Why Augustana?

I wanted to go to a small school, and I chose to visit Augustana when I found out about the pre-library science advisee program. I visited and fell in love with the campus. Meeting Dr. Dakin and the other music faculty was what sealed the deal for me.

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

Yes and no. I was planning on majoring in computer science, working in the library and going on to a library and information science school. I have done all of those, but I have ended up doing so much more. I never planned on getting three minors, but it happened, and I’m glad I did. I am planning to pursue a career in data science, something I didn’t know existed when I came to Augustana!  

Who helped you get to where you are now?

I have been helped by so many people; it would be impossible to list them all here. All of the librarians have helped me immensely in understanding more what it means to be a librarian. By working closely with them, I have discovered more about myself and the ways I can combine my different interests.

A peak experience?

There have been so many wonderful experiences here at Augie that it’s hard to pick one. One of the most rewarding was completing my Honors Capstone. With the help from faculty in the computer science and psychology departments, I designed and ran an experiment looking at differences in how people trust advice given by a robot versus a person.

What surprised you?

I am much more confident in myself than I was as a freshman, and part of that confidence is comfort. I know myself and what I can achieve better now, and I’m more comfortable trying new things and being open to new experiences. 

How did you use Augie Choice?

I used my Augie Choice to pay for housing for my summer as a corporate intern at Caterpillar in Peoria, Ill.

What will you miss the most?

I will miss the relationships that I have built. Walking with friends across campus, working in the library, and chatting with the librarians and professors...I have gotten to know many wonderful people here, and it is because of them that this place has felt so much like home.

Advice for the Class of 2021?

Be open to new experiences, no matter how random.

“Given her wide range of interests and love of learning, Abby truly embodies a successful liberal arts education. Whether on the computer programming team, tutoring introductory students in the lab, building a robot or marshaling Augustana’s Quidditch Team, Abby’s engagement and enthusiasm are infectious! I will watch her future progress with interest, as she moves on to graduate studies that combine her computational skills with information and library sciences. Wherever she goes, her cheerful smile and can-do attitude will surely brighten someone’s day.”

– Dr. Forrest Stonedahl, assistant professor, computer science