The Servant Leader: Meet Austin Krohnke ’18

Austin Krohnke '18

Austin Krohnke ’18 is a religion and biology double major from Waukee, Iowa.

Q. You are planning to pursue seminary after graduation. Can you share what inspired you to consider this path in life?

A. I first started to realize that God was calling me to a career in ministry after spending a semester with Veritas Christian Study Abroad in San José, Costa Rica. In addition to taking classes like a normal exchange student, I learned about the history of Christian missions and got to volunteer with an organization called Face of Justice, a ministry that fights sex trafficking. A fire for seeing the Gospel change people’s lives was definitely kindled in my heart through those experiences. Coming back to Augie, certain strengths and other little things started making great sense in the context of pastoral ministry, and an internship the following summer at Messiah Lutheran Church in Washington State deeply affirmed several gifts according to God’s call on my life. I’m excited to see to what context God will call me to pastor people — possibilities ranging from a Midwestern congregation to missions across the globe.

Q. You’re active in Campus Ministry and also serve the Latino ELCA congregation, Pueblo de Dios. Can you describe what it’s been like to be involved in Campus Ministry? What have you learned about yourself, about others, and about your own faith? How has it enriched your life?

A. My involvement in Campus Ministry and other ministries has taught me so much. Having not grown up Lutheran, probably the biggest thing I’ve learned is that it’s okay to be wrong. Questions and seeking answers to them are important, but at the end of the day faith is trusting that God is ultimately right and exactly who He says he is. Because I trust in Christ’s promises, I am free and empowered to serve my neighbor as best I can.

Q. What are your plans for the summer?

A. I plan to work at Des Moines Christian Schools as a camp counselor and worship leader. I will also spend five weeks studying in Madrid, Spain, on a scholarship from the Sigma Delta Pi National Spanish Honor Society.

Q. Some people talk about that ‘aha’ moment when the power of a liberal arts education really hits them. Can you share your thoughts on the liberal arts?

A. The place that the liberal arts has affected me is the integration of seemingly different things. For example, my biology and religion majors, as well as faith practices, have allowed me to see the world both critically as scientific discovery and as creation which God has called good. Similarly, diverse academic and social experiences here have equipped me with the ability to see perspectives and serve in places of mediation where individuals or groups disagree.

Q. Favorite class at Augustana so far, and why?

A. My favorite class is “Principles of Ecology” because our lab work included prairie restoration at Newton Hills State Park and a four-day trip to the Badlands and Black Hills to see the diverse ecological relationships we learned about in the classroom.

Q. Can you share a little about your favorite professor?

A. Dr. Ann Pederson (religion) is my favorite professor because she’s so gracious with students and has helped me discern the next steps in my vocational path.

Q. Best Augie memory so far, and why?

A. One of my best Augie memories so far is going to the beautiful Palisades State Park on Earth Day with other students for some trail maintenance service work in the morning, then rock climbing and swimming in the river in the afternoon.