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Auggie friendships: A photo essay

Scenes from Augsburg’s campus

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Community is an undeniable fixture of the Augsburg experience, and nothing makes a campus feel small like the familiar faces of those who’ve become friends. Countless Auggies have forged lifelong connections—whether in an instant during their first days on campus or over time through shared classes, interests, residence halls, occupations, and stories. Here’s a taste of the many rich friendships that have grown at Augsburg and carried on across time and geography.

Anthony Villagrana, left, and Mallory Harris head off to class.
Anthony Villagrana, left, and Mallory Harris head off to class.

Anthony Villagrana ’21

Major: Communication Arts/Literature
and Secondary Education

Mallory Harris ’21

Majors: Film and Communication Studies

How they met:

They helped each other on move-in day
and became intramural soccer teammates.

Harris: “Anthony is one of the greatest students I know in the area of academics . . . my grandad always used to say, ‘If you want to get good at something, then surround yourself with people who are already outstanding in that area.’ So I see him in that. He inspires me.”

Villagrana: “Likewise, from day one, Mallory has always been positive—the energy he gives is positivity. Always smiling, always talkative. He’s never gloomy, you know? He brings this energy to the room. I’m just glad I met Mallory this year because I was pretty quiet and kept to myself last year. He’s a transfer student, and he’s older than me. He introduced me to a lot of people, and I made a lot of friends. His character has inspired me to be more open and more social in this environment at Augsburg.”

Professor Bridget Robinson-Riegler, left, talking to Assistant Professor Ben Denkinger in his office
Professor Bridget Robinson-Riegler, left, often stops into the office of Assistant Professor Ben Denkinger to talk about everything from their shared field of study to baseball.

Bridget Robinson-Riegler

Professor of Psychology

Ben Denkinger

Assistant Professor of Psychology

How they met:

They became colleagues at Augsburg
roughly a decade ago.

Robinson-Riegler: “We’re both cognitive psychologists, so we have a mutual interest, which was probably the initial thing that brought us together. Then once we got to know each other, we just realized how similar we are.”

Denkinger: “We’re excited about the same things in psychology, and maybe riled up about the same things in politics and culture.”

Joaquin Delgado-Ortiz, left, and Ann Sheely working in the library
Meeting in the James G. Lindell Library, Joaquin Delgado-Ortiz, left, and Ann Sheely discuss a project she’s working on for her residence hall.

Joaquin Delgado-Ortiz ’20

Major: Psychology

Ann Sheely ’20

Majors: Life Sciences and Secondary Education

How they met:

After being assigned to the same lab group, they formed a friendship and ended up laughing their way through their final presentation for their course.

Sheely: “One thing I’ve noticed about people at Augsburg is that everybody is really open and accepting and willing to just be there to help you. They’ll actually return your smiles, generally. So that’s been really helpful for me—not being afraid to reach out to people even if I don’t know them really well yet, and then friendships can grow.”

Camryn Masse, left, and Jen Meinhardt study together
Camryn Masse, left, and Jen Meinhardt study together, as they do at least twice a week, in Christensen Center.

Camryn Masse ’21

Major: Elementary Education

Jennifer Meinhardt ’19

Major: English (Creative Writing)

How they met:

“That’s a cool pen.” One seemingly simple statement made in a 12:30 p.m. religion class on the first day of the semester sparked a friendship.

Meinhardt: “We both transferred here from a different school— from the same school, in fact— but we didn’t know each other there. It’s been fun because we have the same perspective of someplace different—of going from a small community college to this school. The city is kind of different for us, and we didn’t know anybody else. For me, our friendship just gave me something more concrete and grounded at this school, which helped me transition better.

And it’s given me somebody to study with. She’s inspired me to hit the gym; she’s inspired me to work instead of goof off. She kind of just keeps everything rolling.”

Maggie Sotos, left, and Josh Owens, right, playing racketball
Colleagues who once competed for the same job, Maggie Sotos, left, and Josh Owens, right, are now friends on staff in Augsburg’s Admissions Department and opponents on the racquetball court during their lunch hour.

Maggie Sotos

Enrollment Communications and Event Specialist

Josh Owens

Assistant Director of Admissions

How they met:

They first worked together at another college but both found a home at Augsburg.

Sotos: “Someone saw us playing racquetball here together one day and asked us if we were married. I said, ‘Well, we’re not married, but I did marry him!’ because my wife and I officiated his and his wife’s wedding. It’s always good to have a familiarity with how people work best and what their strengths are, so it’s nice working alongside a friend.”


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