Each year, Luther College chooses ten scholars in the incoming first-year class to follow their creative curiosity and turn their dreams into realities. Each student will use their fellowship in different extended learning experiences beyond campus during their junior or senior year.
Get to know our recent scholars chosen as Luther's Imagine Fellows.
Andrew is a Biology major from Onalaska, Wisconsin who aspires to pursue a career in medicine after Luther. He enjoys singing in Cathedral choir, working as an office assistant in the Admissions office, and helping with the Biology 152 course as a lab assistant. Andrew is a certified Lifeguard Instructor, and is excited for his job as the general manager of the Holmen Area Aquatic Center during the summer of 2015.
In terms of academics, Andrew is interested in many aspects of the health care field, from the basic science that informs knowledge of disease, to the policy decisions that shape the system within which this knowledge is applied. He would like to use his Imagine Fellowship to explore health care systems in depth, from either a research- based or an experiential perspective.
Elise is from Johnsburg, Illinois. She dedicates a lot of time to the Concert Band, track and field, SAC special events, and the service fraternity APO. Elise plays clarinet in the Concert Band and competes in Track in triple jump and 400m races. Elise is majoring in nursing and cannot wait to start her career in this field.
With nursing, she has already had her fair share of biology classes. Luckily, she has loved all of them and they have only increased her excitement for her future in the medical field. The complexities of the human body are extremely interesting to her and she has a deep desire to help people in need. Therefore, her hope for the Imagine Fellowship is to use it as a means to explore her interest in medicine and biology while also doing work for the greater good. Right now she does not know where that will exactly take her, but she is positive it will be the experience of a lifetime.
Elaena Hoekstra is a theatre major with a business management minor from Mason City, Iowa. She has been involved in many theatre productions throughout her time at Luther, and has found her passion in stage management. When she is not in rehearsal for a play, Elaena enjoys singing in Nordic Choir and hiking around the Decorah area.
Elaena used her Imagine Fellowship her junior year to study theatre in Chicago through the Associated Colleges of the Midwest (ACM). This program allowed her to study local theatre history, contemporary theatre, film, and intern at a professional theatre.
Elaena worked as an assistant stage manager for a mainstage show at Halcyon Theatre, a small theatre on the north side of Chicago. She is grateful for this experience, as it gave her a love for the city and the confidence to move there upon graduation. Chicago has a flourishing theatre community, and this experience prepared her to enter the field.
Isaac Jensen is originally from Iowa City, Iowa. He plans to study biology and environmental studies. In his time at Luther, Isaac has been involved in a variety of activities including running long distance in Cross-Country and Track, singing with Norsemen, the first year men's choir, and ECO, Luther's environmental organization. Isaac is extremely passionate about the great outdoors and can often be found out on the trails of Decorah, both working for Luther College Land Stewardship and running, hiking, skiing and biking with friends. He has also worked with The Nature Conservancy in Iowa. He enjoys reading, playing Frisbee, and the occasional snowball fight.
Looking forward, Isaac hopes to use his enthusiasm for protecting and preserving the environment as springboard towards a career in conservation. He has found his experiences in the natural world to be some of the most powerful and spiritual of his life, and would like to use his Imagine Fellowship to continue to explore this relationship while also contributing something to the world at large. He refuses to share specifics (largely because he doesn't really have any) but he is sure that it will be an amazing experience.
Austin Pickup is from Apple Valley, Minnesota. He will graduate this year with majors in Spanish and Chemistry, a minor in biology, and a career path hopefully headed for medicine. Some of his favorite activities are running through Decorah, traveling, and playing guitar whenever he gets a chance. At Luther, he is involved in several organizations including FOCUS, a student-led worship service. He was a resident assistant the past two years as well as tutoring in the areas of chemistry, biology and religion. Currently Austin is studying abroad in Chile studying the culture and the language to complete his Spanish major requirements.
With Spanish and Chemistry majors, Austin hopes to go on to medical school and end up practicing in a Spanish speaking country. He is also captivated by other subjects at Luther, mainly religion and biology, which he will pursue in the following years in his classes.
Austin used his Imagine Fellowship this summer immediately before going to Chile on a trip to Roatan, Honduras, where he observed at a free clinic that was started by a nurse from Ohio. The main goal of this was to get a sense of how the clinic was operated, how to handle the main problems that come up, and get a sense of how feasible it would be to do something similar for himself in the future. He ended up learning a lot from Clinica Esperanza and Nurse Peggy Stranges and is very grateful for the opportunity to study in such a beautiful country with amazing people.
At Luther, Erin Steward has been involved in Cathedral Choir, Collegium Musicum, and Chamber Orchestra. In addition, she accompanies singers and is a French tutor. She is truly astounded by the diversity of opportunities offered at Luther, especially in the Music Department. When not making music or speaking French, she can be found hanging out with friends around Decorah, trying to spread a little positivity in the world, and writing free-verse poetry.
Erin's French major and interest in peace studies have led her to ponder possibly spending her Imagine Fellowship in Ireland and Northern Ireland to further study the effects of The Troubles. She is also interested in spreading joy at Sarnelli House, an orphanage in Thailand for children with HIV/AIDS. Regardless of whether she ends up fulfilling either of these possibilities or does something completely different, Erin is very grateful to the college for this opportunity.
Jacob Cole is a junior from Cary, North Carolina. He plans to major in mathematics with minors in writing and secondary education and is a former member of the swim team at Luther. While Jacob says he is not musically gifted, he is very involved in music and has been a member of SAC Concerts since 2014. If teaching doesn’t work out, he has a Plan B for a career choice!
After deciding to pursue a career in education in early 2015, Jacob has considered and is planning on using his Imagine Fellowship as an extension of his student teaching semester. Knowing that he wants to spend part of his student teaching experience abroad, Jacob hopes to further his cultural awareness and understanding of educational systems in other countries to better equip him to reach whatever students he may have in his class while furthering the cause for social justice and equality around the world.
Megan is from Urbandale, Iowa and she is pursuing a major in Biology and minors in Chemistry and Nordic Studies. At Luther, she is involved in the SAC Concerts committee and is a member of the Eklipse Hip-Hop Dance Team. In her free time at Luther, she enjoys laying on library lawn with a good book, coffee breaks at Nordic Brew, and leisurely walks around Decorah.
Megan is spending the fall 2016 semester studying in Oslo, Norway at the University of Oslo, which she hopes will open some doors for a possible use for her fellowship. Her other ideas for her fellowship include applying for undergraduate research opportunities at the Mayo Clinic, the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, and several other institutions across the US and abroad. She hopes to attend graduate school after graduating from Luther and pursue a career in medical research. Although she is not exactly sure specifically what kind of medical research she wishes to go into, she hopes that the use of her fellowship will help inspire her and open her eyes to all of the opportunities the research field has to offer!
Thaddeus Guy is from Urbandale, Iowa. He is currently undecided on a major, and his interests include psychology, religion, business, and music. Thaddeus is a percussionist and a member of Luther’s Wind and Percussion Ensemble. He is also involved in the SAC Concert and Spotlight committees. His other free time is spent reading, biking, spending time with friends, or just enjoying the beautiful Decorah scenery.
Thaddeus is considering options to use his Imagine Fellowship to explore how music connects people through their cultural experiences. He hopes to find a way to use the Imagine Fellowship to merge his interests of music and the mind, perhaps exploring the ways music affects cultures and lifestyles around the world.
Gabrielle Laske is a music and Spanish double major from New Berlin, Wisconsin. On campus, she participates in Collegiate Chorale and is a language tutor, admissions ambassador, ACM ambassador, and Peace Corps ambassador. Last spring she spent a semester abroad on the ACM Arts in Context program where she was fortunate enough to spend some time living in both Florence, Italy and London, England and visit many places within and beyond those two cities. Gabrielle is currently in the planning stage of her Imagine Fellowship and is hoping to use it this summer in conjunction with some time spent in Spain to fulfill the immersion requirement for her Spanish major. Although she is still exploring various options, her dream is to be able to trace musical traditions through Spain and into Morocco and other parts of Africa.
While growing up in Gurnee, Illinois, Shannon Meehan developed many passions. When she is not busy with school work, Shannon enjoys running, playing the clarinet, baking bread, and living an environmentally conscious lifestyle. In the past, Shannon has volunteered with a prairie restoration organization called Conserve Lake County, and also the organic Prairie Crossing Learning Farm. Currently, she is running for Luther's cross country team and intends to participate in track as well. In addition to athletics, Shannon is also a member of Luther's Wind and Percussion Ensemble.
Although she is not entirely sure what she will do with the amazing opportunity provided by the Imagine Fellowship, Shannon knows she would like to apply it to her passion for the environment. Shannon has learned to love the environment and only wishes to restore and preserve its health and beauty. Shannon's life goal is to save the world, and she is confident Luther and the Imagine Fellowship Program will assist her in the accomplishment of this task.
Linnea Peterson is a junior from St. Paul, Minnesota, majoring in economics and minoring in math, Spanish, and writing. She enjoys singing, words, and learning more about how the world works. At Luther, she has previously been involved in Aurora and Cathedral choirs and is currently a member of Collegiate Chorale and Model United Nations. She is also a tutor at the Writing Center, where she specializes in basic writing.
While this is nearly heresy at a Norwegian college, one of her biggest passions is speaking Swedish, which she learned at the Concordia Language Villages. She is hoping to use her Imagine Fellowship to travel to Sweden to polish up her Swedish and investigate some aspects of Swedish culture that interest her, such as the welfare state, the attempt to eliminate gender roles, and the complicated work of taking in refugees.
Timothy Radermacher is from Plymouth, Minnesota. He plans to study music education and hopes to someday become a high school band director. Timothy plays the bassoon in Luther’s Concert Band, and also participates in orchestra and intramural Ultimate Frisbee. Timothy spends most of his free time enjoying the outdoors, learning new instruments, working in the dish room, and talking superheroes with his roommate.
Timothy is continuously impressed by, and incredibly thankful for, the wide variety of opportunities offered at Luther, especially in the music program. He is not sure how he would like to spend his fellowship, and is pondering many possibilities, but he knows he would like to focus on music. He is particularly interested in the folk music of different cultures and how musical expression and interpretation differ around the world. He would like to treat his fellowship as an opportunity to explore his interests and expand his learning.
Laila Sahir is from Dyersville, Iowa. She plans on studying music education and also possibly minoring in theatre. Laila hopes to become involved with the theatre department in the future. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with friends or curling up with some hot chocolate and a good book.
Laila hopes to use her Imagine Fellowship and her passion for music to explore either the history of music or music therapy. She might also end up doing something completely different! No matter what path she chooses to pursue, she cannot wait to see where her experience will take her.
Kristen is a junior from LaGrange, IL. After a few years of academic exploration, Kristen is now majoring in business management and minoring in music. Kristen is really enjoying her marketing class this semester and hopes to take more advertising and marketing classes in the future. On campus, Kristen sings in the Collegiate Chorale, works as an admissions student ambassador and communication assistant, and will be dancing in Luther’s fourth Dance Marathon in the spring.
Although Kristen does not know how she will use her fellowship, she is very interested in traveling abroad and obtaining a summer internship. Kristen also enjoys classic American and British literature and world music—maybe she’ll find a way to combine some of these interests during her fellowship!
Zane grew up in the small rural town of Westfield in central Wisconsin. He has not yet chosen a major but is considering majoring in Music Education and minoring in Spanish. Much of his time is spent in Jenson-Noble either practicing or rehearsing with Norsemen, Varsity Band, and the Luther Trumpets. Besides singing and playing the trumpet, Zane enjoys hanging out at the Spanish Table in the cafeteria, reading, and spending time with friends. He is not sure how he will use his Imagine Fellowship yet, but looks forward to the chance to travel. Zane has never been outside of the United States, so he hopes to explore beyond the world he is already familiar with. One thing Zane knows for sure is that he would like to incorporate his passion for music into his project somehow.
Lauren is from Galena, Illinois. She is currently undecided on her major, but her interests include biology, Spanish, data science, and religion. Lauren plays the piccolo in the Luther College Symphony Orchestra. She also is apart of PALS, Habitat for Humanity, Hola-Enlaces, and the Luther Burn Crew. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, ceramics, reading, and any outdoor activity, especially kayaking.
Although Lauren has not decided what she will do with her Imagine Fellowship, she is very interested in different educational systems throughout the world and how varying levels of education contribute to global health and economic status. She hopes to use her Imagine Fellowship to explore effective ways of implementing widespread education in developing countries in order to promote health and economic well-being.
Zach Martin was born in Colorado in 1997, and moved to Boone, Iowa at age 5. He attended Boone High School, and participated in 4-H as well. Zach is currently a first-year student at Luther College. He plans to double major in physics and computer science, and also competes with men's swimming.
Zach is currently planning out ideas for what to do with his fellowship. The idea of studying renewable energy systems in other countries interests him, and he might want to go in that direction.
Maddie McLean is from Des Moines, Iowa. She is an Environmental Science major and is exploring a minor in Anthropology. She runs distance track at Luther and loves exploring Northeast Iowa on longer runs or bike rides. Maddie hopes to use her fellowship to explore sustainability practices in different parts of the world and combine her passion about the environment and the outdoors with experiencing new cultures.
Isobel is from Wheaton, Illinois (a western suburb of Chicago). She is planning on double majoring in Biology and Environmental Studies. She loves any type of outdoor physical activity including running, biking, and hiking. Isobel is involved in Eco Club, AYNAH and the Catholic Student Community (CSC). She is extremely passionate about the environment so she hopes to use her fellowship to explore different places in the world and their approaches to addressing ecological issues. In particular, Isobel is really interested in organic farming and would love to travel the world and visit different farms across Europe, South America, and even just throughout the United States.
James is a computer science and Nordic studies major from New Richmond, Wisconsin. James is a member of Norsk Klubb on campus and devotes much of his free time to woodcarving. He enjoys carving because it allows him to demonstrate and share his art in public and allows him to meet with a wider community of carvers from around the country. James also enjoys spending time outdoors and has a deep interest in wildlife. He expects to use his Imagine Fellowship for some kind of conservation-related experience. Other options he's considered include studying or teaching woodcarving, or musical instrument building in a different country.
Mareda Smith is from North Liberty, Iowa and is undecided about her major. Her academic interests include political science, environmental policy, social work, and data science. Mareda enjoys singing in choir at Luther, working in the Web Content Bureau, being a resident assistant, and participating in Hola-Enlaces and SAC Concerts. Her other hobbies include listening to music, hiking, camping, spending time with family and friends, and exploring beautiful Decorah.
Mareda is still considering several ways to utilize her Imagine Fellowship. A few of the options she's considered include learning more about different religions and how they interact with each other culturally or looking at how other countries are responding to climate change. Mareda is very excited for the opportunity to learn and immerse herself in a different culture.
Jackson is originally from Duluth, Minnesota, and is very excited to be a part of the fantastic Luther College community. He is looking forward to taking advantage of Luther's liberal arts education and studying a wide variety of topics, and he plans to pursue a degree in music education. Jackson’s main instrument is the trombone, and he is a member of Luther's Jazz Orchestra, however he also plays the piano and plans to continue doing so throughout college. Additionally, Jackson runs both cross country and track for the Norse, and he enjoys participating in various events through Luther's Campus Ministries.
Jackson is extremely thankful to have received an Imagine Fellowship, as he believes that it greatly assists in helping form life-changing experiences. He is considering using his fellowship to study music as it appears in different cultures and environments, as its impact reaches far beyond the notes on a page. He hopes to learn and uncover how music is shared, taught, and experienced in cultures with a deep musical history, possibly continuing his studies in the German language to be able to use his fellowship in the musically-rich countries of Germany and Austria. He looks forward to planning this incredible opportunity!
Claire Honl is a first-year from Denver, Colorado. She is interested in both medicine and writing, and she is planning on pursuing a nursing major. Claire also plays the harp and enjoys participating in Luther’s symphony orchestra. During the summer of 2016, she became a Certified Clinical Musician Intern. For her scholarship, Claire would like to find a way to further integrate her love of medicine with her love of music.
Ann is a first-year from Rochester Minnesota who is thrilled to be a part of the Luther community. She is planning on majoring in biology and/or chemistry with hopes of pursuing a career in the health sciences. Ann plays on the Luther College Woman’s Ultimate Frisbee Team, FREYA, and is also involved in PALS and CEC. In her free time she enjoys being active outdoors with her family and friends.
Although Ann is unsure of exactly how she will use her fellowship, she hopes to incorporate her passions for food insecurity and the global hunger crisis in her work. She is also interested in the global healthcare system. No matter what she does, Ann would like to use her fellowship to gain a deeper understanding of the world and make a difference in the lives of others.
Grace Huber is a first-year from Iowa City, Iowa. She is studying vocal music with minors in education and theatre. Grace has always loved singing in a choir and is having a great time in Aurora this year. As a teaching assistant, Grace had the opportunity to assist and direct her high school's unauditioned choir, which gave her a passion for education. She has also gone with her mom and step-dad to multiple World Music Drumming workshops, which is a teacher training program for general music teachers. Through her TA position as well as the workshops Grace has learned lots of valuable teaching skills which she hopes to utilize someday as a choir director.
As a performer, Grace has been in various plays and musicals. She is enjoying becoming more involved in the theatre department at Luther, and is learning more about opera in the music department. Singing and performing for an audience has always brought Grace joy and she hopes to continue this throughout her whole life. In addition to her musical and theatrical passions, Grace loves to bake. Her friends often utilize her set of baking supplies which she brought with her from home; though the Brandt kitchen isn’t exactly what she’s used to, having her own pans and utensils makes her feel at home. Though she has no formal plans yet, right now Grace thinks she will use her imagine fellowship to focus on vocal performance overseas.
Andrew is an extremely active person and enjoys spending his time outside and playing sports. He is a three sport athlete, which means he is always in season for some sport. Andrew runs cross country, nordic ski, as well as runs track. For him, this busy year round schedule helps him stay on top of his school work and allows him to take advantage of his free time. In his free time away from sports and school, Andrew enjoys going to new ski or running trails and appreciating the outdoors. For this reason, Andrew plans to use his fellowship to study how global warming has impacted the environment in different areas of the world.
Alex Schaeffer is from the small town of New Prague in Minnesota. Apart from trying to make his friends laugh with his poorly constructed jokes and puns, he spends his time at Luther College playing the alto sax in Varsity Band, getting involved in theatre, attending and performing in FOCUS, volunteering through a couple of the on-campus service groups, and geeking out in chemistry club. Because of his interest in science and medicine, Alex is planning on double majoring in chemistry and biology while also following the pre-med track. He hopes to one day become a doctor who will be able to work closely with patients, impacting their physical, mental, and spiritual lives. With his Imagine Fellow Scholarship, Alex would love to travel to a third world country in order to do some kind of medical research and also to work with a team of Healthcare professionals to help and heal those in need of medical attention. Alex is extremely excited to be able to start his medical career at Luther College and is very blessed with this opportunity given to him through Imagine Fellows.
Colin Weber is a first-year physics major from Rochester, Minnesota. He enjoys running (especially on the great trails of Decorah), playing trumpet in Jazz Orchestra, eating great food, playing piano, and watching movies. Despite being very busy, he finds that being involved helps him stay efficient in his studies so that he can have a ton of fun doing lots of activities on campus. He also loves travelling to mountainous areas and going on long hikes with spectacular views. He is currently planning on using his fellowship to travel to an area affected by global warming to study its effects and possible solutions.
Vera is a Biology major from Saint Cloud, Minnesota hoping to pursue a career in optometry. She comes from a wonderfully supportive family who have always encouraged her to follow her passions. In her free time, she enjoys running and being outside, which she is able to do frequently on the Luther cross country and track team. Vera's other hobbies include spending time with friends and family, eating, and watching movies. She is truly grateful to have been given such an amazing opportunity to pursue her interests through the imagine fellowship program. Although she is not entirely sure what she is going to do with her scholarship, she would like to explore health care systems.