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Introducing the 2023 – 2024 Christensen Scholars

Each year we select up to ten outstanding students to spend one year together in a high-level seminar style course exploring a theological understanding of vocation. These scholars build relationships with one another, develop theological acumen, and spend time volunteering with influential organizations in the community. The purpose of this program is to help these students reflect on how their sense of vocation has been formed and how it is forming their future aspirations. Here are some brief introductions to these amazing scholars.

Headshot of Chiara JirilloChiara Jirillo | Class of 2025 | Milan, Italy

Major: New Media Studies, Minor: Graphic Design


I first moved to Minnesota in February of 2021 to be an au pair. I took care of an infant, while living with my host family, and we created such a strong bond that I decided to come back to Minnesota as a student. I am a very devoted person when it comes to my loved ones. My deepest hopes are that compassion and understanding become the foundation of human interactions, allowing empathy and fostering unity across different cultures. My goal is to go to Switzerland for my Master’s degree and start working for the United Nation to help maintain international peace and achieve international cooperation. I love to spend time with my close friends and host family.


A blue mushroom in a forest. Theo Coval | Class of 2026| Robbinsdale, MN 

Major: Biospsychology, Minors: Religion & Creative Writing


I chose Augsburg because of its disability accommodations and small campus. It’s also very close to where I live so as a commuter that is ideal. I have an excessive amount of exotic pets, including pond fish, birds, tarantulas/inverts, snakes, and an iguana roughly four feet long. I suppose I’d like to see a world where people have higher empathy, particularly along cultural lines. I think entertainment plays a big role in how people see different identities with how they are represented and portrayed in media, for example the now-defunct Hays Code made it so that certain television programs could only depict queer characters in a negative or villainous light. As an author I try to include authentic representation of a variety of identities in my work in an attempt to normalize the inclusion of all peoples in our social narrative. One thing I love to do is write. I am constantly working on fiction projects.


Headshot of Marcia FranciosMarcia Francois | Class of 2026 | Brooklyn Park, MN

Major: Psychology, Minor: Sociology 


I came to Augsburg University because it was close to home and also because of the diverse community on campus. One thing that is unique about me is my voice. I have heard it is very unique for a female. My deepest hope for this world is that people learn to understand and accept each other’s differences. As a student leader on campus, I have taken classes such as the Emerging Leaders Program and Leadership Studies to understand better the world we live in and the people who inhabit it. One thing I love to do is pamper myself.



Headshot of Danny HoDanny Ho | Class of 2025 | St. Paul, MN

Major: Finance


I decided to attend Augsburg because I wanted to attend an smaller school with a tight community. I love how diverse Augsburg is and the fact that Augsburg is in the cities. One of my passions is Entrepreneurship. My deepest hope is for everyone to find their true calling in life. I believe one of the most important days of your life is when you find your purpose. I want to become a leader that inspires people to become the best versions of themselves. I love to sing.


Headshot of Cynthia FaberCynthia Faber | Class of 2024 | Galena, MD

Majors: Psychology and Law, Religion


I grew up in a rural area and I knew when applying to college that I wanted to move to a city to gain new experiences, but I also still wanted to go to a small school so I could form strong relationships with my peers and professors. After talking with the advisors and students at Augsburg I knew that Augsburg was going to be the best fit for me. One thing that I love about myself is that I try to find the positive in every situation. I hope that in the future people won’t have to choose between paying their bills and being fed. I aim to provide accessible and comprehensive information, guidance, and support to empower individuals and communities to make informed decisions, advocate for social change, and contribute to a world where basic needs are met for all, regardless of financial constraints. Additionally, I aspire to promote understanding, empathy, and cooperation among people of diverse backgrounds to foster a more compassionate and equitable global society. In my free time I like to spend time in nature.


Headshot of Hamartii HailuHamartii Hailu | Class of 2024 | Minneapolis, MN

Major: Biology, Minor: Psychology


Augsburg was my first choice since it is so close to home, has a small campus, and was the university that offered me the best financial aid package. I decided to attend another university under the impression that a distance away from home was the best for me. It didn’t take long to know that Augsburg was the place for me. I only stayed a semester at that university before transferring to Augsburg. The people who are closest to me would say what makes me unique is my ability to empathize and understand others. I’m the oldest child of immigrant parents which I feel plays a large part in who I am. My deepest hope for the world we live in is to spread lots of love, positivity, support, and encouragement to our neighbors through every encounter we have. You never know what someone is going through, and that small genuine encounter can make someone’s day shine. I will continue to spread love and support. I hope that I can play a larger role in helping that become a reality but taking it into my career as a pediatrician or psychiatrist. I love to be around my family and friends, enjoy the outdoors, and watch documentaries or thriller movies.


Headshot of Natty WoldeyesNatty Woldeyes | Class of 2024 | Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Majors: Music Business, Computer Science


I ended up at Augsburg because it was a small size school in-town with great academia, world class music faculty, and great degree programs. I love the fact that I enjoy art and music, and it gives me satisfaction. My deepest hope for the world is a future where the people have compassion and empathy for each other. I want to bring harmony and inspiration to people of our world through art and music. In my free time, I love to go out to any music shows.



Headshot of Elisa Pagan

Elisa Pagan | Class of 2024 | Italy

Major: International Relations, Minor: International Business


After high school, I wanted to leave Italy and study abroad. After living a year in Atlanta, I decided that the U.S. was where I wanted to continue my education. I applied to different universities, and Augsburg seemed like an amazing opportunity for this journey. I love the resilience and determination I bring to every aspect of my life. I hope to see more women occupying influential positions and leadership in the upcoming years, be it in the geopolitical, socio-economic, or personal lives. I would like to work with international organizations and NGOs, to provide humanitarian aid and diplomatic solutions. I really love hiking and watching TV shows.