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Alumni Spotlight: Shevon Greene

We connected with Shevon Greene, a Communication Studies, Film, and New Media department alum. Shevon graduated in 2021 with a degree in Communication Studies. She has answered several questions letting us know about her experience at Augsburg and what she is doing now.

Shevon Greene
Photo of Shevon Greene

Tell us a bit about yourself.  

“I was born and raised in Minneapolis and have lived in the metro area for most of my life. I still reside in Minneapolis on the outskirts of downtown. I love the creative side of communications, advertising and content creation, I have a passion for DEI  [Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion] and a fun fact about me is that I adopted a hedgehog a couple years ago.”

What are you doing now?  

“After being a college intern with Xcel Energy for 3 years within HR and Communications departments, I was offered a job as a Brand Assistant in the Ad & Brand department. My job is essentially being a brand champion, which means being an expert in the brand standards and guidelines and encouraging that within the company, ensuring that all communications and ads are up to brand standard, and I also assist in content creation and writing for various ads on behalf of Xcel Energy.” 

How are you using what you studied in the Department of Communication Studies, Film, and New Media Studies in your current job? What helped prepare you for your current job?

“Two classes that instantly come to mind are Interpersonal Communication and Intercultural Communication. I remember learning about Interpersonal Communication, specifically about different cues in both verbal and nonverbal communication, and seeing that in the workplace now has been insightful. Intercultural Communication was also a great class to take, especially for the workplace when you are communicating and collaborating with different people who have their own ways of communication based on how they were raised or what their customs are. “

What advice do you have for current students majoring in Communication Studies, Film, and/or New Media Studies?

“Enjoy the classes while you still have them because I miss them a lot and I’m grateful that I learned so much from them. Also, don’t feel pressured to know exactly what you want to do with your career right away. Just live in the moment and take in the learning experiences.” 

Are there any projects you’re currently working on that you’d like to share with us?

“Currently I am helping lead on the steering committee of Xcel Energy’s first Asian American Pacific Islander Business Resource Group as the Communications & Branding Director.” 

Throwback Thursday

A Periodic Tale of Departmental Lore (Part 12)

Written by David Lapakko 

In the end, it’s all about people

Most of the previous installments of this feature have dealt with buildings and policies and technology, but for this final look in the rearview mirror, I’d like to focus on people–specifically, students who were unique and memorable.  There have been many of them, and there’s not enough space to tell enough such stories.  For now, a few examples will have to suffice.


My former students include: an advisee who started at Augsburg as a male and graduated as a female, a recent graduate who has had more than 140 brain surgeries, a StepUp student from the east coast whose father is a well-known actor (he came to Augsburg because there were so few such programs anywhere in the nation), and a student in a wheelchair whose family was from Russia–her Russian grandmother came to the commencement ceremony in tears, telling me that in her home country, something like that would not happen for someone with such a disability.  I also had a student who struggled mightily to finish her degree–in the end, she wound up taking the equivalent of 53 courses (32 would be the norm) in order to meet all her major and degree requirements.


Another former communication major was involved in a bicycle accident during a road race.  As a consequence, he became a paraplegic.  That didn’t stop him, though–he became a world class archer in the Paralympics and a sought-after motivational speaker.


Although his major was political science, I also had a student who was affected by osteogenesis imperfecta–brittle bone disease.  He had had over 200 broken bones in his lifetime.  Because he was only about 3 feet tall and had limited use of his hands, his mother pushed his adapted wheelchair to every one of my persuasion classes–and managed to stay awake through every one of them!  I was in awe of his mom’s dedication and her son’s amazing array of opinions.  He wanted to be a lawyer, but he passed on in his mid-30s before he was able to realize that dream.


But perhaps the most amazing story involves one of our former majors–in this case I’ll mention his name because his story is a very public one.  Due to a birth defect, Dave Stevens did not have legs.  He was and is 3 feet, 2 inches tall.  Yet–and this always blows me away–he was on the football, wrestling, and baseball teams!  For the Auggie football team, he was an interior lineman; he managed to play on his stumps.  In 1996, he played minor league baseball for the St. Paul Saints.  He also had a football tryout with the Dallas Cowboys, and baseball tryouts with the Minnesota Twins and Cincinnati Reds.  For more about Dave, you can check:


These and many other students have been both humbling and inspirational.  Yes, in the last year, we have all been challenged–no doubt about that.  But every person and every class and every generation faces its own set of challenges, and these former Auggies, because they rose to face them, will always stay locked permanently in my memory bank.

Throwback Thursday

A Periodic Tale of Departmental Lore (Part 11)

Written by David Lapakko 

Senior Breakfast: the demise of fine dining for seniors

As we head down the home stretch toward commencement, I regret to say that our graduating seniors will not be able to partake in what was an annual event at Augsburg for many years: the Senior Breakfast.


The Senior Breakfast was a way to acknowledge and congratulate all of our graduates, and it was always on the last Friday of spring semester.  It was quite a fancy event!  Students and faculty had to RSVP for it, and the dining service pulled out all the stops, with classy decorative table settings, real tablecloths, fine china, cloth napkins, attentive waitstaff, and pretty sumptuous food.  There was even live music–often something like a student jazz ensemble.  Overall, anyone attending the event couldn’t help but feel a little pampered.


If all of this is true, why don’t we still have a Senior Breakfast?  I cannot profess to know all the reasons, but one noteworthy aspect of the event was that it was always scheduled to start at  (ugh) 7:00 a.m.  For faculty, that probably meant getting out of bed at 5:30 or 6:00 a.m. at the end of one of the most hectic weeks of the term!  Then, because Augsburg did not want any attendees to miss their first class on that Friday, the Senior Breakfast ended at 8:00 sharp, meaning that everything had to be smushed into 60 minutes.  Therefore, it did not feel very leisurely, especially since there were even a couple commemorative speeches that needed to be squeezed in.  Finally, back to that live music: it was a nice thought, but it was also often quite loud–so much so that it was difficult to have any sort of decent conversation at your table.  It was demoralizing to be drowned out by the amplified renderings of Herbie Hancock or Miles Davis for a full thirty minutes.  So, in the end, the Senior Breakfast often felt rushed, noisy, and not worth the effort that it took to get to campus by the ungodly hour of 7:00.  And eventually, some years ago it was permanently shelved.


Yes, there are still other celebratory events on campus at the close of spring semester, but the Senior Breakfast represented a noble striving for elegance.  That said, very few of us miss dragging our tails in the door at the crack of dawn!  Please pass the Froot Loops.

Throwback Thursday

A Periodic Tale of Departmental Lore (Part 10)

Written by David Lapakko 

When doing research was quite a search!

You could say that when it comes to doing research, today’s students are incredibly spoiled–and they probably don’t even realize it.  But leave it to us old geezers to explain why!


In the old days (read: anytime before 1995), there were three main places to find material for papers: the card catalog, the Reader’s Guide to Periodical Literature, and the Social Science Index.  The card catalog was the size of a small room and had scores of drawers.  In these little drawers were thousands of 3 x 5 note cards–on each card, a different book was listed, with its call number.  To actually get the book, you’d need to trudge to the “stacks” where all the books were housed, find it on the shelf, and then check it out.  But the card catalog didn’t have a way to tell you if a book was already checked out, so you went to the stacks and crossed your fingers.


The Reader’s Guide was an index to a wide variety of popular magazines such as Time or Newsweek.  There was such an index for every year–each one was a hardbound book at least two inches thick.  If you wanted an article on, say, capital punishment, you could look in the 1990 index, and then the 1989 index, and then 1988, etc. and hope that you might a few articles listed that would be helpful.  Then you could go to the Social Science Index, which was an index to many academic journals, and do a similarly laborious search–again, year by year.  Then to find the actual magazine or journal, you’d once again trudge to the stacks, hunt for the bound volume of that publication, and hope that you had a way to photocopy it, since you didn’t just check out an entire year’s issues of bound volumes; they didn’t leave the building.


When all was said and done, if you found three or four relevant books and three or four useful articles through this laborious process, you thought you had quite a treasure trove of information!  Now, of course, all of this seems incredibly lame and antiquated.  The next time you Google a topic and wind up with 750,000 hits in 1.4 seconds, don’t take that sort of thing for granted.  The power that today’s students have to access the universe of information is nothing short of mind-boggling–at least if your reference point is thumbing through World Almanacs and encyclopedias to find something out that Siri can now tell you in five seconds!

Throwback Thursday

A Periodic Tale of Departmental Lore (Part 9)

Written by David Lapakko 

Two requirements for the major that no longer exist

As some of our seniors look forward to commencement, there are at least two things they won’t need to worry about.  If you were a communication studies major in the ‘90s, two final hurdles stood in your way.  The first involved a requirement for all majors that was in place for roughly ten years: all communication studies graduates needed to participate in at least two interscholastic speech tournaments in order to graduate.  Suffice it to say that in the ‘90s, we sent a lot of students to Normandale Community College to compete in Twin Cities Forensics League tournaments that were held at Normandale six times a year.  After a while, the requirement became a bit of a hassle for some students and a record-keeping headache for the department, and so it was dropped.


The other requirement was built on the premise that all of our majors should not only be able to speak–they should be able to write, or at least know correct usage, grammar, punctuation, and spelling.  And so, a “writing test” was administered to every graduating senior; it was basically a fake news article that was riddled with errors in composition.  If a senior could find and correct a good percentage of those errors, they were free to graduate; if not, they needed to get some sort of remediation until they could pass.  After many years of such a requirement, a few rather vocal students complained that the test was too silly and superficial, and it was abandoned.  But I still have scores of old completed writing tests in my office drawer!


In those two respects, completing the major is slightly less of a hassle than it was in the past.  For that matter, so is completing the entire bachelor’s degree.  If you were a student in 1990, you’d need to pass 35 courses (three of which were J-term courses) and your commencement would be in late May; now you only need to pass 32 courses, and we’re now basically done by the end of April–and let’s face it, that makes the month of May just a whole lot less stressful.

Throwback Thursday

A Periodic Tale of Departmental Lore (Part 8)

Written by David Lapakko 

Ray Anderson: the one-man department

For four decades, the communication major at Augsburg was really the domain of just one person: Ray Anderson.  Ray taught at Augsburg from 1949 to 1989 (yikes!), and it’s not an overstatement to say that for all those years he single handedly ran the program, with only modest help from a few adjunct instructors and faculty who floated in and out of the department.


Needless to say, with only one full-time person, the curriculum was much more limited; out of necessity, the major needed to be interdisciplinary.  So Ray’s pragmatic solution was to require the following courses as part of a communication major:  PHI 130 (Logic), PSY 105 (General Psychology), SOC 121 (Principles of Sociology) or SOC 336 (Cultural Anthropology), SOC 375 (Social Psychology) and either ENG 223, 225, 226, or 227 (an advanced writing course).  Then, to round out the major, students would take Public Speaking, Mass Communication, Argumentation or Persuasion, Interpersonal Communication, and an internship.  In other words, it was a ten-course major, but only five of the courses were in the department!  But thanks to Ray’s steady hand, the major survived and in many ways thrived. 


Ray’s entire family has left a large imprint on Augsburg.  His wife Margaret worked at our library from 1967-1990 and was its director for her last thirteen years here.  Ray’s son Stuart is now a retired Auggie physics professor, and his son Brian is a class of ’82 alum.  His surviving family members recently donated $50,000 to endow a scholarship in Ray and Margaret’s name. 


Ray died in 2013, and Margaret passed on in 2017 at the age of 92.  But countless alumni will always remember them.  According to his son Brian, Ray once said that “he loved his job so much that he felt guilty getting paid to do it.”  And Ray was a real Renaissance man with many interests, including trumpet, piano, painting, woodworking, and writing.


I was fortunate enough to get to know Ray in his last years on the faculty, and I will always remember his modesty, civility, gentle humor, and wisdom.  We all stand on his shoulders!

Throwback Thursday

A Periodic Tale of Departmental Lore (Part 7)

Written by David Lapakko 

Times when there was a little more trust

Both young and old can make fun of many things out of the past–for example, the fact that I had to learn how to do math in high school with something called a slide rule, because personal electronic calculators were still not quite a standard part of our lives.  But at the same time, despite the lack of sophisticated technology, there was a sense of trust–bordering on naivete, I suppose–that I still sometimes miss.


Take a publication called The Auggie.  Back in the ‘80s and ‘90s, The Auggie came out every fall.  It was a printed campus directory for faculty, staff, and students.  For students and professors, it included each person’s campus address, home address, and phone number–and it also included a personal photo, since most of us opted to include one (taken by a campus photographer).  In its own way, The Auggie was kind of charming–you could see what a professor looked like, find out who was from Iowa, or be able to call someone on a moment’s notice, because you had their number.  But–and you probably know where this is going–to make such a wealth of personal information available to anyone put the school as well as its students in a vulnerable position.  Sleazy people could and possibly did take advantage of it.  So, the right to be known was replaced by the right to privacy, and The Auggie bit the dust.


In a similar vein, you may remember that before COVID hit, many different types of vendors normally occupied tables during the lunch hour in the Christiansen Center lobby.  This could include a woman hawking jewelry, an organization selling roses for Valentine’s Day, or a military recruiter.  But it was pretty much a “find a table and set up shop” kind of operation–why would you need to regulate something like that?  Well, one time in the early 2000s, a woman saying she was a nurse was offering low-cost flu shots.  I remember Chris Kimball, our dean at the time, talking up this marvelously cheap and convenient way to get the vaccine; he was among those who took the woman up on it.  But then, the bad news: she was a nurse, but the “flu shots” she was offering were largely saline solution; in other words, it was a scam.  Now you know why ever since, any such vendor in Christiansen needs to post a permit to conduct their business.


Finally, don’t get me started on locked doors.  Suffice it to say that campus buildings and rooms were much more accessible, both day and night.  The word “fob” had hardly been invented yet, and it was mostly used in the context of keyless entry systems for cars.  The ramping up of campus security was no doubt necessary and inevitable, but I miss the days when it was assumed that most everyone could be trusted.  It was a simpler time, when Auggies went to the Chin Wag grill (now the Admissions Office), grabbed a burger and fries, studied the photos of all their classmates, and felt a little more free and invincible.

Throwback Thursday

A Periodic Tale of Departmental Lore (Part 6)

Written by David Lapakko 

The pre-digital era of paper

Throughout almost the entire 20th century, digital, electronic communication simply didn’t exist.  But thanks to our abundant forests, there was plenty of paper!

Until the dawn of the 21st century, campus mailboxes were a buzzing hub of messaging.  Whether you were a student or faculty, if you wanted to know what was going on, you went to Christiansen and checked your mailbox.  That included everything the Registrar might want you to know, everything about special campus events, and pretty much what every campus organization wanted to announce to the Augsburg community.  If you ignored your paper mail for a few days, you might return to a little box stuffed to the gills with such messages.  When Foss Center opened in 1988, for example, we wanted to host an open house for the entire campus on a weekday evening, and so the department ran off 2000 photocopied invitations to the event–only to find, after stuffing them all, that the flyer didn’t include the date!  You can guess what that meant: a follow-up mailing!

There’s a reason why such messaging is referred to these days as “snail mail.”  If a faculty member wanted to get a transcript for one of their advisees, they would need to fill out a form, put it in campus mail to the Registrar, and then wait a couple of days for a paper copy of the transcript to be returned via campus mail.  Now, of course, we can get electronic transcripts of any advisee in less than 60 seconds.  And since there was no Moodle on which to put handouts or other documents, the campus copy center was another venue that was often crazy-busy–especially since there were, at best, only a handful of photocopiers available elsewhere on campus.

In the end, if it wasn’t on paper, it didn’t exist.  But that was our “normal” at the time, and it seemed just as normal as needing to find a telephone attached to a jack on the wall (what we now call a “landline”) in order to call a friend.  Those were the smartest phones we had.

Throwback Thursday

A Periodic Tale of Departmental Lore (Part 5)

Written by David Lapakko 

When Augsburg was a 4-1-4 school

During the last one-third of the 20th century, all five of the ACTC schools were on a 4-1-4 academic schedule. That meant students took four classes in the fall, four classes in the spring, and one class during the month of January, which was called “Interim Term” or “J-Term.” During Interim, students took only one course which often met for 10 or 12 hours a week, usually for 3 ½ weeks. To this day, Hamline, St. Thomas and St. Catherine’s still have a J-term, but Augsburg bowed out in 2002.

The idea behind Interim was to give students the opportunity to explore things that the standard academic calendar could not accommodate.  For example, as a first-year at Macalester, my Interim course was “Advanced Debate Study Tour,” which was a fancy way of saying we debaters traveled around the nation during the month of January going to speech tournaments. Travel was often a part of J-term courses; it was not uncommon to see a course such as “Discovering the Flora and Fauna of Hawaii,” the sort of thing that was, not surprisingly, a popular option for shivering Minnesotans. And other courses were “topics” courses that weren’t offered at any other time; my second J-term course at Macalester was “Marx on Politics and Religion,” and we met for long stretches at the professor’s home on a frozen lake discussing the works of Karl Marx.

However, over time, that “adventurous” feel to J-term got lost, at least at Augsburg. Rather than offering unique courses–for example, a course in communication ethics or political communication–departments felt squeezed. Students needed their required courses to graduate. And so many departments simply offered their regular courses in a very concentrated 3 ½ week session. After a while, all of this felt like a burden; only a few days separated J-term from spring semester, and students and faculty alike felt pretty stressed. More importantly, it wasn’t the original goal of J-term to provide the same old courses that are offered in the fall and spring. So Interim term went away, and we are now on a schedule that enables spring semester to begin fairly early in January, therefore getting us to commencement in early May, weeks before other 4-1-4 schools such as Hamline, St. Thomas, or even Gustavus and St. Olaf. And, the number of required courses for a bachelor’s degree dropped from 35 to the current 32.

In the end, I don’t miss the burdens of Interim term, but I do miss the adventurous spirit that was its signature component. But we all have more time off between terms, and it’s hard to complain about that!


Throwback Thursday

A Periodic Tale of Departmental Lore (Part 4)

Written by David Lapakko

Five schools in one

Throughout the ‘80s and ‘90s, and even into the early 2000s, one precious document was distributed each spring to every student at Augsburg, Hamline, Macalester, St.Thomas, and St.Catherine’s. Why these five schools? Because they were, and actually still are, members of the ACTC (Associated Colleges of the Twin Cities), a consortium of these five institutions.

The document we all received was a thick tabloid newspaper called the ACTC Joint Class Schedule. This newspaper contained a list of what would be offered for the following year at all five of these schools, as well as in every academic department. (For example, the communication studies offerings for all five schools, complete with times, instructors, and classrooms, were listed for both fall and spring semesters.) So, if an Auggie wanted to take a communication course at St. Thomas, or a course in Chinese at Hamline, or a Women’s Studies course at St. Catherine, all they needed to do was check the Joint Class Schedule–and when the time came, they would simply cross-register for those courses. It was a way to share resources and provide more options and more flexibility for students.

In its heyday, cross-registration was much more common than it is now. Hundreds of students from each campus would cross-register, with the biggest pipeline running between St. Thomas and St. Catherine’s. I am always fond of mentioning that I had a student–we’ll call her Yumi, since that was her name–who was a Hamline student. She took Argumentation from me at Hamline, Intercultural Communication from me at Augsburg, and Persuasion from me at St. Catherine’s. Three comm courses at three different schools! (Back in those days, I took adjunct teaching slots when I could to pay the mortgage and provide for the family.) There were even ACTC shuttle buses with regular schedules that took students from one campus to another.

Although you wouldn’t know it, today you can still take courses at these other four schools. Check the Augsburg catalog–it explains in a couple of paragraphs how you can do that in certain unique situations. But the ACTC cross-registration program is at best a shadow of what it once was: a vibrant, exciting opportunity to shop for courses and in essence, become a student, at least temporarily, at any of five different schools. It was a real selling point for each of the schools, and I mourn the loss of classes at Augsburg that included frequent visitors from these other campuses.

Next time: Augsburg’s J-term–life in a 4-1-4 world