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Public Leader Scholars Program Applications Open!

Headshots of all 9 Christensen Scholars in small circles with text "Christensen Scholars 2022-23" on top left.Our Christensen Scholars initiative is part of the Public Leader Scholars programs which offer students a unique opportunity to explore how their worldview/faith(s) shapes them as leaders, as well as build their leadership skills.

There are two Public Leader Scholars opportunities being offered this coming academic year: Christensen Scholars and Interfaith Scholars that students can apply for!

Christensen Scholars BENEFITS:

  • Unique opportunities to explore Christian theology & vocation more deeply as a cohort
  • Earn upper division credit (4 credits) in religion
  • Seminar setting that is small and supportive
  • $2,000 scholarship, $1,500 stipend
  • Opportunities to develop skills related to theological reflection & vocational discernment

Interfaith Scholars BENEFITS:

  • Unique opportunities to explore interfaith study and learn about diverse religious/spiritual/worldview identities as a cohort
  • Earn upper division credit (4 credits) in religion
  • Seminar setting that is small and supportive
  • $2,000 scholarship
  • Opportunities to formally develop interfaith leadership skills

If you will be a sophomore, junior, or senior in 2023-2024 you are eligible to apply.

Application are due: FRIDAY FEBRUARY 17TH

If you have questions about the Christensen Scholars program, email Jeremy:

If you have questions about the Interfaith Scholars program, email Jane:

Christensen Scholars 2022-23

Headshots of all 9 Christensen Scholars in small circles with text "Christensen Scholars 2022-23" on top left.

Introducing our 2022-23 Christensen Scholars!

Please check out the students’ bios below to learn more about their hopes for this world and their place in it.

Up to ten students are selected each academic year to participate in the Christensen Scholars Seminar. This program provides a unique opportunity for students to discuss and explore theology, faith, and vocation in a small, supportive cohort. Each Christensen Scholars is also connected with a community-based learning experience designed to enhance this seminar experience. You can learn more about our Christensen Scholars program here. Continue reading “Christensen Scholars 2022-23”

2021-2022 Christensen Scholars

Today we are celebrating the 2021-2022 cohort of Christensen Scholars who are wrapping up their year together. Up to ten students are selected each academic year to participate in the Christensen Scholars Seminar. This program provides a unique opportunity for students to discuss and explore theology, faith, and vocation in a small, supportive cohort. Each Christensen Scholars is also connected with a community-based learning experience designed to enhance this seminar experience. You can learn more about our Christensen Scholars program here

Headshot of Renee Christensen outside in front of a tree with pick flowers

Renee Christensen ‘23 

Major: Theology and Public Leadership, Minor: Psychology

Hometown: Shafer, MN.


I joined Christensen Scholars because I was drawn to the common interest with those who want to talk about theology and embrace the questions and the “tough stuff” that comes along with theology. Throughout my time as a Christensen Scholar, I have learned SO much about my own faith and from the other participants. I am so glad that I decided to be a part of this great program. 


Headshot of Ed Loubaki standing in front of a red background turned to the side and smiling Ed F. Loubaki ‘23 

Major: Biology, Minor: Religion 

Hometown: New Hope, MN.


I joined the Christensen Scholars program out of the belief that I was going to come out being more community-oriented and to know more about what others’ values are in their walk with God. While that was accomplished, I also learned more about my faith and vocation in a world that is ever-changing. Through Christensen scholars, I learned the values of taking care and loving of our neighbors as Christ would do. The world as we know needs so much love and community whether that is giving out hygiene kits, washing feet, taking blood pressure, or even just listening to individuals, I am proud and happiest to say that through Christensen Scholars I am able to be the change I wish to see.


Headshot of Anaiya Martin inside in the sunlight with her hand by the side of her headAnaiya Martin ‘23

 Major(s): Pre-Law concentration in Political Science

Hometown: Brooklyn Park, MN. 


I joined Christensen Scholars because I am interested in opportunities that come with learning about vocation and spirituality more in-depth. I feel learning about the evolution of religion helps me re-evaluate and grow spiritually within myself. I am grateful for the openness and expansion of free-thinking in this class both inside and outside of being present for Christen Scholars. Joining has been a beautiful way to connect with others in my community more intimately, and I feel this is molding me into the kind of person I am proud to say I am becoming. Intersectionality is critical to recognize and is respected and encouraged in each conversation I engage in, especially since becoming a Christensen Scholar. I am grateful for this opportunity, much more than I can sufficiently express. It has been an outstanding contribution to my life.

Continue reading “2021-2022 Christensen Scholars”

2020-2021 Christensen Scholars

Branwen Jorenby ’23

Major: Biology, Minor: Psychology
Hometown: Prior Lake, MN

branwen smiling in field


Being a Christensen Scholar is an amazing experience! As someone who is not religious but grew up in a Lutheran setting, participating in this program has challenged me to fully dive into questioning my own spiritual beliefs in multiple thought-provoking readings and conversations with my peers. Engaging in Augsburg Health Commons as a volunteer through this program has allowed me to see health and humanity in a new light that I will bring into the care plans of my future patients.

Tofunmi Oteju ’21

Major: Biology
Hometown: Lagos, Nigeria

tofunmi smilingI have always been fascinated with Interfaith work and how our various beliefs intersect, with the sole purpose of maintaining some sort or unity between our different faith and non-faith traditions. I was able to explore my curiosity by being part of the 2019-2020 Interfaith Cohort. There I explored the religious diversity at Augsburg and the wider Twin Cities but also put on events that explore this diversity as it relates to various facets of our everyday lives (e.g. Faith and Science, Faith and Death). A revelation I had being an Interfaith Scholar, was that there is still so much work that has to be done within our various faith traditions. Currently, there is still not enough unity and understanding between different Christian denominations. Being an international student from Nigeria, I was not as exposed to the various protestant denominations till I started school at Augsburg. I was not even aware we had a wide variety of denominations within Protestantism. I was only familiar with mainly Catholicism and Pentecostalism (which I practice). Coming to a school built on the values of Lutheranism forced me to explore more denominations.
Being in the Christensen Scholars program has been a great way to cumulate my learning of the various ways of being a Christian.

Erik Garcia Gonzaga

Major: Communication Studies
Hometown: Minneapolis, MN

erik leaning against rockMy name is Erik Garcia Gonzaga, born in Morelos, Mexico and raised here in Minneapolis, Minnesota. I am a student at Augsburg University studying Communication Studies. What I want to do with that major is to be in places where I can inspire and motivate teens and young adults to follow their career and educational goals.


Continue reading “2020-2021 Christensen Scholars”

2019-20 Christensen Scholars Profiles

Group photo of 2019-20 Christensen Scholars with Professor Mark Tranvik

Learn more about this year’s Christensen Scholars

Joaquin I. Delgado-Ortiz ‘20

Hometown: Chicago, Illinois
Major: Psychology

Augsburg has shown me how to engage with my community in a way that is productive, engaging, and meaningful to its members. I choose to be a Christensen Scholar to explore my vocation through discussions revolving around academia, service, and the world.

Eh Soe Dwe ‘20

Hometown: Maplewood, Minnesota
Major: Psychology (Clinical)
Minors: Religion and Gender, Sexuality, Women’s Studies

Augsburg has challenged me to step out of my comfort zone by serving surrounding communities near Augsburg. Not only did I gain new leadership skills, but I’ve also built meaningful relationships that I can reflect on years from now. My connections with community members, students, faculty members, advisors, and staff members have taught me how to interact with people from all walks of life. Being a Christensen Scholar provides me with an opportunity to explore my faith and my vocation, two things that are constantly changing and growing.

Zoe Huebner ‘21

Hometown: Neenah, Wisconsin
Majors: Philosophy and Urban Studies
Minors: Religion and Sociology

The most important thing that I have learned at Augsburg is to put your heart into everything that you do. Not only will you get more enjoyment from the classes and activities you participate in, but so many more doors will also open to you. From doing this I have created so many connections outside of Augsburg and have surrounded myself with people with goals and aspirations that are like my own. I chose to be a Christensen Scholar because of the opportunity to discuss religious topics in a small group setting. In this setting, everyone is able to share their ideas and a true discussion can be had.

Kali Kadelbach ‘20

Hometown: Cloquet, Minnesota
Major: Theology and Public Leadership with a Concentration in Youth Studies

I’ve now been at Augsburg for three semesters and I’ve learned so much about myself, and about others.  At Augsburg, I have learned what it means to live in a community. I’ve also learned so much about different cultures and their beliefs. It also has got me thinking more about my own culture, too. I chose to become a Christensen Scholar to learn how I can help be a leader on campus and be a good role model in my community. Another reason why I chose to become a Christensen Scholar is meeting other people that are also passionate about their faith too.

Christa Kelly ‘22

Hometown: South St. Paul, MN
Major: Technical Theater Major and Directing, Dramaturgy, and Playwriting Major

I have learned a great deal about the world around us at Augsburg. Some of the most fascinating things that I have learned are about religion. Augsburg has given me insight into the religious practices and beliefs of different groups of people. Having an informed understanding of the world and the people in it helps build relationships and communities. I wanted to participate in this program to keep learning and growing both in my faith and as a person. Faith has always been a large part of my life, but as an LGBT person, it’s also been something that I’ve struggled with. It took me years to come to terms with my identity both as a Christian and a lesbian. Even now I’m bombarded with messages from the media and even family members saying that I have to choose between identifying as one or the other. This hasn’t driven me away from Christianity but has instead furthered my resolve to learn more about my religion. The Christensen Scholars Program was an opportunity for me to continue doing this.

Paul McCoyer ‘22

Hometown: Washington, DC
Major: Music Performance (B.M.)

Augsburg has taught me to be a more independent and critical thinker. I chose to be a Christensen Scholar because I wanted to discuss social and ethical issues while expanding my understanding of the world through the lens of faith and vocation.

Michael Olderr ‘20

Hometown: Honolulu Hawai’i
Majors: Computer Science and Film Production
Minor: Religion

At Augsburg, I have learned to be a well-rounded scholar as well as an individual. It has been essential in my ever-changing journey to become a better person. I became a Christensen Scholar to challenge myself to not only become a better scholar but a better Christian. So that I can better serve and guide my community.

Matt Svestka ‘20

Hometown: Northfield, Minnesota
Major: Theology and Public Leadership with a concentration in Youth Studies

I have learned the importance of creating and executing ideas for change and ministry with many diverse people at Augsburg. I am a Christensen Scholar because it allows for a place of dynamic conversation regarding theology in literature, history, the arts, and really enhances the way that I perceive God in the context that Augsburg is in.

Sadie Werlein ‘20

Hometown: Cambridge, MN
Major: Social Work

I’ve learned a lot about myself and my place in this world while being at Augsburg. I chose to be a Christensen Scholar because I wanted to make some more meaningful connections on campus and having a small group of people to have serious conversations with was something I wanted to seek out.

Amanda William ‘20

Home country: Malaysia
Major: Psychology
Minor: Gender, sexuality and women’s studies

I have learned a lot throughout the years at Augsburg. I have become more aware of my values and goals as an individual, and with the experiences and skills I have developed I would like to bring that back to my community and my people back home in Malaysia. I have initially chosen to be a part of the Christensen Scholars because it was suggested by one of my closest friends. But as I was going through the application and getting more information about it, I realized that it is a great way for me to engage in my faith and spirituality and also being critical of the current issues that are going on around Christianity in a more global context.