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Savonia Mahr-Threw
More Than I Imagined Seniors reflect on accomplishments and look ahead

Savonia Mahr-Threw

Graduation year: 2024

High school: Dunlap High School

Hometown: Peoria, Ill.

Majors: French; communication studies

Minor: Jazz studies

Activities: Augustana Symphonic Band, Augustana Symphony Orchestra, Jazz Ensemble, Jazz Combo

Internship: Archival research intern at the Japanese American Service Committee based in Chicago

Post-grad plans: Go home to explore the workforce and travel

Why Augustana?

My first Augie experience was actually in middle school when my ILMEA [music competition] was hosted here in Bergendoff. I remember walking around the campus and being awestruck by all of it, and I guess that feeling ultimately led me back here after high school.

Once here, I immediately knew I made the right choice. I settled in with an amazing group of friends, along with a few student groups and music ensembles. I couldn’t believe how welcoming every professor was, and this feeling of belonging has stayed.

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

Absolutely not. I did not have an end goal when I came to Augustana. I wanted to see what was out there, and Augie has helped with that. I have played in numerous community ensembles, participated in a research internship in Chicago, and have formed connections that will last long past graduation. And that has all happened here at Augie.

Who helped you get to where you are now?

Where do I start? I have had help in so many pockets of this school. The language, music and communications departments have consistently been there for me at every twist and turn.

Dr. Kiki Kosnick has been with me from the beginning. Whether it was helping with a question in class or guiding me through life in general, I could always count on them, and I still do. Their classes pushed me to critically think and bring my voice into the classroom. I do not know what I would have done without their guidance these past four years.

The music department as a whole has been my foundation as well. Doc, Dr. Joel Linscheid, Mike White, and so many others have helped me grow as a musician and an individual so much here at Augie. Honestly, I did not think I was going to continue with music in college, but now, I have solidified a place for music in my life that I will take with me wherever I go.

Peak experience?

My favorite time here at Augie wasn’t even on campus. The summer before my senior year, I was able to go to Dijon, France, for six weeks. We stayed with a host family, took courses at the university there, and traveled across the country. I loved every minute of it, and I already cannot wait to go back.

What surprised you?

At first I thought that I would miss out on not going to a big school, but the smaller size has really grown on me. I can get to know my professors and classmates as well as participate in numerous clubs and activities, not to mention the fan section at our games. Augie may be small, but that opens up opportunities for more voices to be heard.

How did you use your Augie Choice?

I used my Augie Choice on my trip to Japan with the Augustana Symphonic Band in my junior year. We traveled 12 days across the country, from Kyoto to Tokyo to Nagoya and a few other spots, too.

What will you miss the most?

Probably living with my closest friends. We are all from very different parts of the country, but here, we all live under the same roof. It is so much fun coming home from classes and rehearsals and just being able to relax with them or laugh until tears are streaming down our faces.

Advice for the Class of 2028?

Do not be afraid to ask for help. If anything gets too overwhelming, there are so many opportunities for support through your friends, professors, advisors and others. So many of my professors checked in with me if I fell behind because they want to help, and all it takes is a question.

"Savvy is a one-of-a-kind student because her passion bubbles out of her. Whether she was a student in my class or assigned as a peer mentor to my first-year advisees, Savvy was 100% invested and involved. Because of this passion and ability to make connections with others, I have no doubt that she will find a way to make the world a better place."

– Donna Hare, continuing lecturer and assistant professor, communication studies