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Ainslie Lounsbury
More Than I Imagined Seniors reflect on accomplishments and look ahead

Ainslie Lounsbury

Graduation year: 2022

High school: Libertyville High School

Hometown: Libertyville, Ill.

Majors: Music education (instrumental), Scandinavian studies

Activities: Symphonic Band, Symphony Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra, Flute Choir, Secondary Musical Instrumental Lab Ensemble, National Association for Music Education/Augustana College Music Education, Sigma Alpha Iota music fraternity, Omicron Delta Kappa and Mortar Board honor societies

Internships: I student-taught K-6 general music at Harrison Elementary and 7-12 band at Wood Intermediate/Davenport North High School. I also was a summer 2021 intern at the Swenson Swedish Immigration Research Center.

Post-grad plans: I will be teaching K-5 general music, 6-8 band, and music technology in Milwaukee, Wis.

Why Augustana?

Augustana was the last college I visited, and I honestly didn't think this would be where I would end up. However, the moment I stepped on campus, I felt welcomed by the music department and the campus community. I knew I was home! I also thrive on strong connections with professors and teachers, and I knew that a liberal arts education from Augustana would provide me with that support.

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

In some ways, yes. In many ways, no. I knew I would end up being a music teacher, but I certainly did not imagine that a double major in Scandinavian studies would be a part of that! I am so thankful for all of the opportunities I had to explore music education from an interdisciplinary approach.

More than anything, I feel that my Augustana experience taught me that life is about the journey, not the destination; my Augustana journey to becoming a music teacher was transformative!

Who helped you get to where you are now?

My professors, without a doubt.

From Dr. Farmer and Dr. Rathgeber in music education, guiding me and pushing me to become the best educator I can be; to Dr. Lambrecht, Dr. Chetel and Mrs. Stodd, my ensemble directors, helping me to challenge myself as a musician; Dr. Bancks, who allowed me to explore my musical ideas through composition; Dr. Safstrom, Dr. Fuller-Shafer, Lisa Huntsha and Jill Seaholm in Scandinavian studies, finding ways for me to connect my love for music with my passion for Swedish culture; and Dr. Kiki, my first-year advisor, who has supported me from the very first step of my Augustana journey.

There are so many more professors and people at Augustana who have touched my soul and helped me to become the person I am today. There aren't enough ways to express my gratitude for their support throughout my time here, both as a student and as a person. They have truly helped me to flourish in more ways than I can explain.

Peak experience?

I had the opportunity to travel to and study in Uppsala, Sweden, as part of my Scandinavian studies major in the summer of 2019. I developed my Swedish language skills, met tons of friends from nearly 50 countries, and experienced Swedish music, art and culture! The experience of exploring a new country on my own was life-changing, and I am thankful to Augustana for helping me find this path.

What surprised you?

How much my confidence has grown over the past four years. I came to Augustana so unsure about myself and my place in the world. Now, I have found a sense of identity and belonging that I wasn't sure I would be able to find.

Augustana prepares you more than you believe, for school and life. Now that I am teaching, I see my experiences apply to everything I do.

How did you use your Augie Choice?

I used my Augie Choice to support my experience as a summer intern at the Swenson Swedish Immigration Research Center; I studied and catalogued Swedish music that was donated by the music department. My work resulted in the C. Robert Larson collection becoming available for public research.

What will you miss the most?

I will miss the daily conversations with my professors. I spent so much time getting to know them, and I'm so thankful for their time and dedication. However, I also know that I will have lifelong support from all of them as I begin my next adventure as a teacher!

Advice for the Class of 2026?

Every day brings challenges, but it also brings the opportunity to overcome those challenges. Ask for help frequently. No one can do this alone. The only constant is change; embrace that. It's okay if your initial plan goes off-script. It should sometimes; it's part of discovering who you are!

"Ainslie has worked incredibly hard at Augustana to make the most of the liberal arts experience. She has blended her interests in music and Scandinavian studies with distinction in academic projects, an internship at the Swenson Swedish Immigration Research Center, and musical performance (for example, she has played her flute every year at the Scandinavian studies program's Sankta Lucia celebration!). She has a palpable passion for learning and education, and has demonstrated the dedication, creativity and empathy to be a great teacher! Tack ska du ha, Ainslie!"

– Dr. Kelsey Fuller-Shafer, visiting assistant professor, Scandinavian studies