Wartburg helped me accomplish more than I could imagine

NAME: Abby Klug 
HOMETOWN: Cedar Falls, Iowa
MAJOR: English and history

INVOLVEMENT ON CAMPUS: Football and basketball cheerleading, Dance Marathon, Ambassadors, Homecoming Committee

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE WARTBURG: I chose Wartburg because of the variety of experiences and opportunities that it offered me as a student. I knew that I wanted more from my college experience than just academics, and while I wanted a quality education, I knew I could learn more outside of the classroom rather than just in it. Wartburg allowed me to learn and take classes each semester, but also participate in multiple extracurricular activities that only enhanced my learning experiences and continued to challenge me as a leader and a student. I can say that it’s not only about academics at Wartburg, but also learning important leadership and service skills that can translate into life after college.  

Along with this, the people I met here on my visit convinced me that I was more than just another student, but I was someone who deserved their attention and had dreams I wanted to fulfill. After four years, I can confidently say that with the support of those around me here at Wartburg, I have accomplished more than I could have ever imagined, and I could not have done it without those at Wartburg who continually supported and challenged me. For shaping me into the person I am today, I will be eternally grateful to Wartburg and those who made it home.

Abby Klug

HOW DID YOU DECIDE ON YOUR MAJOR: Throughout my middle school and high school years, I always had a passion for reading and writing. I loved writing my own stories and reading the works of others, especially texts that could be considered “classic literature.” Along with this, I wanted to share my passion for these topics with others, which allowed me to consider becoming a college professor. These interests led me to feel as if an English major would be best suited for me, so I came into Wartburg with an English major. During my second year at Wartburg, I decided that not only was I interested in the books I was reading for classes, but also the historical context in which they were written, which led me to pursue a double major in English and in history, along with a Spanish minor. The humanities have always been an integral and interesting part of my education, and my time in both of these departments have allowed me to experience things I could have never imagined I would obtain from these disciplines.

WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS AFTER GRADUATION: After graduating from Wartburg, I will be moving to the Quad Cities to attend Western Illinois University in order to complete a master’s degree in museum studies. Following this program, I plan to apply to doctorate programs in order to complete a Ph.D. and become a professor or other academic professional in either a museum, library, archival, or college setting.

HOW DID WARTBURG PREPARE YOU FOR YOUR NEXT STEP: Wartburg has prepared me for my next steps in life by shaping me into a strong servant-leader. Not only have I been able to participate in many extracurriculars that have allowed me to become an organized, involved, and motivated leader of my peers, but I have also been able to learn valuable life skills like collaboration, public speaking, and time management through my classes and extracurricular activities. The liberal education that Wartburg offers its students also prepared me for my next steps after graduation, as this type of education allows for students to cultivate and prepare for a lifelong love of learning, of which I can say will stay with me into my future.  

DID YOU DO ANY INTERNSHIPS WHILE AT WARTBURG:  During the summer before my fourth year at Wartburg, I was able to complete an internship/volunteer work with the Grout Museum District in Waterloo, Iowa. There I was able to work under its registrar, Nicholas Erikson, learning about many aspects of museum work, including the preservation, storage, and cataloguing of artifacts along with the work that goes into making exhibits and the legal work behind the acquisition process.

DID YOU DO ANY RESEARCH AT WARTBURG: As a second-year student, I applied for and received funding to complete research about an early modern text called the Faerie Queene by Edmund Spenser. This research took me to Chicago’s Newberry Library, where I was able to work with first editions of this text printed in the 15th century and examine the roles of women and villains in this piece. I continued to work with this research as a student and it has become the topic of my Senior English Capstone project.

WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE CLASS: Throughout my time at Wartburg, I have taken a variety of courses that all were equally interesting and challenging to me as a student. However, if I had to choose a favorite class, it would be a tie between EN 340, The Secret History of Books, and EN 156, Myth in Folklore. These courses were both held in May Term, with the latter being a travel course to Greece. Both of these classes allowed me to combine my passions for history and English and explore the connections between both.

WHAT WAS YOUR MOST DIFFICULT CLASS: The most difficult class I took at Wartburg was probably SP 312, History of Latin America. It was difficult due to the fact that it was conducted completely in Spanish, of which I had not had much experience with before this course. The content we covered was incredibly fascinating, but understanding it took much longer than other courses that I took throughout my four years at Wartburg.

DO YOU HAVE ANY MENTORS ON CAMPUS: A major part of my Wartburg experience was the relationships I developed with many, many individuals across  campus. Many of these people became mentors and friends to me throughout my four years for many reasons. Dr. Rachel Clark has been my academic adviser from the beginning, and not only has she been a role model for me to look up to, but also a friend that I can count on in any situation, academic or personal. Tara Winter has been a coach-turned-second-mom, constantly supporting me in all of my endeavors at Wartburg. Tony PeterSmith has allowed me to explore avenues of life I could not have thought of before meeting him, always encouraging me to simply be myself. Jette Irgens started off as my boss, but soon turned into a mentor and confidant who truly guided me to become the person I am today. There are, of course, so many others, and I don’t think that I could be the person I am today without these mentors and their support and guidance.

WHAT IS THE ONE THING YOU NEVER THOUGHT YOU COULD DO BEFORE COMING TO WARTBURG: One thing that I never imagined that I could or would do before coming to Wartburg would probably be studying abroad not once, but twice. I knew I wanted to travel when I came to college, but I never expected myself to study in Costa Rica and Greece for course credit. These experiences will stay with me long after I graduate, and I’m so happy to have had these experiences through Wartburg.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE WARTBURG MEMORY: Between every football game cheered at, Homecoming celebrated, May Term enjoyed, or Dance Marathon completed, choosing my favorite Wartburg memory is proving to be more difficult than the Portuguese final I finished for my final semester. If I had to narrow it down, one of my greatest memories at Wartburg is my first ever Homecoming and Family Weekend. I had no idea what to expect with all of the festivities going on, but I knew that once the weekend ended, I wanted to be a part of the group that made that all happen. Another one of my greatest memories is being a member of the executive team for Wartburg College Dance Marathon 11, during which I created bonds with my peers that will last a lifetime and witnessed the true power of Wartburg College students in their dedication to making miracles for the kids at the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital.

WHAT DID YOU LIKE MOST ABOUT CAMPUS LIFE: Campus life at Wartburg is something unique; the people I’ve met and memories I’ve made by living and being involved on campus are absolutely incredible. My favorite part of campus life, though, is the fact that students can be as involved as they want to be. I would not trade my extracurricular experiences for the world, and there is something so special about Wartburg students and their drive to be involved. It is great to share a space with like-minded people who have the same dedication and drive as you do, and that is one thing that makes campus life at Wartburg so valuable.

WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR CURRENT STUDENTS: Some simple and somewhat cliché advice that I have for current students would be to soak up every opportunity that you can get here at Wartburg. Study abroad, take another class that interests you, present at a conference; whatever opportunities come your way, I highly encourage you to take them. Some of the best decisions I have made here at Wartburg are those that terrified me at first, but I am so grateful that I took a leap of faith when I did. There is so much that Wartburg has to offer you, so take advantage of those things while you can. You can’t get them anywhere else!

WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN FIVE YEARS: In five years, I see myself either working at a museum as a registrar or curator or continuing my education and earning my Ph.D. This is the dream, and I know that the support system and lessons I gained at Wartburg College will be there with me throughout the rest of my life. You don’t just graduate from Wartburg with a diploma, but with a set of skills, a fan club of supporters, and lifelong memories that will aid you wherever this journey called life takes you.

WHY WAS WARTBURG WORTH IT: Wartburg was worth it for so many reasons, but a big reason is its investments in its students and alumni. Nowhere else could I have gone for my undergraduate degree and gotten the same kind of care, support, and nourishment like I have at Wartburg. The experiences that I have been offered here, such as being involved in athletics, extracurriculars, and academic pursuits are just a handful of the opportunities that Wartburg students can experience at this college. There is no place like home, and therefore there is no place like Wartburg.

I cannot thank this institution and those who help it function enough for everything that they have done for me. I came in as an unsure first year and I am now leaving a confident, dedicated senior excited for her next steps in life, but who will always be grateful for the experiences at Wartburg.