Graduation year: 2021
High school: Elgin High School
Hometown: Elgin, Ill.
Minors: Physics, theatre arts
Activities: Phi Mu Alpha (music), Delta Omega Nu fraternity, Augustana Choir, Ultimate Frisbee, Cycling Club, Symphonic Orchestra, Club Baseball, various intramural sports, mainstage productions and operas
Post-grad plans: Take a gap year, then perhaps law school or on to grad school for music, maybe teach at a college
Perfect fit for me. Lots of opportunity to get involved in anything. Nothing was barred because of majors and minors, and there was room to grow and work and meet people that I don't think I would have gotten to meet at a larger school. Recognizing faces and people from year to year and activity to activity at Augie made me feel much more a part of a community rather than a part of an institution.
Are you where you thought you'd be when you first came to campus?
Not even close, but I'm very glad that I ended up in a place that makes me happy and fulfilled, even if the future is more unsure for that change.
Who helped you get to where you are now?
All of the music faculty that I was privileged to know and work with, especially Dr. Pfautz, Dr. Rayapati, Dr. Schmidt, Dr. Hurty and Dr. Crouch. The theatre faculty who pushed my understanding of my own performance abilities. Honestly, I've taken something from everyone who has instructed or directed or in some way helped me on the faculty side.
On the personal side, Anne Bak, Jarod Kovach and Ben Castro are names that come to mind instantly among the people who I've gotten to know and have helped me instrumentally in figuring out my path, whether they knew it or not. But again, there's something to be learned from everyone, even if they're no longer in my close circle.
Going overseas after my first year at Augie with the choir set an impossibly high bar for the rest of my college career; I spent a month learning and growing and eating a lot. There's not much that can top that. Being an ambassador and a musician performing in the name of Augustana —especially so new into my time here — was an inexplainable feeling and honor.
What surprised you?
How much change can happen in four years, and how much change there was to make even after a hard four years of high school with all the change that comes with that. You only grow more when you're on your own on a campus crammed in with a couple thousand other kids who are equally as confused and unsteady in their futures.
How did you use your Augie Choice?
I used it after my freshman year to take the choir trip to Spain, France and Sweden. If it hadn't been for that, I have no clue where it would have gone, but it went toward possibly the best three weeks of my life.
What will you miss the most?
The people. And I miss "pre-COVID," seeing as that wrenched what would have been the best time to really cement friendships and make the most meaningful memories on and off campus during senior year. I'm lamenting the loss of what could have been in that regard, but I also miss knowing where I will be in six months, or a year, and the structure and safety that comes from college. Of course, it's time to find that elsewhere on my own terms now.
Advice for the Class of 2025?
Don't be afraid to take the risk you're thinking about. This is the prime opportunity to take a jump, try something you're nervous about, go somewhere and meet someone you never would otherwise. You might find something you can't live without.
"From his first year, Nathaniel has had to reckon with the limits of time being insufficient to contain all his interests in a four-year program, deferring some of those interests to spread out over his lifespan. His Figaro set the bar for the cast of The Marriage of Figaro production last year. In our unforgettable Into the Woods production during this COVID year, his Narrator will be a touchstone by which I'll compare other performances of that role. Nathaniel, may goodness and mercy follow you all the days of your life. It's been an honor and privilege to have you in our music department for the past four years."