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No Time Limit on Returning to College

Headshot of Kevin FjelstedKevin Fjelsted ’18, MBA ’20 is one of many Augsburg students who graduated during the pandemic. However, Kevin’s higher education story has a unique beginning. While most of Augsburg’s recent graduates started their higher education in the last four or five years, Kevin started in 1973.

Kevin graduated from high school in the 70’s and as he thought about college, he wasn’t particular about where he would go. He admits he wasn’t heavily involved in picking Augsburg.

“My grandparents wanted me to go to Augsburg. They told me to look at Augsburg and I said ‘fine,’” says Kevin.

He started at Augsburg in 1973 and took a few classes during the fall and January interim semesters. But Augsburg didn’t have what Kevin was looking for at the time, so he transferred to the University of Minnesota in 1974 where he also worked at the U of M’s Computer Center.

Shortly after, Kevin began working full-time as an operating systems programmer at Lawrence Berkeley National Labs. Over the next fifteen years, he worked for a few companies – including IDS Financial Services, McGraw-Hill, and American Express – before going out on his own as a systems consulting and programming service provider. He took computer science courses here and there, but never focused on a degree because he was working full time.

In 2010, Kevin decided to go back to school and finish his degree in computer science.

“My default was to go back to the U of M,” says Kevin. “But there were two problems. One, the lecture size. There were over 100 people in my computer science classes. And two, I needed accessibility. I needed books in braille and although the U of M has a large disability resource center employee count wise, they didn’t have the experience accommodating a blind person.”

Kevin knew Kathy McGillivray from the National Federation of the Blind, and knew she was the director in Augsburg’s CLASS Office.

“We talked about smaller classes that were actually taught by the professors, unlike the U of M having Teaching Assistants do a lot of the teaching. Kathy knew what I needed for accommodations as well. She was an ally in the whole process. We worked together through accessibility for both my computer science undergraduate degree and the MBA program. Once we got that solved, it was great!”

Kevin completed his undergraduate computer science degree in 2018 and immediately started in Augsburg’s Master of Business Administration program, graduating in the winter of 2020.

Now he is working with a business colleague on building a couple company’s telecommunications space and Voice over Internet Protocol and Omnichannel call center solutions. Kevin is also excited about starting an A.I. venture in the near future.

Despite the process taking almost 50 years from start to graduation, Kevin is thankful for his time at Augsburg. He’s particularly thankful for the professors he studied with.

“I didn’t have a single negative experience with a professor at Augsburg, even going back to the 70’s. I had a great calculus professor and psychology professors. George Dierberger, the MBA director, has pulled in great adjunct professors who are the best in the industry. You can respect and trust the information from the professor because they have the knowledge and industry experience.”

When asked why others should consider a degree in computer science at Augsburg versus another university, Kevin pointed out that Augsburg uses the same program as the U of M for their undergraduate computer science program.

“They use the same textbooks, the same curriculum. At the U of M, you have 100 plus people in a class, but shrink that down to 25 people at the high end at Augsburg, and that is a significant difference. Yes, Augsburg has teaching assistants and tutors like the U of M, but they don’t have the same concept where the professor pushes all the work onto the teaching assistant. At Augsburg you have direct interface and direct communication with the professors.”

MBA Alumni Networking Event is Oct. 25

 

Are you an MBA grad or current student?

The Augsburg Alumni Board and MBA program invite you back to campus for a FREE networking event on Tuesday, October 25, in the Foss Center Atrium, beginning at 5 p.m. Mingle with fellow alumni and hear the latest in alumni opportunities supporting professional development. We share a common bond and we have a chance to influence successful outcomes for the College and fellow Auggies!

Event Details
Date: Tuesday, October 25, 2016
Time: 5-7 p.m.
Location: Foss Center Atrium, near Hoversten Chapel
Cost: Free!

If you have additional questions, please contact Kathy Fagen, Academic Coordinator, at 612-330-1774 or fagen@augsburg.edu. I look forward to seeing you on October 25th!

—Josh Krob ’08, ’15 MBA
Augsburg College Alumni Board

Celebrating Community with St. Paul

Rosanne-Bump-w-VulcansIf you were planning a pull-out-all-the-stops, 10-day, outdoor party in January for thousands of your friends, where would you hold it? The Caribbean? Arizona? Of course not! You’d plan it in St. Paul, Minnesota! And you’d call it the St. Paul Winter Carnival.

Rosanne2Planning events like the St. Paul Winter Carnival is what Rosanne Newville Bump ’92 does for a living as President and CEO of the Saint Paul Festival & Heritage Foundation—with support from the community, of course—and from plenty of volunteers, who work tirelessly behind the scenes. Honored to be part of the festival’s history, Bump loves brainstorming regularly about what “fun factors” to add to the next year’s event. For example, this year’s event included three parades, a half marathon, an ice- and snow-carving competition, the country’s largest jigsaw puzzle competition, and an outdoors Birthday Bash in Rice Park to celebrate the festival’s 130th birthday. As part of the fun, Bump partnered with Kemps Ice Cream to provide Birthday Cake Ice Cream samples for all attending. In addition, this year’s festival included a performance, also in Rice Park, by roots-rock band GB Leighton. Standing outdoors on a lovely winter evening with 1000+ others, singing along with the performers, near the ice castle and sparkling trees (all lit), was “magical,” says Bump.

StPaul Winter CarnivalBump has learned that, each year, about 20% of the carnival plans are unlikely to go as planned, primarily because of unpredictable weather, so she and her colleagues need to figure it out as they go, making for “some adrenaline-filled days.” Unusually warm weather leading up to this year’s event meant that, in order to build the ice palace (this year, a mini version), ice had to be purchased, instead of harvested from local Lake Phalen. Even so, the palace still included the king’s chair, a light show, and TV monitors. Continue reading “Celebrating Community with St. Paul”

Finding Home All Over the World

Sima cropWubitu Ayana Sima ’89, ’15 MBA might never have predicted she would end up as the proprietor of a classic British tea room, but she never expected to spend more than a decade in Geneva, Switzerland, working abroad for the United Nations and the World Health Organization either.

At 54, the dual-degreed Auggie has always been a woman who likes a challenge. She’s happy when she’s busy, and as the owner of Lady Elegant’s Tea Shoppe in the leafy St. Anthony Park neighborhood of St. Paul, and a part-time MBA student at Augsburg, the mother of three is already thinking about her next adventure.

Serving Tranquility
Lady Elegant’s, which she purchased from the previous owner, is actually two businesses—a tea shop and a tranquil tea room that is perfect for conversation and popular for groups of all sizes by appointment. Ayana Sima does the baking for the formal teas, including croissants and scones with clotted cream. The adjoining tea shop sells more than 80 varieties of tea. Her husband, Admasu Simeso, helps manage the restaurant, from the paperwork to the online shop.

She manages four part-time employees, and everyone works Saturdays, because it is their busiest time.

Each place in the tea room is set with a distinct tea cup. She’s collected cups from all over—they come from the United Kingdom, China, and Japan—and washes each one by hand. They break easily, she warns, especially in the transition from a group service in the morning to a group in the afternoon.

“I’m a coffee drinker,” she confesses. Growing up in Ethiopia, she would pick coffee out of the backyard at her mother’s house and they’d roast it themselves. She learned to enjoy tea while working in Switzerland, and has grown to know the delicate chemistry of time, tea leaves, and temperature of boiling water.
Continue reading “Finding Home All Over the World”

Target – Augsburg Partnership Grant Extended for Summer and Fall Terms 2015

Dear Auggies,

Like the rest of our community here in the Twin Cities, Augsburg College and the Alumni Association were saddened to see this week’s devastating announcement about layoffs at Target corporate headquarters. News like this is especially painful when we know that Auggies were affected.

Regardless of your employment status, your alma mater is here to support you through education, mentorship, Auggie connections, and campus events. If you’re looking to further your education, Augsburg Admissions has put together a comprehensive package to support your next steps.

Augsburg College would like to extend its Partnership Grant program discounts to those affected by the recent workforce reduction at Target.

The Partnership discount of $50 per undergraduate credit and $80 per graduate credit will continue to apply to all previous Target employees if they newly enroll in an adult undergraduate or graduate program at Augsburg College in the summer or fall 2015 term.

Additionally, Augsburg has created a new alumni discount of $50 per undergraduate credit and $80 per graduate credit. To receive the alumni discount, a student must have earned a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctorate degree from Augsburg College. Alumni who newly enroll in further studies at Augsburg College will be able to receive this discount. The discount does not apply to CEU credits or workshops.

For maximum affordability, the alumni discount is stackable with one other discount! The alumni discount can be stacked with the military discount, the AmeriCorps/Lutheran Corps discount, or the Augsburg Partnership Grant.

For example, if you are an Augsburg alumna or alumnus that has been newly admitted into a graduate program and your Target Augsburg Partnership Grant program has been extended for the summer and fall terms, your two discounts may be stacked. Alumni Discount $80/credit + Partnership Grant Discount $80/credit = Total Discount $160/ credit. Continue reading “Target – Augsburg Partnership Grant Extended for Summer and Fall Terms 2015”

President Pribbenow Honors 3M CFO Nick Gangestad ’86 with Inaugural Golden Bow Tie

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Last week, more than 50 Auggies gathered for lunch at the 3M campus in Maplewood. Despite sharing the same employer, some who had known each other had not made the connection of sharing an alma mater! President Pribbenow shared anecdotes from Augsburg’s history with 3M. During the 1970s, Augsburg’s business program hosted courses at 3M, and many Auggie alumni from this era are still employed there. Currently, more than 200 Augsburg alumni work for 3M.

Bow TieHolly Knutson ’03, MBA ’07, Auggie extraordinaire and member of the 3M finance department, worked with the Alumni Association to honor Nick Gangestad ’86 for his recent promotion as CFO. Pribbenow presented Gangestad with the inaugural Golden Bow Tie award:

The Golden Bow Tie Award is bestowed upon a leader within the Augsburg Community who exemplifies outstanding achievement, embodies the core values of an Augsburg education and inspires great pride for all Auggies. Nick was also presented with a certificate and gold cufflinks in the shape of bow ties.

Nick Gangestad shared three core Augsburg philosophies at Augsburg that have impacted his life: faith, liberal arts, and a unique urban setting. As a student, Gangestad’s faith deepened, and he felt supported in that growth by Augsburg’s core Lutheran values. Liberal arts, the importance of entrepreneurship, and flexibility are also important to him. He attributes his liberal arts education to his ability to lead effectively at 3M. Coming from a small town in Iowa he had a distinct appreciation of Augsburg’s location in the city of Minneapolis.

The Augsburg Alumni Association can help you host your own workplace Augsburg Alumni event like this luncheon at 3M. To gather a group of Auggies at your workplace, please contact Amanda Scherer, assistant director of corporate and foundation relations at 612-330-1720 or scherera@augsburg.edu.