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Ian Rothery
More Than I Imagined Seniors reflect on accomplishments and look ahead

Ian Rothery

Graduation year: 2022

High school: Wheaton North High School

Hometown: Wheaton, Ill.

Major: Neuroscience

Minor: Chinese

Activities: Varsity track & field, Rho Nu Delta fraternity

Internship: Group therapist for inmates at Scott County Jail in Davenport, Iowa

Post-grad plans: Attend Wheaton College for my master's in marriage and family therapy

Why Augustana?

When I began my college search my junior year of high school, I had probably around 10 schools I was looking at. Augustana was the very first school I visited, and I liked it enough to keep it in my top five and apply.

By the end of my senior year, I had visited about five more times. Every time I came, I fell more in love with the school and the people here. This is a really special place, and the tight-knit community of passionate people was something I wanted to be a part of.

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

No, I had other post-graduate plans when I first came to campus. I majored, minored and got involved in everything that I had wanted to — like sports and student groups. However, I started to discover my true personal strengths and how I can best apply them in the world and be the best version of myself.

I am really happy about where I am as I finish my undergrad at Augie. I have learned so much about myself, and I am very thankful for every opportunity I had.

Who helped you get to where you are now?

I have had the best support system, and I am so grateful for that. First of all, I would be nowhere in my life without my following of God.

Beyond that, my parents have supported me so much through everything, whether it was a bad test grade and giving me inspiration to keep going or having them cheer me on at track meets. My parents have always been so supportive of everything that I want to try or do, and they always push me to try my best. I am so thankful for that.

My siblings and friends also offered great support, whether it is helping me feel better when I am down or riding with me through my achievements. I was blessed to have phenomenal friends from home who I am still very close with, and blessed to have made amazing friends early on in college and made even more as I went through.

The professors here are wonderful and really push you and want to help you be the best you can be. I want to thank Dr. Harrington, Dr. Gordon and Hua-mei Chang; they did so much for me.

Peak experience?

It is very difficult to choose a single experience with all of the things I was involved in like big performances in track, doing fun activities with my fraternity and friends, or successes in the classroom. If I had to choose a single thing though it would be when I finally got my Senior iInquiry project put together. I worked so hard and put so many hours into it. Along with all the knowledge I have accumulated from other neuroscience classes to put it together, it was really special for me.

What surprised you?

I was most surprised by how much I fell in love with Augie, especially as fast as I did. I think of Augustana as a true second home. I love being here at school, not because of the fact that I enjoy my classes, which I do, but the people here — my friends, teammates and professors — they make this a very special place, and I am going to be very sad to leave.

How did you use your Augie Choice?

I was going to use Augie Choice for a study abroad trip to Ireland in J-term of my senior year, but it got canceled super last minute, and I didn't get to use my Augie Choice for anything unfortunately.

What will you miss the most?

I will definitely miss seeing my friends on a regular basis the most and just being here on campus. I am very blessed to have great friends on campus, and it is such a day brightener to pass smiling and friendly faces in the Quad or to have people to hang out with after classes, and at practice and such. The past four years have really emphasized to me how important relationships are.

Advice for the Class of 2026?

Appreciate the time and opportunities that are in front of you. As you get older, time seems to go faster, and no matter how much you try to live in the moment, it will continue to pass. So just appreciate the things that are going on, especially the little ones.

"Ian had taken three years of Chinese (CHNS-200/300/400) with me, and he was always amicable and respectful in class. He achieved the Chinese minor with an A GPA after finishing the 300-level class, but he went forth to continue his Chinese learning for the fourth year. I appreciate his dedication to the language and wish him all the best in the future."

– Hua-mei Chang, adjunct assistant professor, Chinese