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Giselle Barajas
More Than I Imagined Seniors reflect on accomplishments and look ahead

Giselle Barajas

Graduation year: 2022

High school: Plainfield East High School

Hometown: Romeoville, Ill.

Majors: Multimedia journalism and mass communications; political science

Minor: Women, gender and sexuality studies

Activities: Jenny Lind Vocal Ensemble, Augustana Observer, Multicultural Programming Board, Latinx Unidos

Internships: Esperanza Peace and Justice Center; Figge Art Museum

Post-grad plans: I plan to work at non-profits that strive toward social justice. I also hope to go to grad school or law school once my undergraduate debt is paid off. In the meantime though, I'm taking advantage of my newfound free time to pick up new hobbies!

Why Augustana?

I chose Augustana because of the small classroom sizes and pretty campus. They also gave me a lot more scholarship money than other Illinois colleges, so I couldn't resist.

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

Yes and no. As a first-gen college student, I had no idea what to expect. All I knew coming in was that I was probably going to be in a creative career that I didn't know existed yet. Here I am now with career aspirations for jobs I did not know existed four years ago.

Who helped you get to where you are now?

My family for all the times they helped me. Especially for all the times they helped me move in and out of the dorms/apartments, and gave me a place to stay over breaks.

My professors for supporting me and believing in me! They gave me a safe space to learn and grow both as a person and in my academic career, so I can't thank them enough.

Lastly, I want to thank my dog for helping me de-stress during breaks. He was always excited to see me.

Peak experience?

Traveling to Montreal with Jenny Lind my freshman year. It was super cool getting to sing at the Notre-Dame Basilica and exploring the city. I keep a beret from Montreal as a souvenir still!

What surprised you?

How confident I grew. I never expected to speak up for what I believe in as much as I do now.

How did you use your Augie Choice?

I used it for my internship at the Esperanza Peace and Justice Center.

What will you miss the most?

I will miss the small-campus vibe the most: getting to just sit at the Brew and run into so many different people you know, getting to walk just a few doors down to see your friends, etc.

Advice for the Class of 2026?

Major in what you love. You're here to learn about whatever you want!! Don't worry about majoring in something "practical," because internships will give you all the practical skills you need to work. Your major/s will help you learn more and grow as a person.

"Giselle chose the more challenging but rewarding path by pushing the boundaries of her knowledge outward and inward. She centered 'border' identities — queer, Latinx, hybrid, postcolonial — through her internship, independent study, and her help with a sonic and visual exhibit on migrant experiences at the Figge Art Museum. In crafting and seeking answers to questions that mattered to her, she found out how they mattered in the world, crafting a richer, more complex picture of spirituality, ethnicity, place and identity."

– Dr. Jane Simonsen, professor — history; women, gender, and sexuality studies