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Camilo Duarte
More Than I Imagined Seniors reflect on accomplishments and look ahead

Camilo Duarte

Graduation year: 2017

Majors: International business, business administration

Minor: Mandarin Chinese

Activities: HeyWire (improv), varsity track & field, Multicultural Men’s Association

Internships: Coltrans SAS in Bucaramanga, Colombia; Casearia di Sant'Anna in Modena, Italy; Augustana’s EDGE Center

Post-grad plans: Other than beginning my professional career, traveling to parts of the world I have yet to see to absorb more of the planet I live on.

Why Augustana?

I was originally contacted by the track & field team for the sprints, but it was not until I came to visit that I truly understood what Augustana was about. What attracted me the most was the kind and close community on campus, and I really felt wanted here through athletics and admissions. Once I left, and before I arrived back home, I had already decided to attend. 

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

Yes and no. I achieved my goals through athletics and academics, which I really wanted to strive for and knew I would accomplish, but something that I never thought I would be in is theater arts. I never thought I would be performing on stage and in front of people on a weekly basis, and now it’s a part of me. I learned so much about myself. Before I came to Augustana, I really felt I knew who I was, and I was very incorrect, so I am further in self-awareness than I thought I would be.  

Who helped you get to where you are now?

My parents were the biggest help; they paid. They also gave me the biggest support anyone has given me, not just financially, but morally as well. My parents are the best role models in my life, and I appreciate everything they do for me. My friends also pushed me toward being true to myself, and it forced me to challenge my beliefs. I would also like to thank all the professors who gave me A’s in their class. All my professors really pushed me in different ways, but I benefited from it and drastically improved my academic competence.   

A peak experience?

A peak experience happened not too long ago when I finally met my lifetime athletic goal of running the 100-meter dash in under 11 seconds. It really showed that discipline, training and motivation pays off. When it happened, I could not believe it, and I was so happy I almost came to tears. After doubting myself for years that I could not do it, I rose above it. It serves as an example that I can truly accomplish what I set forth to do. 

What surprised you?

I learned that I cannot grow a full beard, which is surprising since my uncles have them. I also surprised myself in my ability to be a leader among very different groups of people, and it really pushed me to learn how to connect with diverse groups. I gained both social and practical knowledge that comes with leadership, and I expressed it through my many involvements all four years. 

How did you use Augie Choice?

I used the $2,000 to help fund my internship in Italy, which was a useful tool in making it all possible. I can’t say I did not spend some of those funds on delicious Italian cuisine. I would have spent the entire budget if I could; the pizza was too delicious.   

What will you miss the most?

I will miss living close to people that I know and people my age. I always feel connected to those around me when I’m on campus. Whenever I am on break, I realize how boring the world actually is, and miss being around my friends, all of whom are in walking distance and make the world a lot less boring. 

Advice for Class of 2021?

Join a group that really piques your interest. You’ll be surprised at what you will learn about yourself, as college is a place where you decide who you truly are. Also, ditch the lanyards.

“Camilo has absolutely made his mark at Augustana–both in the classroom and as one of the top sprinters on our nationally ranked men's track team. Do not let Camilo’s quiet, reserved demeanor fool you; he is an intense competitor who is always striving to improve and positively impact his teammates.”

– Mike Zapolski, director, athletics