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2015-16 Interfaith Scholar Profiles

VISION BAGONZA ’17Vision Bagonza

Hometown: Karagwe, Tanzania
Major: Biology
Minor: Chemistry, Physics
Internship experience: Mayo Clinic Biomedical Ethics Research Program & Mayo Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship.

My Augsburg experience has shaped me by broadening what I know, and giving me confidence to pursue higher dreams and aspirations. It also affirmed my career goals and gave me meaningful mentors and connections. After graduation, I plan to pursue a career in medicine and work all over the world.

KEISHA BARNARD ’16Keisha Barnard

Hometown: Madison, Wisconsin
Major: Sociology
Minor: International Relations
Internship experience: Program Assistant for WorldChicago; Intern for the Nobel Peace Prize Forum; Intern at Metropolitan Group 

My favorite thing about Augsburg is the strength of student groups. Augsburg has pushed me to continuously use my critical thinking skills. My proudest academic achievement so far is being the class of 2016’s Kemper Scholar. After graduation, I plan to spend a few months abroad, farming and learning about sustainable agriculture through World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms.

EMMA BLOM ’17Emma Blom

Hometown: Culver, Minnesota
Major: Psychology
Minor: ASL and Religion
Internship experience: Shadowed a Pediatric Speech Pathologist

My favorite thing about Augsburg is the commitment to service and inclusivity. Outside of class, I spend my time learning how to improve students’ on-campus experience through my Residence Life job, doing fun activities with my client through my personal care assistant job, and hanging out with friends and my Cross Country and Track teammates. Thanks to Augsburg, I now have a greater understanding of people. I have learned to appreciate how unique and special each soul is.

WHITNEY HEWITT ’17Whitney Hewitt

Hometown: Minocqua, Wisconsin
Major: Biology
Minor: Math
Internship experience: Mentor for the Augsburg College Youth Theology Institute

I love the small campus feel in a big city that Augsburg provides. Augsburg has changed the way I view my classroom experience, how to support myself, and how beneficial a diverse learning environment can be. After graduation, I plan to go to Physician’s Assistant school and then be a PA in a pediatrics department, specializing in newborn and toddlers.

JOSEPH KEMPF ’16joseph kempf

Hometown: Zumbrota, MN
Major: Chemistry
Minor: Religion
Internship experience: Through the Bonner Leaders Program: Young Leader’s Mentor at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church; Homework Help Tutor at Trinity Lutheran Church; Interfaith Bridge Coordinator through Augsburg College

My favorite thing about Augsburg is that engaging the community is not only encouraged, but required for students. My proudest academic achievement was when a professor saw potential in me when I saw none myself. Augsburg has shaped me by inspiring me to serve the community my whole life. No longer am I just looking for a job, but a career choice that brings me to help others instead of myself.


Hometown: Raleigh, North Carolina
Major: Political Science, International Relations
Minor: Spanish, Global Peace Studies
Internship experience: Executive Fellow at the Federal Executive Board of Minnesota; Minnesota Israel Leadership Collaborative Intern

Augsburg has empowered me as a leader. Specifically the small sizes and the diverse community enable me to make a difference on campus and stand up for what I believe in. I am a volunteer English tutor for Somali adults at Franklin Learning Center, a frequent speaker in the local Jewish community as well as the substance abuse recovery community, co-founder and vice president of Students Supporting Israel at Augsburg College, a Students Supporting Israel National Student Advisory Committee member, and Student Government Incumbent Senator.

REIES ROMERO ’16Reies Romero

Hometown: Albuquerque, New Mexico
Major: Social Work
Internship experience: Worked with a youth group and volunteered in the food shelf at the Neighborhood House in the historic West Side barrio of Saint Paul (1 year), and currently interning at the Restorative Justice Community Action

My proudest moment was receiving an award for “Best New Club” (Save the Kids) at Augsburg and remaining on the dean’s list. Augsburg has changed my life; it has shaped me to be the best at what I do in all situations and gives me a foundation and fond memories. My love for Allah and his messenger has inspired me to apply perfection and wisdom in all that I do in life. After graduation I plan to pursue a master’s degree and continue with activism and social justice efforts.

MOHAMED NAZIH SAFI ’17Mohamed Nazih Safi

Hometown: Eden Prairie, MN
Major: Mathematics, Mathematical Economics
Minor: Management Information Systems
Internship experience: The McNair Scholars Program

My favorite thing about Augsburg is the family-like relationship developed between professors and students. In the McNair Scholars Program, I worked on a research project with Dr. Zobitz from the Mathematics Department, which involved using the Gini Coefficient to calculate carbon distribution. After graduation, I plan to attend graduate school for a master’s degree in analytics or operations research. I also would like to apply to become a Fulbright Scholar and teach English in a Middle Eastern or North African country. 

DUA SALEH ’17dua saleh

Hometown: St. Paul
Major: Sociology
Minor: Women’s, Gender, and Sexualities studies
Internship experience: Summit-University Community Planning Council (District 8 of St. Paul City Council)

I am a delegate for Model United Nations, president of NAACP St. Paul Youth and Collegiate Chapter, president of the Pan-Afrikan Student Union, and coordinator of Minnesota Student Power Network. Advocating and fighting for the rights of marginalized groups has always been a principle in my life. At Augsburg, this is a core principle in both their mission statement and within the general student body. The advocacy programs and justice based groups at Augsburg correlate directly with the line of work that I am aspiring to do in the future.


Hometown: London, UK
Major: History
Minor: International Relations                                                                           

My Augsburg experience has shaped me by allowing me to meet people from so many walks of life, and exposed me to the various experiences people here have had, expanding my sense of how diverse a community and society we are a part of. Augsburg has also helped me delve into subjects I am curious in and gain academic confidence.