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COVID-19: Fall 2020 plans and student resources ›

Making an Impact Through Problem Solving

Brynn Watson ’89 is Lockheed Martin’s Vice President in the Digital Transformation Program. As COVID-19 moved most of Lockheed Martin’s work online, Brynn’s work became more important than ever, helping her teams pivot to a digital platform. She has been pleasantly surprised that productivity and efficiency have continued and says her teams have adapted positively to online programs to stay connected. While this has been a big change for most of the company, it’s a change Brynn embraces, especially in her leadership role.

“We’re more empathetic about work-life balance. Parents are teaching their kids. We’ve become more accepting about dogs barking in the background of a phone call. I like that change. It’s a good thing.”

Brynn has an award-winning record for her leadership abilities: Lockheed Martin Space NOVA Full Spectrum Leadership Award; Tribute to Women Honor by the YWCA of Silicon Valley; and Lockheed Martin Space Ed Taft Diversity Leadership Award.

In 2018, Brynn was recognized with Augsburg’s Distinguished Alumni Award for her commitment to helping young women in STEM.

Brynn’s dedication to helping others through community building started long before her work at Lockheed Martin. It started in middle school with the influence of another Auggie: Ertwin “Ert” Jones-Hermerding.

Ert graduated from Augsburg in 1969 with a degree in Speech, then moved to Robbinsdale to teach speech and theater at the middle school. This is where Brynn first met Ert and first learned about Augsburg.

“What he had our theater groups focus on was not only our craft, but our community. I got into the focus on service really young.”

Brynn thought Augsburg sounded like the best college from Ert’s depiction. In fact, when applying for college, she only applied to Augsburg.

“I followed in the footsteps of my favorite teacher,” says Brynn. “I was really motivated to go to a place where I could learn and also make an impact on my community.”

At Augsburg, Brynn was involved in campus life as a resident advisor, a cheerleader, and as part of ODK, a national organization that recognized students with responsible leadership and service in campus life skills. And it was in her math class that she developed a love for problem solving. Dr. Lawrence Copes, Chair of Math Computer Science, challenged Brynn and her classmates to think differently about math.

“He opened our minds to what math is, he called it a beautiful language and problem solving language.”

Brynn credits Dr. Copes’ coaching and mentorship for steering her into the aerospace industry. When she thought about what to do with her mathematics degree, she thought about solving hard problems. And the industry growing at the time of her graduation—the industry that presented all the hard problems—was the aerospace industry.

Leadership Through Mentorship

Brynn graduated from Augsburg, then went on to earn her master’s degree in applied mathematics from the University of California at Riverside. After a few years at Aerojet Electronic Systems, she attended a job fair where she met a female executive, Amy Flanagan, who was focused on recruiting women to Lockheed Martin. Brynn was so impressed with Amy that she decided she wanted to work for her.

“I honed my focus on service at Augsburg, but when I met Amy, I was introduced to her passion and I wanted to work for her and work for the place she was committed to.”

At Lockheed Martin, Brynn has held a variety of positions, including vice president of Navigation Systems Operations and deputy for the Global Positioning System (GPS) III program for Lockheed Martin Space.

“I have a lot of great memories and experiences of

developing products, launching satellites, those are awesome and amazing things that are doing wonderful things for our country and our world.”

When asked what she is most proud of in the time since graduating from Augsburg, Brynn says raising her daughter to be an amazing young woman. Brynn is also proud of her work mentoring others, especially women.

Augsburg prepared her to go out into the world and make an impact, and Brynn sees this impact in her daughter, in her daughter’s friends, and in others she’s mentored over the years.

“It’s visiting classrooms, it’s one kid that got a spark from that visit. That’s amazing to be able to create those sparks that can solve the next big challenge for the world.”

Brynn has mentored several women in her career, including college students who now work at Lockheed Martin. She is also on the Executive Steering Council for Lockheed Martin’s Women’s Impact Network, and is co-chairing this year’s virtual women’s leadership forum.

“As much as I believe we are making a lot of progress in our quest to improve the diversity metrics—particularly the female to male ratios—there’s a lot of work to do. I always make sure that people surround themselves with mentors and sponsors and champions. You are creating a network of support so as you need to make difficult decisions—whether it’s technical decisions within your day job or it is advice on how to find that next opportunity—you’ve got that support network.”

Brynn’s daily work doesn’t include typing code or doing math problems on the white board like she used to, but she believes her work is still about solving problems and making sure the barriers her teams might be facing are addressed.

“Sometimes you think you have to do it all on your own and that’s never the case. I got to where I am because of mentors and teachers and my parents, all those people are the shoulders that I stood on to get to where I’m at.”

Augsburg Women Engaged Sponsors a Campus Cupboard Drive

With no safe housing alternatives for many Augsburg students during COVID-19, they remain on campus this summer. It’s also anticipated that many students will have similar issues in the fall as they return to school. Currently, many nearby stores are temporarily closed and transportation outside of the area isn’t always reliable. As a result, Augsburg Women Engaged (AWE) is sponsoring a drive for the Campus Cupboard and ShareShop to support these students now as well as in the future.

Items can be dropped off June 25 from 3 to 6 p.m., in Lot D at Augsburg. You can also make an online donation which Augsburg will use to purchase small appliances, household items, tools, food in bulk, and gift cards to local businesses such as Seward Coop so our students can be supported with the goods and services they need. Please use the designation: Other and in the “Other” field, enter Campus Cupboard.

A recommended list of items to donate is below.

Campus Cupboard Donation List:

Non-perishable food such as

  • Mac & cheese
  • Ramen
  • Canned tuna/chicken
  • Canned soup (Preferred: more complex soups, i.e., not ‘cream of’ or tomato )
  • Rice
  • Protein supplements (chia, flax, veg protein, whey)
  • High quality granola bars
  • Canned beans

Hygiene and cleaning supplies such as

  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Menstrual products
  • Shampoo/ Conditioner
  • Band-Aids
  • Laundry Detergent (Preferred brands: Seventh Generation, Meyers, Method, Biokleen)
  • Dish Soap (Preferred brands: Seventh Generation, Ecover, Method, Dr Bronner’s)

ShareShop Donation List:

  • Empty spray bottles for homemade non-toxic cleaning solutions
  • Tea Kettles/water heaters
  • Sewing machine – Fully functional, up to 2 machines total – we will turn away donations if necessary
  • Power strips
  • School supplies (bulk packages are welcome):
    • Notebooks (look for recycled paper and companies with sustainability/ethical/fair trade commitments if possible)
    • Folders
    • Pens
    • Pencils
    • Highlighters
  • Scissors
  • Baking sheets
    • Multiple sizes, including smaller sizes
    • Prefer naturally non-stick like Nordic Ware® brand rather than Teflon™-coated
  • New Twin XL bedding
  • Reusable water bottles – durable and clean (can be used)
  • Thermos (portable coffee containers) – durable and clean (can be used)
  • Small fans for dorm rooms

Thank you for considering a donation!

AWE

Auggies Take Action: Urge Congress to continue support for college students and higher ed institutions

In March, more than 200 Auggies spoke up with their members of Congress on behalf of college students and institutions across the nation. Congress made an important first step at that time, passing the CARES Act legislation that provided critical funding for college students and their institutions, but more federal support for higher education is needed.

The national associations that represent higher education, including the National Association for Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU), have a new request for Congress as the body considers further action to support those most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

NAICU and the Minnesota Private College Council have asked us to encourage individuals who are concerned about our students and institutions to reach out to your elected officials. Please consider making your voice heard with your representatives. Many of our faculty and staff have already written on behalf of our institution, as it’s especially powerful for members to also hear from their constituents individually.

You can find out more and take action here:

https://secure.everyaction.com/rJ227g0BL0CxxE212Sk2Gw2

A Sweetheart of a Sale – February 11 and 12

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, join the Augsburg Associates for a “Sweetheart of a Sale” on February 11th and 12th from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Christensen Center. With vintage jewelry, Valentine-themed gifts, and more it will be a great opportunity to pick out unique and special treats for Valentine’s Day! Love is in the air… see you there!

Auggies, Together We can Give to the Max

link to give to the max day videoGive to the Max Day is set for November 14, but this year there will be 14 days of giving starting on November 1.

In 2019, Augsburg marks 150 years since its founding. Our sesquicentennial is a year-long opportunity to reflect on our past and present – to honor our leaders and legacies, and also to discover our roots. This Give to the Max Day (November 1 – November 14), we have a special goal, engaging 1,869 donors throughout all of our projects, to celebrate Augsburg’s founding in 1869.

Give to the Max!

See all 38 campus fundraising projects for Give to the Max Day below. From athletics to academics to campus and community programs, there’s an Augsburg University Give to the Max Day project for you!

  1. A-Club – Athletic Facilities led by Jeff Swenson ’79
  2. Augsburg Associates Endowed Scholarship led by Jessica Wahto ’98
  3. Augsburg Historic Film Digitization led by Bruce Nelson ’71
  4. Augsburg Women Engaged Endowed Scholarship led by Lisa Zeller ’81 (and ’89)
  5. Baseball led by Nick Rathmann ’03
  6. Biology Student Scholarship led by Lisa Raetz
  7. Campus Kitchen Program led by Natalie Jacobson
  8. Center for Global Education and Experience led by LaJune Lange ’75
  9. Chemistry Student Scholarship led by Michael Wentzel
  10. Cross Country led by Meghan Peyton
  11. Echo led by Chris Dykstra ’85
  12. English Speaker and Event Fund led by Doug Green
  13. Golf led by Eric Rolland
  14. Health Commons led by Katie Clark
  15. Lacrosse led by Delaney Everett ’18
  16. Latinx Student Services led by Ruby Murillo
  17. Mary Wilson Flute Scholarship led by Merilee Klemp
  18. Masters of Arts in Leadership led by Alan Tuchtenhagen
  19. Men’s Basketball led by Aaron Griess
  20. Men’s Hockey led by Mario Mjelleli
  21. Men’s Soccer led by Darcy Debbing ’77
  22. MFA – Howling Bird Press led by Amanda Symes ’09 (and ’16)
  23. Music Therapy led by Annie Heiderscheit
  24. Pan-Asian Spring Trip led by Mai Xee Vang
  25. Physics led by Ben Stottrup
  26. Religion Department led by Mike Matson ’06
  27. Sesquicentennial Endowed Scholarship led by Brandon Williams ’19
  28. Softball led by Melissa Lee ’04
  29. StepUP Program led by Toby Piper LaBelle ’96
  30. Strommen Center led by Lee George
  31. Undergraduate Research and Graduate Opportunities (URGO) Program led by Dean Sundquist ’81
  32. Undocumented Student Support led by Paul ’63 and LaVonne ’63 Batalden
  33. Urban Debate League Program led by Meg Luger-Nikolai
  34. Volleyball led by Jane Becker
  35. Women’s Basketball led by Aaron Griess
  36. Women’s Hockey led by Ashley Holmes
  37. Women’s Soccer led by Ashley Waalen ’17
  38. Wrestling led by Nick Slack ’02

Celebrate 2019 Augsburg Graduates with the Tassel Challenge

tassel challenge videoAs we celebrate the completion of this academic year and honor the newest class of Auggie graduates, Augsburg is promoting the Tassel Challenge fundraising campaign.

This online giving event supports future Auggies with all proceeds benefiting the Sesquicentennial Scholarship Fund, an endowed scholarship fund at Augsburg.

A donation today in any amount is an investment for Auggie generations to come. Over 200 donors have already contributed more than $110,000 to the Sesquicentennial Scholarship.

The Tassel Challenge is a great way to recognize your favorite graduating Auggie, give back to Augsburg, and help ensure an Augsburg education is accessible to all.

Honor a student special to you and we will make sure they know they were recognized, and send you and the student an Augsburg tassel keychain as a token of our gratitude.

More information can be found and donations made on the Tassel Challenge Donation page. The Tassel Challenge will run from today through May 19. If you have any questions please contact bogen@augsburg.edu.

Augsburg Hosts Auction of Presidential Dinnerware to Benefit the Sesquicentennial Scholarship

Augsburg A dinnerware setEnjoy a piece of Augsburg history in your home! Institutional Advancement is hosting an auction for classic Augsburg A presidential dinnerware sets on eBay. All proceeds from this charity auction will go to the Sesquicentennial Scholarship. This scholarship will help eliminate financial barriers and launch the next generation of leaders at Augsburg.

This elegant china was once used for dinner parties and events hosted by the president at the Augsburg House – it has since been retired due to our name-change and rebranding, which changed the look of the “A” icon that appears on most of the dinnerware. Each item has been professionally packaged and can be shipped or picked up from campus once the auction ends at midnight on March 1.

Please contact Hannah Walsh if you have any questions at walsh@augsburg.edu or 612-330-1098.

Volunteers Needed for Advent Vespers

Vespers concertJoining us at Advent Vespers this year?

We are looking for as many as 20 volunteers for each Vespers service to help usher and work at the will-call table. Central Lutheran Church has recently added a beautiful addition to their building and there is a need for extra hands this year to help direct attendees.

Vespers services will be held:

Thursday, November 29 at 8 p.m. (Dress Rehearsal)
Friday, November 30 at 5 & 8 p.m.
Saturday, December 1 at 2 & 5 p.m.

Volunteers should plan to arrive at Central Lutheran Church in downtown Minneapolis (333 S. 12th St.) 60-90 minutes prior to each service. The service lasts approximately 90 minutes.

Please contact Kia Burton (burton@augsburg.edu, 612-330-1329) if you are able to volunteer.

About Augsburg’s Advent Vespers:

For more than three decades, Augsburg University has ushered in the Advent and Christmas seasons with Advent Vespers, a magnificent experience of music and liturgy, focusing on the theme of preparation and culminating in the joyful celebration of the Incarnation. Advent Vespers is set in downtown Minneapolis in the majestic sanctuary of Central Lutheran Church, soaring 65 feet high with large stained-glass windows.

Meet Distinguished Alumni Award Winner David J. Melby ‘68

David Melby '68David J. Melby ’68, Ph.D., is a psychologist, executive leader, professional volunteer, and advocate who embodies faithful service in true Augsburg University form.  Melby attended Augsburg, graduating in 1968 with a Bachelor of Arts in psychology and philosophy. Following his graduation, Melby attended graduate school in counseling psychology at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale, receiving both MA and Ph.D. degrees.

Melby’s career centered around providing and promoting the development of outpatient community mental health, substance abuse, and developmental disabilities services for people of all ages, as well as adult residential services. In 1974, he joined Mental Health Services of Franklin and Williamson Counties, Inc. (now known as Centerstone of Illinois) as a clinical psychologist. His role expanded the following year to include that of division director of mental health services; he served as CEO of that agency from 1996 until his retirement in 2006. Prior to his retirement, Melby served six years on the board and one year as president of the Illinois Association of Community Mental Health Agencies.

One of Melby’s nominators says, “His professional leadership in community mental health has made the lives of many who struggle with these issues brighter and more hopeful because of his nearly 50 years of service. David brings a selfless approach to volunteerism that inspires and supports those in our community’s efforts to improve the quality of life in the communities we serve.”

For almost two decades, David has served as a volunteer for the American Heart Association (AHA).  He twice served as chairperson of the Southern Illinois Heart Walk and once of a Southern Illinois Heart Gala, raising awareness regarding heart-healthy lifestyles and fundraising for heart research, education and life-saving equipment, such as Automated External Defibrillators in public places. He currently serves as a member of the Illinois Advocacy Committee of the AHA, advocating for a heart-healthy state and federal legislation.

Throughout his career, Melby has been influenced by his father’s ministry and involvement in clinical pastoral counseling and the death of his infant brother, who was born with a heart defect and Down Syndrome. He was also motivated by the growing needs of his parents in their last years. He has consistently demonstrated his concern for people marginalized in society, often the poorest, sickest, and most stigmatized among us.

In retirement, David has become more involved in the work of not-for-profit and governmental agencies whose missions he supports. They include multiple terms on the Williamson County Housing Authority Board of Commissioners, including as chairperson, and on the River to River Residential Communities Board, providing independent living, assisted living, supported living, and memory care services for seniors in multiple communities across southern Illinois. He has served since 2012 on the Board of Directors of Centerstone of Illinois, one of five Centerstone state service entities that, collectively, comprise one of the largest and most influential not-for-profit behavioral healthcare enterprises in the nation. Since 2014, David has also served as a board member and, now, current board chair of the Centerstone Research Institute (CRI), based in Nashville. CRI is currently developing evidence-based best practices for addressing the national opioid crisis, developing its first Center of Excellence for the treatment of depression, and reducing the “science-to-service cycle” in the treatment of behavioral health disorders.

Melby exemplifies servant leadership and the Augsburg value of being educated to serve.  For decades, he has served his church community in many capacities, including as president of the church council for over 10 years, co-chair of the building committee during construction of a new sanctuary, and delegate to the 2013 ELCA churchwide assembly. Whether through his contributions to the field of behavioral health care or his volunteerism, David has worked tirelessly to serve his community and embodies the values we work to instill in Auggies. In his life as a thoughtful steward and responsible leader, he has used his skills and gifts to impact communities and create healthier, more fulfilling lives for all.

Meet Spirit of Augsburg Award Winner Grace Kemmer Sulerud ’58

Grace Kemmer Sulerud '58Grace Kemmer Sulerud ’58 has displayed faithful service to Augsburg University across her time as a graduate, librarian, faculty member, and alumna. She personifies Augsburg’s deep sense of calling to humbly serve others in a variety of ways, with joyful dedication.

As a dedicated volunteer, her nominators say, “You will find her wherever an extra hand is needed.”

Determined to gain a full education, Sulerud worked and saved money to go from her hometown, Williston, North Dakota, to Augsburg, as it was the college of the Lutheran Free Church. Sulerud’s Augsburg education and excellent professors prompted her to experience life in the Twin Cities, exploring the state capitol and fine arts like symphony concerts and plays. She made lifelong friends and enjoyed being on the staff of the student newspaper, The Echo.

After graduating from Augsburg in 1958, she was an elementary librarian and junior high English teacher in Grand Rapids, Minnesota. From 1961 to 1964, she was an elementary librarian in U.S. Air Force Department of Defense Schools in Tokyo, Japan; Tripoli, Libya; and Wiesbaden, Germany. This gave her an opportunity to travel around the world with a stop in India to visit a friend, Maxine Berntsen, another distinguished alumna of Augsburg. After returning to the United States, Sulerud studied for a master’s degree in Library Science (1968) and later received a master’s degree in English (1970), each from the University of Minnesota.

During her many years as Augsburg’s Collection Development Librarian and faculty member, she was committed to the learning of students. She served two terms as the treasurer of Augsburg Associates, from 2003 to 2007 and 2011 to 2017, ensuring they raised funds for Augsburg student scholarships. Her interests and energy lead her to participate in travels to Cuba with the Delegation For Friendship Among Women, and to Ethiopia supporting the efforts of REAL, Resources for the Enrichment of African Lives, an organization that helps girls stay in school.

In Minneapolis, Sulerud is a member of Trinity Lutheran Congregation located on Riverside Avenue, a congregation associated with the founding of Augsburg, where she sings in the choir, leads the monthly quilter’s work session and has participated in activities with Metropolitan Interfaith Council on Affordable Housing.

With her late husband Ralph, long-time Augsburg biology professor, Sulerud has remained a supporter and enthusiast for all things Augsburg. Though she retired from Augsburg in 2003, she continues to stay involved at important university events: the recent grand opening of the Hagfors Center for Science, Business, and Religion; Homecoming festivities; Velkommen Jul; and Advent Vespers.

Sulerud lives out the Spirit of Augsburg Award and exemplifies Augsburg’s historic mottos consistently: “Education for Service” and “The Truth Shall Make You Free.” Her loyalty, dependability, and generosity enable Augsburg to carry forward with hearty conviction, intellectual rigor, and relational connectedness.