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Margaret Cannizzaro
More Than I Imagined Seniors reflect on accomplishments and look ahead

Margaret Cannizzaro

Graduation year: 2022

High school: St. Charles North High School

Hometown: St. Charles, Ill.

Majors: Spanish; sociology-social welfare

Activities: Augustana Choir, Alpha Phi Omega (APO) service fraternity, Sigma Alpha Iota music fraternity, Búhos, Phi Beta Kappa academic honor society

Internships: World Relief Quad Cities and Tapestry Farms — both are non-profit organizations that focus on refugee resettlement and advocacy

Post-grad plans: I am applying for jobs at non-profits in the Chicagoland area and plan to work for a year. Then I hope to apply to graduate school for my master's in social work and become a licensed clinical social worker.

Why Augustana?

Compared to other schools, Augustana always felt more like home when I visited. I knew I wanted a smaller school where I could know my professors and classmates on a personal level, and that is exactly what I got.

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

Yes and no. Each of my years at Augie has been incredibly unique due to a transition to semesters, a pandemic, a year of hybrid learning and my senior year. I could have never predicted all of what would happen globally and how it would change me as a person.

However, I was still able to take part in two internships at organizations that align with my career aspirations, go on a choir tour my freshmen year, and meet amazing people and form relationships each year.

Who helped you get to where you are now?

There are so many wonderful people who have guided me at Augie. My major advisors, Jennifer Heacock-Renaud and Fatima Sattar, have been wonderful professors and supporters of everything I have accomplished at Augie. They pushed me to do my best in class and on my Senior Inquiry projects, and I would not have been as successful without them.

The music department has also pushed me to become a much more confident performer and a better musician. My voice teacher, Sonja Hurty, and choir directors Dr. Zemek and Dr. Hurty were always encouraging while still holding me and other students to the highest standards. I have loved my time singing at Augie.

Peak experience?

There have been a lot of amazing experiences, but I think one experience that stands out is my participation in Búhos. This is a student-led club that creates lessons and teaches English to Spanish-speaking adults in the QC.

Working one-on-one with people and using my Spanish skills to help them learn English brought me so much joy and helped me realize I wanted to dedicate my career to working with immigrants and refugees as a social worker.

What surprised you?

I am surprised by how much the QC has come to feel like home. It has been fun to explore the surrounding community and get involved through my internships and volunteering with APO.

How did you use your Augie Choice?

I am using my Augie Choice to help pay for a choir tour with the Augustana Choir right after graduation. We are going to Germany and the Czech Republic, and I am super excited!

What will you miss the most?

I am going to miss being a student at Augie with all of my friends I have met during the past four years. We have been through a lot together, and I am so grateful for every friend I have made here.

Advice for the Class of 2026?

It is just as important for you to say “no” to things as it is to say “yes.” Augie offers many opportunities, and you should take advantage of them but don't overload yourself! Your priorities will change over time so it is ok to change up your involvement. Prioritize your mental health and find a balance.

"Margaret has been a joy to advise and have in class! Her curiosity and enthusiasm for learning always made classroom discussions exciting. And, her passion for refugee advocacy is inspiring. Margaret’s Senior Inquiry project provided valuable grounded insight on how social service workers helped new refugees integrate socially and economically in local communities. I’m confident Margaret will have a successful future career in social work/social welfare while engaging in important social justice work. Warmest wishes — Margaret will be missed!"

– Dr. Fatima Sattar, assistant professor, sociology