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Claire Martin
More Than I Imagined Seniors reflect on accomplishments and look ahead

Claire Martin

Graduation year: 2018

Major: Biology (pre-physical therapy)

Minor: Public health

Activities: Varsity volleyball, TriBeta (biology), Delta Chi Theta sorority, Office of International Student Life mentor

Internship: Rock Valley Physical Therapy

Post-grad plans: Doctor of Physical Therapy Program at Governors State University

Why Augustana?

I initially chose to visit Augustana because I wanted to continue to play volleyball and because of the school’s strong athletic programs. After visiting the school, factors such as Augie Choice, small class sizes and study abroad opportunities helped make my decision to attend Augustana an easy one.

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

Although I completed my intended major, the pathway to how I got there was something I could never have anticipated. I could not imagine the number of connections and networking opportunities I would make that strengthened my application materials for graduate school. I had no idea that I would excel in my athletics and be voted captain and make all-conference my senior year. I also had no idea I would join a sorority that introduced me to some of my most genuine and lifelong friends.  

Who helped you get to where you are now?

First and foremost, my family has given me unwavering support. They push me to become the best version of myself and love me no matter what. My friends have offered me that same support but also helped make my college experience well-rounded and so enjoyable. My advisor, Scott Gehler, and other great professors here helped guide me to reach my goal of admission into physical therapy school. My coach, Kelly Bethke, pushed me to excel on and off the court.

Peak experience?

My peak experience was traveling to Australia last year. Getting to experience this adventure with my closest friends made it even more unforgettable. During my time abroad, I climbed to the top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, held a koala, fed kangaroos and wild dolphins, sand surfed and snorkeled, among many other things.

What surprised you?

In these past four years, I learned that nothing worth having comes easy. I built that mentality around everything I did. Although not always enjoyable, I would not trade long nights studying or tough practices for anything. This mentality helped push me to become the best student-athlete I could be.

How did you use Augie Choice?

Every four years, varsity athletic teams go on an international trip. Last winter, I went to Australia with the volleyball team. We landed in Sydney and traveled north up the coast from city to city for two weeks. During one of our stops, we had the opportunity to compete against an Australian volleyball team. It was truly the experience of a lifetime.

What will you miss the most?

I will miss being surrounded by the hardest working, open-minded and passionate people I know.

Advice for the Class of 2022?

Put 110% into everything you do, and you'll be surprised what opportunities come your way!

“I met Claire during the recruiting process when she was a senior in high school. She has grown so much over the past four years and has become a mature, confident young lady. Due to her focus and work ethic, she has achieved great success as a student-athlete at Augustana. Claire is a selfless individual and was willing to take on any role to help the volleyball team. She dives into what she is passionate about and gives it her all. I’m excited to see what she will achieve after Augustana!”

– Kelly Bethke, head women’s volleyball coach

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