Former roommates selected as Peace Prize Scholars



Are you excited to travel to Norway this coming summer?

I went abroad my freshman year to Ireland on the Distinguished Scholars trip so I’m really excited to go out of the country again. It’s interesting that the other person who won is Allie Hjerpe, my roommate freshman year. So it’s really exciting to be able to travel with someone I know really well and just to have somebody to enjoy the experience with.

I’m interested in doing research on child care in Norway. If there was an exact opposite of the United States, I suppose it would be Norway, so it will be very interesting to talk to people… about their childcare system.

Another element of having the scholarship is the amount of students you get to interact with from around the world—not every country, but many, many countries.

What was one of the questions they asked you in the interview process? And what was your response?

They asked you what you would do with the opportunity, and for me the answer was my research. I think sometimes it’s really difficult to write about something without experiencing it. And the conversations with people from all over the world about their experience growing up, I mean given my interest in childcare…those are the conversations [I want]. I can have some of them here, but not to the scale I’ll be able to living for six weeks in a place that has a dramatically different [childcare] system.

Of course it’s the Peace Prize Scholarship: there is a discussion of peace. They ask you if you think violence is ever justified and that, of course is a very difficult question to answer. I think that everyone’s immediate reaction is “No, no it’s not justified.” But then they bring up a situation where maybe it might be justified and you have to stop and think about things. I think that’s a question I’ll grapple with the entire time I’m in Norway.

Why would you encourage other students to apply for the scholarship?

I think it’s really easy to get trapped in the Augustana bubble. It’s really comfortable here on campus; we have professors that feed out intellectual curiosity, but there really is so much more than that. [The Nobel Peace Prize Forum is essentially brought to us in small pieces at Augsburg.] It’s not hard to get there; we get a huge group of students to go there and it’s a lot of fun. It’s a great time and you get to hear some incredible speakers that really fire you up and make you aware of things you didn’t know about already. It makes you feel guilty for how comfortable things are on campus when there are some truly terrifying things happening around the world. But it also reminds you of the incredibly good things going on around the world. That people make a huge difference somewhere.

To be able to sit just rows away from some who has changed the lives of so many people, it’s really incredible.

If you could eat one food for the rest of your life what would it be?

Coffee. That’s not really a food, but I would need coffee. I don’t know how I would accomplish anything without it. So many opportunities in college that there is to take advantage of, and if I didn’t have coffee fueling it then I wouldn’t have anything to do.




Why did you apply for the Peace Prize Scholarship?

Well, while I was in India, I had a really incredible experience to learn about another culture that was so different than my own. I was able to look critically at myself as an American and the things I was involved in here at home in a way that I had never thought of before. Things that I really appreciated… things that I had not noticed before that [were] really vital to who I was and what I valued. It was so much a going home as it was a going away when I was abroad. I loved that experience of submersing myself into another culture and really learning to value what is different. The ability to be with other people and be like, “Tell me who you are, tell me what you love, tell me what is important to you.”

What is your inner animal?

I’m a little obsessed with wolves; I love wolves. It’s kind of a funny question because I always pick an animal to remember people by because I’m really bad at remembering names so I have an animal for most people I meet. Wolves are intelligent, family-oriented and I think misunderstood. Just very beautiful animals that I think have suffered a lot of grief for just being wild… and for being what they are.

What was one of the questions they asked you in the interview process? And what was your response?

There was actually a question that really caught me off guard, that tested me a lot … was: “What would you do if you were in Delhi, India, and you were there during the gang rape situation? What do you think would be justified violence, or what do you think the necessary action would be if you could kill someone or keep going, what do you think would be the appropriate response?”

I needed to be honest, and my response was to be violent. That my impulse would be to react and do whatever was necessary to stop that violence was happening. I think sexual violence is something that really hits the core of me. The shame involved is something that is really hard to deal with.

One of the reasons I want to study as a peace scholar and in Oslo is because I want to learn about, learn with, people who believe in the power of peace. People who think that we should be more than just finding a solution that still kills someone. How can we search for reconciliation, how can we search for peace because it’s not easy and it may not be natural either. But how can we work together to find peace in a global community.

Why would you encourage other students to apply for the scholarship?

I think it is an opportunity for learning and for relationships that is absolutely extraordinary. Something that you can find about Augustana, you can find those learning and relationship experiences here but more than that. You really learn a lot about who you are as an individual and the community you’re living in and what kind of things I need to be doing to be engaging in that.