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Sofia Briggs
More Than I Imagined Seniors reflect on accomplishments and look ahead

Sofia Briggs

Graduation year: 2023

High school: Fort Collins High School

Hometown: Fort Collins, Colo.

Major: Applied mathematics

Minor: Computer science

Activities: Student Government Association, Office of Student Life, Augustana Physics and Engineering Society, Rocky Mountain Club, Sigma Pi Delta sorority, Pi Mu Epsilon (mathematics)

Internship: Augustana Beling Mathematics Research

Post-grad plans: I will be working full-time at Epic in Madison, Wis.

Why Augustana?

I knew I wanted to go to a smaller college where I could build more personal relationships with my professors and peers. When I came for my first visit, I immediately fell in love with the campus and felt so welcomed by every person I met.

Honestly, I just had this gut feeling that Augustana was where I was meant to be, and I couldn't have been more correct. Through all of the ups and downs, Augie has always been my home away from home.

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

Not at all! When I first came to Augie, I thought I had a clear vision of who I wanted to be. My time here has taught me that things don't always go as planned, but sometimes you just need to be patient and trust the process.

After a rough sophomore year, I felt so lost, but I was just learning how to find my own way. In my four years, I have learned so much and accomplished more than I ever would have thought possible. Little me would definitely be proud of the person I have grown into.

Who helped you get to where you are now?

I would not be where I am today without the continuous support of everyone around me. Each one of my professors has challenged me and helped me to shape my way of thinking and viewing the world.

My advisor, Dr. Andrew Sward, has been one of the biggest contributors to my success at Augustana. Despite my sometimes-poor attendance and many starfish flags, Dr. Sward never gave up on me and truly helped me to grow academically.

I also really thank Dean Brooks and Ken Brill for helping me to grow in confidence and independence as a leader in SGA and the OSL. I have learned so much through the Student Government Association, and the many people who came before me. I especially want to thank Isabelle Jordan for trusting me to be her VP. It has been an absolute honor serving alongside such an amazing leader.

I am so grateful for all my peers and my friends who have believed in me and pushed me to be better. Finally, nothing would be possible without the best parents who have always been my #1 supporters.

Peak experience?

My peak experience was definitely studying abroad in Cambodia. There are nowhere near enough words to describe how much I learned and grew from being immersed in the most welcoming communities in such a beautiful country. In just a short trip, I felt so much joy and love, and I made some true lifelong friends.

Cambodia will always have the most special place in my heart, and I will forever be grateful to Augustana and Professor Laurel Williams for providing me with this life-changing experience.

What surprised you?

I was surprised by how fast everything went. It feels like just yesterday I was moving out of Westie after COVID sent us all home. Every year, it's always so bittersweet to watch all the seniors graduate and leave Augie, and I simply cannot believe that now it's really my time to go too. Time truly flies.

How did you use your Augie Choice?

I used my Augie Choice for my study abroad to Cambodia. We spent one week volunteering at the Elephant Valley Project and two weeks working at NGOs with students from Pannasastra University of Cambodia in Siem Reap. We also spent a few days exploring the temples, markets and various museums.

What will you miss the most?

I will miss going on midnight drives with my roommate, doing math homework with my friends on the whiteboards they bought from Home Depot, late night procrastinating in Olin, and of course the many, many, many coffee runs. I will also miss just walking around campus, seeing so many friendly faces and having lots of small conversations.

It is the people that have made all of these memories so good, so it is the people that I will miss the most. The Augie community is certainly one-of-a-kind.

Advice for the Class of 2027?

Make the most out of your time at Augie because it goes by so fast. Don’t let your fears dictate your college experience or prevent you from putting yourself out there. It’s okay to not always have a plan. Also, take full advantage of your professors' office hours (and go to class!).

"Sofia's journey at Augustana has been remarkable to watch. From a first-year advisee, to student in my classes, to researcher as a Beling scholar, I have watched Sofia become more confident in herself and her abilities. I am proud of her accomplishments, and I know that she has a bright future ahead!"

– Dr. Andrew Sward, associate professor and chair, mathematics and computer science