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Caleb Drew
More Than I Imagined Seniors reflect on accomplishments and look ahead

Caleb Drew

Graduation year: 2022

High school: Ashton-Franklin Center High School

Hometown: Franklin Grove, Ill.

Majors: Biology; public health

Activities: Club basketball, Rho Nu Delta fraternity, Campus Cupboard, Omicron Delta Kappa leadership honor society, TriBeta biology honor society, Office of Student Life (OSL)

Internships: Hidradenitis Suppurativa (HS) Body Map Study research assistant; Rural Interprofessional Summer Preceptorship Program

Post-grad plans: Work as a patient care tech at my local hospital to gain more experience in health care before applying to physician assistant graduate programs

Why Augustana?

When I was younger, my family would often take me to Augustana basketball games where I would see firsthand how special this community was. The close relationships with professors, plethora of campus activities, Augie Choice, and availability of a cadaver lab were all important factors to me in my decision-making progress.

Coming from a small town, I liked the idea of seeing familiar faces on campus, which would make building long-lasting relationships even easier.

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

No, not at all, but I mean that in the best way possible! I was nervous academically coming to campus because I knew that I had to perform well in preparation for graduate school, but the assistance I received from professors and fellow students helped. Additionally, I was blessed enough to find a tight-knit group of friends, which is what I wanted when I came to college.

Who helped you get to where you are now?

One of the biggest reasons for coming to Augustana was the relationships I would be able to build with my professors. Dr. Hann, Dr. Wegman-Geedey and Brad Kennedy were as helpful and compassionate as you could ask for throughout my academic journey.

In addition to my professors, I could not have been successful without the help of my family and friends. They've pushed me to become better in many different aspects of my life, and I owe any success I have to them.

Peak experience?

It's really difficult to narrow down a peak experience from all of the wonderful things I've done at Augie. If I had to choose, it would be competing in intramural sports (IMs). I've been active in IMs since I was a freshman, with my favorite memory from then being when my club basketball team competed and won IMs together.

Fast forward to senior year, and I'm playing and winning those same events with friends I've met through my fraternity.

What surprised you?

All of the resources that Augustana has for you. When I was a freshman, these resources were presented to me during Welcome Week, and it was difficult for me to remember all that was available because there was so much information thrown at you. But paying attention during your first few weeks will be extremely beneficial for your future!

How did you use your Augie Choice?

I used my Augie Choice as a stipend while I worked as a research assistant with Dr. Hann on the HS Body Map Study. My duties included conducting literature reviews, conducting interviews with study participants and transcribing qualitative data.

What will you miss the most?

I'm going to miss the people the most. From knowledgeable professors to lifelong friends, Augustana's community has made a special impact on me that I will cherish forever.

Advice for the Class of 2026?

Start career building as soon as you step on campus. Building a strong foundation your freshman year will allow you to have greater success with any future plans you may have. Additionally, be a yes-man and get involved with everything you can!

"Caleb exemplifies the liberal arts approach to public health research and practice. As a research assistant with the Hidradenitis Suppurativa (HS) Body Map Study, Caleb demonstrated critical thinking, curiosity and empathy that allowed patients to feel comfortable sharing their experiences. His dedication to whole person health helped him achieve the competitive Rural Health Preceptorship, which will prepare him for a career as a physician assistant. We are so proud of Caleb, and look forward to seeing the difference he makes in the world after Augustana!"

– Dr. Lena Hann, assistant professor, public health