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Evan Marzhan
More Than I Imagined Seniors reflect on accomplishments and look ahead

Evan Marzahn

Graduation year: 2017

Majors: Women’s and gender studies, computer science

Activities: Muslim Student Association, Interfaith Understanding, Campus Ministries, The Salon

Internship: During spring term of my senior year, I interned at the Tredway Library, developing policy and program proposals and helping with the website redesign.

Post-grad plans: Spend time working/volunteering in the Quad Cities before going on to graduate school for library science

Why Augustana?

I visited with a group as a high school freshman, and I always remembered the beauty of the campus and the friendliness of everyone I met. It was the same when I came for my interview for the Honors program; it felt like I made genuine connections with the students and faculty I met. Augustana is also in the Quad Cities, which is my home. The Japanese program, library science advising, and the Honors program were all practical considerations, too.

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

Where I once saw college as a ticket to a “better life” and a place to accomplish nifty things, what I’ve learned has inspired me to see my current life with new eyes and to think differently about the media I consume. I also realized I love some subjects that I thought I hated, and I’m grateful that I was able to try them and that professors took me seriously even though I didn’t do well—like with math. In short, I feel like instead of getting me a better life, my time here has made my life more meaningful.

Who helped you get to where you are now?

Professors were enthusiastic and patient in teaching me; supervisors made my part-time student work into a meaningful, educational experience; friends, family and counselors guided me through tough personal crises…. I’m sure I don’t even know the names of everyone who has helped me, and I’m incredibly grateful.

A peak experience?

Going on the Campus Ministries trip to Appalachia my senior year was so life-changing that I honestly could never describe it. I also had the honor of starring in a READ! poster for the library, which has been my dream since I was really little.

What surprised you?

I’m a really different person now. I’ve had the chance to grow in some of my personal beliefs, and to challenge or reject others. I also learned that I’m a lot stronger emotionally than I thought—or maybe my experiences here made me stronger; it’s hard to tell.

How did you use your Augie Choice?

I used it to fund my internship at the library.

What will you miss the most?

The experience of going to classes and events and really learning. I know that college doesn’t just end at four years because that’s when you stop getting things out of it. If I could stay forever, I would continue to grow and change in huge ways. I wish I could!

Advice for the Class of 2021?

Be open to connections with people and things you didn’t expect, whether that be people you disagree with, subjects you didn’t like, clubs about topics outside your major, events you don’t think are “for” you, or entertainment and work experiences that aren’t specifically “educational.” Just really be present in all these experiences and take them as they are.

“I feel privileged to have witnessed Evan develop as a scholar, an activist, and a person with a complex and beautiful sense of identity. They have grown in their faith, their understanding of gender systems, and their insight into the interplay between real and imagined worlds. An astute theorist, Evan nonetheless understands that lived experience—their own and others’—should be the beginning of our inquiry, and that lives well lived should be its goal.”

– Dr. Jane Simonsen, associate professor, history and women’s and gender studies