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Laurence Pavlik
More Than I Imagined Seniors reflect on accomplishments and look ahead

Laurence Pavlik

Graduation year: 2024

High school: Brother Rice High School

Hometown: Oak Lawn, Ill.

Majors: Classics; geology

Activities: Collegia Classica, Eta Sigma Phi Honorary Society for Classical Studies, Augie Acres, Augie Catholic, Alpha Sigma Xi fraternity, Student Government Association, Udden Club

Internships: Mammal fossils Intern at the Field Museum, Chicago; dig crew member at Poggio Civtate Archaeological Project, Italy 

Post-grad plans: Master's at University of Illinois Urbana Champaign, followed by a doctorate. I'll eventually be a professor of Classics, teaching ancient language and culture classes.

Why Augustana?

I chose Augustana because of the incredible geology program. I was certain my future was working at a museum as a paleontologist when I graduated high school. This reasoning didn't really line up with what has happened, but I have enjoyed my time with the geology department, and finding the Classics department has truly shaped my future. Although the logic was definitely weak, I'm very happy with where it has led me.

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

I thought I would be happy with some museum paleontology internship. I now sit with that, as well as an archaeological dig under my belt, on my way to a career teaching about Roman religion. I may not have seen far ahead, but I'm happy with where I have ended up. 

Outside of class, I have been deep in mines and atop mountains, been to conferences in other states and worked in other countries, hosted a million parties, and done countless other things I never saw coming before they happened.

Who helped you get to where you are now?

First, of the students, Jaren. He's been there for me through a lot. Colin also gets thanks. We've been through hell and back together, doing bits the whole way. Alpha Sigma Xi was there through it all, and I'd not trade it for the world. 

Academically, Dr. Day gets top billing. She taught me Latin, and welcomed me into Classics. Dr. Hooker taught me everything useful, and I'll miss our two-hour advising meetings. Dr. Nick is an invaluable Greek teacher, removing my βαρβαρισμός. Dr. Horner Brackett inspired my Etruscans studies, and her encouragement has meant a lot. 

Dr. Kiki's queer studies class taught me great lessons I use in work and life every day. Dr. Wolf taught me how to study fast. Dr. Strasser was the first Augie professor I met, and he has always helped me when I thought I was finished. 

Lightning round: Sam, Mari, Ezekiel, Darby, Annika, Jack, Cavit, Frank, Steve, Kenny, Noah. My parents and sisters have always supported me, and I thank them greatly. 

I wouldn't be here without everyone's help.

Peak experience?

Spring semester sophomore year. I was the busiest I'd ever been: two presidencies with a third by March, as a SGA senator I was working on amendments, Alpha Sigma Xi was struggling, I was desperate for an internship, and both mineralogy and Greek were hanging me out to dry. 

But I had good friends, good professors and the will to keep going. I managed to get all my work done, and have a good time with my friends. I also wrote my first paper on Roman religion, and that has shaped all my research ever since.

What surprised you?

I had no idea the support I would get. I worked hard and did a lot of work for my internships and conference presentations, but without a ton of letters of recommendations (many last minute) and advice on etiquette, my work would be wasted. Every geo major owes Susan Wolf gratitude, as Classicists do to Dr. Day. In research, applications and all else, I received great help.

How did you use your Augie Choice?

I used my Augie Choice to fund a teaching internship at Augustana. The internship was a valuable experience for the rest of my career.

What will you miss the most?

Midnight Slough walks. I'll miss a lot of other things, like my professors and friends and clubs, but there will be new ones to get to meet and know. The Slough does not have a replacement at any other schools I've seen. 

After a hard lab or long translation, there's no better way to relax than a walk along the Slough path. It's also the best for stretching my legs after traveling to and from a conference. Having been in it five times and walked along it innumerable times, I will miss the Slough.

Advice for the Class of 2028?

Always ask, even if absurd. I wouldn't have gotten to Italy if I didn't ask for scholarship application extensions. I wouldn't have double majored if I didn't ask for some schedule changes, and I wouldn't have learned Etruscan if I didn't ask how. The answer might be no, but ask and it might be yes!

"Laurence has a drive towards excellence and accomplishment that is wonderful to see. Almost from day one at Augustana, he has consistently launched himself into strong and focused scholarly engagement in Classics in impressive ways — and is always a stimulating and challenging conversation partner. He’s been a leader among our students, and his enthusiasm can be infectious. I am excited to see where the next stage of his journey leads!"

– Dr. Mischa Hooker, continuing lecturer and assistant professor, Classics