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Megan Hoppe
More Than I Imagined Seniors reflect on accomplishments and look ahead

Megan Hoppe

Graduation year: 2021

High school: Linn-Mar High School

Hometown: Robins, Iowa

Majors: History, French, creative writing

Activities: SAGA Art & Literary Magazine, Campus Ministries, French Club, French tutor, Concert Band, Phi Alpha Theta (history), Mortar Board honor society, Phi Beta Kappa academic honor society

Internship: Historic interpreter intern at Living History Farms in Urbandale, Iowa

Post-grad plans: English teaching assistant in France with the TAPIF program

Why Augustana?

When I began my college search, I had a list of requirements (a small college with a great history program, a reasonable distance from home, affordable...). After one visit to the beautiful campus, I knew that Augie checked every box. I returned to campus a few times throughout my senior year, and every interaction I had with students and faculty solidified that this was the right place for me. If I had to do it again, I would choose Augustana a thousand times over.

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

In some ways. I knew that I was going to major in history and French, but I never could have anticipated adding a third major! I also never expected that I would be editor-in-chief of a college publication (SAGA) or work in the theatre department's costume shop.

I have been surprised to find that through my experiences at Augie, I have grown to be more self-assured than when I graduated from high school. While I am sad to leave Augie, I know I have been prepared to step into the world fully myself.

Who helped you get to where you are now?

My family, especially my mom, has been my rock throughout college. Knowing that they want me to pursue my dreams and also provide a steady foundation has made me feel more secure in choosing my next steps after graduation.

Throughout college, I have felt supported by all of the professors in my major departments: history (especially Dr. Brian Leech) for letting me explore my passion for fashion history; French (Drs. Taddy Kalas and Kiki Kosnick) for encouraging me to apply for TAPIF; and creative writing (Rebecca Wee, Dr. Kelly Daniels and Brett Biebel) for handing me SAGA during the summer of a pandemic.

Ellen Dixon, the costume shop supervisor, has helped me more than she will ever know — from being patient when I am learning a new sewing technique to giving amazing advice. She has become family.

And also my friends, from Augie and from home, who inspire me every day to be the best student and person that I can be.

Peak experience?

Working in the theatre department's costume shop. I stumbled into the work-study during Welcome Week when I attended the theatre pizza party. I was interested in being casually involved with tech, but when they asked if anyone knew how to sew, I had found my place.

Throughout my four years, the shop has been my home when things on campus were overwhelming. I have grown from sewing on snaps and buttons my freshman year to now having costume-designed multiple mainstage and student-directed shows.

What surprised you?

How different I feel. It's so cheesy, but I've really grown into myself during my time at Augustana. High-school-me would never have been confident enough to wear a hoop skirt around campus or submit original poetry to literary magazines. I am proud of how much more myself I feel now than when I started college.

How did you use your Augie Choice?

I used my Augie Choice to fund my Honors Capstone. During the summer of 2020, I researched, designed and sewed three historically accurate dresses (based on styles from 1865, 1900 and 1915). The project culminated in wearing the dresses on campus in the fall and observing my peers' reactions!

What will you miss the most?

The small things. I'll miss chatting and doing homework in the Brew, and walking into Brunner and seeing groups of my friends sitting in the lobby. I've loved passing by professors' offices and stopping in just to say hi. Or taking the Slough to class every morning with my roommates. Because of COVID, some of these interactions have changed, but now I value them more.

Advice for the Class of 2025?

There is no shame in seeking help. Ask questions in class, go to office hours, apply for a tutor, meet with the on-campus counselors. Everyone on campus wants you to succeed, so when you hit a stumbling block, don't be afraid to reach out.

"Megan is not only a triple major but a creative force. Megan's incredible Honors project, where she crafted three complete historical outfits, showcases her perseverance, skill and passion for cultural history."

– Dr. Brian Leech, associate professor, history