Senior profiles: Now what?

Several members of the class of 2015 reflect on their college experiences

Lexi Robinson

Name: Lexi Robinson

Major(s) & Minor(s): Double Majoring in Global Studies with a concentration in Worlds and Dialogue, Spanish and a Political Science minor

Post-Grad Plans: After graduation I will be moving back to Minneapolis to live at home and work at the Fulton Brewery in their taproom as a seasonal employee. The first of August I start my next adventure as a USA Student Ambassador in the American Pavilion at the World’s Fair in Milan. Expo 2015 focuses on” Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life”. This universal exhibition will run from May 1st -October 31st and act as a global showcase for cultural collaboration. 140 countries are set to participate in the Expo, one of the being the U.S. The U.S. Pavilion will focus on ” American Food 2.0: United to Feed the Planet” . The group of Student Ambassadors come from over 34 states and speak a handful of languages. Student Ambassadors were selected both for their linguistic ability, and for their interest in global affairs. As a student ambassador, I will be communicating primarily in Spanish talking to visitors about my experience with the American food culture while guiding them through the U.S. pavilion. It’s a 3 month time commitment in Milan, Italy.

What are you most excited for after college?: I’m most excited to continue seeing the world

What are you most  nervous about for after college?:  I’m nervous to ” leave the nest”/my comfort zone for an unknown amount of time. I studied abroad in Alicante Spain for a semester, but there was an end date. That’s the cool thing about futures, you can decide what best suits you.

What will you miss most about Concordia?: I’ll miss a lot. Ill miss the midday life chats that happen when you pass a friend in Knutson.

Favorite Concordia Memories: Favorite memories include fall sports and on campus activities. Being the Women’s Soccer super fan was a blast. I loved being at every home game cheering on our team watching my twin sister, Elizabeth Robinson, score lots of goals!

How will you BREW after college?:  Living in Milan, Italy for 3 months will definitely keep me responsibly engaging in the world.

What would you like to do in 10 years?: In ten years I have no idea where I’ll be. My end goal is to have a career where I can help raise the quality of life in marginalized communities, empowering the people. How to do that is another story.

Katie Bjelde

Name: Katie Bjelde

Major(s) & Minor(s): I am majoring in Sociology and minoring in Business, I also have concentrations in French and Political Science (meaning I have taken a number of classes in these fields, but do not have enough to major/minor)

Post-Grad Plans: Well, immediately after graduation I do not have anything overly-exciting planned. I will be moving home to Eden Prairie and will be working (a lot!) to save money. In September, I am moving to London, England as I have accepted an offer to attend graduate school at King’s College, London. I have been accepted into a very small program in their Department of War Studies. This program, titled Terrorism Security and Society, is an accelerated MA program, allowing me to finish my degree in one year (September 2015-September 2016). From September 2015 to December 2015, I will be taking all of my core modules and have the opportunity to choose a concentration (region or topic). After Christmas, from January 2016 to the following September, I will write my dissertation – oh, and I will do some traveling!

What are you most excited about as you graduate from college?:

I love change, so I am honestly really excited about doing something new and different. Also…I am moving to London, so that’s pretty rad.

What are you most nervous about?:

Not having the community of support so readily at my fingertips. Whether it’s my group of friends, those acquaintances I see at the same time every day and can’t help but say “hello!” each time, or the professors I so willingly lean on, the support at Concordia is something I don’t know that I will ever encounter in the same ways again. Don’t get me wrong – I know I will always have my friends and family to turn to for support and advice, but I will not see them every day (especially since I’m moving to London) and that will be a difficult adjustment.

What will you miss most about Concordia?:

I will miss the tight-knit community that I have come to rely on and love so much. I will miss not seeing my friends every day, not going to committee meetings (yeah, they suck sometimes, but we’re doing something we care about), not going to Mick’s on Thursday nights, not singing in choir everyday. Holy cats, I will miss the Parke – that place has been my home this year. But you know – how lucky am I to have such a wonderful place that will make saying goodbye so hard?

Favorite Concordia Memories:

Oh, boy – it’s pretty hard to narrow it down. Choir tours, meeting my best friends, any class with Lindholm – ever, dropping a cup in DS, Washington DC May Sem, meeting a lifelong friend who happens to live in Norway but was my roommate last year, Jenga at Mick’s – you name it. I don’t think I have a genuinely negative memory from my time at Concordia. Sure, rough classes, late nights, stressful events? Obviously – but those things only made me stronger and look back thankful for the learning experience.

How will you BREW after college?:

Ohhh, yes. Heck, I wrote about BREW in my Personal Statement for grad school! London is an international hub and probably one of the only places in the world where the native language is English, but you could walk down the street and never understand a word. I am going to have the opportunity to engage with people and cultures I have only read about, with situations that challenge our domestic and foreign leaders to develop global strategies, and with neighborhoods and burrows I don’t even know exist yet. Becoming Responsibly Engaged in the World is recognizing our place in the greater scheme and acknowledging that we have something to contribute. So, whether I am meeting new people, trying new things or attempting to write a dissertation (eek!), I will be BREWing.

What would you like to be doing in 10 years?:

10 years is a long time from now and I have no idea what may come my way between now and then. But I can say that after completing my Master’s in Terrorism Security and Society, I hope to do government-related security work. My “dream job” would be at the State Department or the CIA, doing work on radicalization and counterterrorism war strategy. But for now, I have more short-term goals, like writing my Capstone paper prior to the day before its due and figuring out how loan payments work. The “10 years from now” stuff comes later.

Kaylee Schubert

Name: Kaylee Schubert

Major(s) & Minor(s): B.A., Major in Vocal Music Education, Minor in Religion

Post-Grad Plans:  I have had my own piano and voice studio in the summers for the past three years.  This will be my fourth summer.  My students range in age from 4-18.  This fall, I will keep my studio open and hope to gain a few more students.  I look forward to seeing what my students will achieve after a year of lessons instead of just several months.

What are you most excited about as you graduate from college?: I am excited  to apply and expand the knowledge and skills that I have gained in my undergrad, to benefit my future students.  I am also looking forward to the warm weather in this coming school year. Beyond that, I am looking forward to the new experiences that I have and discovering where life takes me.

What are you most nervous about?: I am most nervous about my success staying in contact with the friends that I have made at Concordia once we graduate.

What will you miss most about Concordia?:  From the moment I stepped on campus, I always felt a sense of support and care from the community.  Concordia, as a whole, always strives to have a positive impact on the world and it can be seen in day to day interactions on campus.  I will miss that community, but another reason I love Concordia, is that the community extends beyond the physical campus. I meet Cobbers many places that I go whether near or distant from campus and am always treated in that same warm and supportive way.  I am so proud and lucky to be part of such a strong and positively impactful tradition and I look forward to being able to keep it perpetuating forward.  I know that no matter where life takes me, I will have my Cobber family.

Favorite Concordia Memories: I have so many positive memories at Concordia, but the ones that stick out the most are from the Christmas Concert.  The first moment that I really felt like I was in the right place and a part of the Concordia community was the moment the audience stood up for the opening hymn at the Christmas Concert my freshman year.  The sense of community within but also beyond the current students and faculty is seen clearly in that moment.  So much and so many people have to make sacrifices every year to join in that tradition.  Here over 400 musician come together and sacrifice long hours at a point in the semester where there is no time to be spared to create and spread a message of hope to the surrounding community and to each other.  The first hymn of the concert is special to me because it is the moment that all of the musicians and audience members join together in sharing in the message. Every concert after that, I looked with anticipation for that moment.

How will you BREW after college?: I plan on brewing by getting involved in Montana’s American Choral Directors Association and working with local schools and teachers to give musical opportunities to students and the community.

What would you like to be doing in 10 years?:  I do not have any specific place or job that I hope to have in ten years from now.  My hope is that I am having a positive impact on the world through music, teaching and education and am able to keep challenging myself to keep grow and learn.  I look forward to seeing how that takes form.

Sarah Olson
Sarah Olson

Name: Sarah Olson

Major(s) & Minor(s):

Psychology and Music major, Spanish minor

Post-Grad Plans:

I will doing a year of service abroad through Young Adults in Global Mission, a program of the ELCA, and will be placed either in Mexico or Southern Africa. I will partner with a non-profit organization to do a year of service work.

What are you most excited about as you graduate from college?:

The opportunity to make the next steps in my life whatever I want them to be.

What are you most nervous about?:

Not being able to decide what to do next, and missing my friends and family, depending on where I end up in the future!

What will you miss most about Concordia?:

Everything. But specifically, the people, and the opportunities to be involved in meaningful and interesting learning experiences that can be found around every corner.

Favorite Concordia Memories:

My time spent with Justice Journeys in Ensenada, Mexico; touring with Concordia ensembles; performing in the family weekend showcase; making friendships that will last a lifetime.

How will you BREW after college?:

I think so! I plan on BREWing during my year of service by being open to serve in any way possible and connecting with all sorts of people!

What would you like to be doing in 10 years?:

I have no idea. Probably to have completed some further education (definitely master’s degree, possibly doctorate) and possibly be working in some form of counseling or music therapy in a big city.

Sam Fouts

Name: Sam Fouts

Major(s) and minor(s)? Vocal Music Education and French (minor)

Post-Grad Plans:

I will be pursuing my Masters of Music in Choral Studies at the University of Cambridge in the UK. It’s a year-long program that mixes equally the academic and performance aspects of choral music. In other words, it’s exactly what I’m looking for. I’ll be done a year from July, and I have no idea what’s happening after that, but I’m sure some doors will be opened.

What are you most excited about as you graduate from college?:

I’m excited for possibilities. There’s a Spanish poem that begins “Wayfarer, there is no road. Your footsteps make the road.” I may have had more concrete plans for my life when I came to Concordia than I do now, but I’ve learned to enjoy not knowing what the plan is. Now I get to discover it one step at a time.

What are you most nervous about?:

I am most nervous about leaving the incredibly supportive family that I have here. Being far away from my actual family, friends, and mentors will a healthy challenge. Oh, I’m also nervous about money. I have this nightmare in which I convert my life savings into pounds and spend it all in a month.

What will you miss most about Concordia?:

Concordia is such a tight-knit community of learners that I’ve become convinced of its uniqueness. I will miss the feeling that everyday without even trying I will learn and experience something new. Most importantly, learning and experiencing things in the company of friends. I will also miss Kahlua Cheesecake. A tougher parting was never had.

Favorite Concordia Memories:

Every choir tour, every Christmas Concert, every Tactus concert, every late-night conversation, every road trip to Des Moines (okay, there was only one of those). It’s hard to be too specific when I feel like this whole four-year run was one big joyous memory.

How will you BREW after college?:

The surprising thing that I’ve discovered at Concordia is that BREWing is a state of mind more than anything. I even consider reading a news article BREWing. As long as you maintain a curiosity for the world, you are better set than most people to engage with it. So the simple answer is yes, I will be BREWing. I can’t help it. More specifically, I will be focussing on sparking dialogue between musical traditions in the UK and the American Midwest while I am studying in Cambridge. I can do this in many ways, but each will involve bringing to bear all the skills that I have learned from multiple departments at Concordia. I am confident, therefore, that BREWing will occur as a natural byproduct of being a Concordia graduate. It’s just who we are.

What would you like to be doing in 10 years?:

As I’ve mentioned, the beauty is that I have no idea. And I’m very much at peace with that. Whatever I’m doing , I hope that it will involve making music, opening doors for others and myself, and experiencing as much of the world as possible.

Name: Meghan Knudtzon

Major(s) & Minor(s):

Physics and Mathematics double major.

Post-Grad Plans:  In the fall, I will be attending the University of Minnesota in pursuit of a Ph.D. in Chemical Physics. I look forward to continuing my work with lasers and ultrafast spectroscopy.

What are you most excited about as you graduate from college?:  I’m most excited about continuing to study physics in more depth. One of my ultimate career goals is to conduct experimental research, and this is a huge step in that direction.

What are you most nervous about?:  I’m most nervous about academic burn out. I want to jump into grad school head first and give it my all, but I know there will be times when I have nothing left to give, but I still need to keep going.

What will you miss most about Concordia?:  Undoubtedly the professors. All of the professors I’ve had the privilege of working with have proven to be fantastic mentors, inspiring passion, excitement, and the drive to work harder than I usually think I can.

Favorite Concordia Memories:. Too many to consider picking favorites! Late nights spent working on physics homework with classmates, the croquet bash with the Forensics team, and Atmosphere at Cornstock are certainly on the top of that list, though.

How will you BREW after college?:  Outreach is really important to me, particularly for STEM fields, so I look forward to continuing involvement in community science outreach and mentoring programs.

What would you like to be doing in 10 years?: . I’d like to be doing research, particularly with lasers. I’m not sure if I’ll be studying biological or synthetic systems, but I expect I will still be dealing with ultrafast dynamics on the femtosecond scale.

Taylor Tielke


Name: Taylor Tielke

Major(s) & Minor(s):

Global Studies and Political Science, History

Post-Grad Plans:   Serving in the Peace Corps. I will be teaching/tutoring post secondary/university English at a University/college in China for 27 months starting in August. After that, I plan to pursue a higher degree in either law or political science.

What are you most excited about as you graduate from college?:  Traveling and getting out of the states for a bit; learning a new culture and language. Becoming financially stable is also an exciting prospect.

What are you most nervous about?:  Finding a fulfilling and rewarding career.

What will you miss most about Concordia?:  The community and the friends I’ve made here.

Favorite Concordia Memories:. My favorite memory by far is playing StateCraft in Dr. Rebecca Moore’s International Security course. Other than that, many memories with the Concordia Forensics team.

How will you BREW after college?:  Yes. So the goal of the Peace Corps is to build relations with other countries through development and cooperation. In many ways, investing in foreign communities and assisting international students are BREWing.

What would you like to be doing in 10 years?:   Part of me wants to be a professor at a small liberal arts college and another part of me wants to work for international organizations or departments like the State department. Ideally, in the near future there is financial and career stability. We’ll see what happens.

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