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Elizabeth Kupar
More Than I Imagined Seniors reflect on accomplishments and look ahead

Elizabeth Kupar

Graduation year: 2017

Major: Music education (instrumental)

Minor: Psychology

Activities: Augustana Symphony Orchestra, National Association for Music Education, Sigma Alpha Iota International Music Fraternity, Harry Potter Alliance, Club Softball

Internship: K-6 general music student teacher at Ed White Elementary School and orchestra student teacher at North Scott Junior High and High School, Eldridge, Iowa.

Post-grad plans: I am applying for teaching jobs around the country. Ideally, I would love to be in a middle school, conducting for the orchestra program or teaching general music/music appreciation. 

Why Augustana?

I heard about Augustana’s strong music program and wanted to learn more about it. As soon as I stepped on campus for my first visit, I felt at home. The professors and students that I met were friendly and welcoming. Coming from a fairly small high school, I liked the attention that I received from the small class sizes and wanted that to continue in college. Augustana had everything that I wanted in a college.

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

Yes, but the journey has definitely been different. I have changed so much and done many things I never thought I would get the opportunity to do. 

Who helped you get to where you are now?

My parents, sister and professors have helped me get to where I am today. They have supported me throughout my entire journey by providing not only a shoulder to cry on but also a kick in the butt when I needed the motivation and encouragement to get through classes and projects. My friends both on and off campus have also been a source of support. Whenever I needed a break from studying, they always knew ways to cheer me up.

A peak experience?

I guess the top one was my last day of student teaching. Everything I have learned in college has led to my student teaching experience. I was able to conduct an orchestra and teach general music in an elementary school. On my last day at my elementary school, I had the opportunity to conduct my third- and fourth-grade students in their music program. It was a patriotic program so the kids sang about different landmarks of the U.S. and people who have served our country, from the presidents to veterans. Knowing where they started and seeing/hearing the final product was just an amazing experience that brought tears to my eyes. It solidified my choice of becoming a music educator. 

What surprised you?

I have changed so much more than I thought I would. I used to be a quiet person who rarely spoke in class. Now it is hard to shut me up. I realized that my ideas are valid as well, and I am allowed to share them with my classes. I am also much more open to new ideas thanks to the liberal arts education that I received at Augustana.

How did you use Augie Choice?

I used my Augie Choice to study abroad in Norway. While in Norway, we experienced the history, art and culture of the nation, and we sat in on a sixth-grade class to see the differences between the American education system and the Norwegian. We also had the opportunity to go dog sledding and try Norwegian foods. This trip sparked my interest to travel the world and experience different cultures. It inspired me to say “yes” to traveling to Jamaica this past spring break and Costa Rica right after graduation to experience the education systems in both countries.

What will you miss the most?

Everything! Augustana has become my home after these four years. I have so many memories and stories from my time here that it will be hard to say good-bye.

Advice for Class of 2021?

Try something you never thought you would try, whether it is a particular sport, club or class. Some of the best classes that I have taken have not been the ones in my major but ones that just sounded really interesting. It helps you to see a new perspective of the world, and you might find that you actually really like learning about that certain subject or playing that sport and want to incorporate it into your future.

“Liz fell in love with music at a young age because of a teacher, and came to Augustana knowing she wanted to learn how to be that same kind of teacher for others. By pushing herself in the areas that challenged her instead of staying in her comfort zone, she has grown tremendously as a musician, teacher and communicator. It has been a pleasure to work with Liz, and it will be a pleasure to watch her pass on her love of music to future generations of young students.”

– Dr. Deborah Dakin, adjunct assistant professor, music