Darwin Garcia '19: Where Are They Now?

Darwin Garcia ‘19
Major: Physics & Mathematics
Graduate Student, Mayo Clinic School of Biomedical Sciences


Why did you choose Augustana University?

A: I chose AU because the application process was very personal. [Director of International Programs Office] Ben Iverson visited Honduras a couple of times and his conversations with my parents and me made AU a desirable place to go. Everyone I interacted with showed genuine interest in helping me have a smooth transition to college. I experienced a strong sense of community starting early in my college application process and through all my four years at AU.

What was your favorite class?

A: My favorite class was intermediate lab, which is a requirement for the physics major and is co-taught by three physics faculty. It was so fascinating to carry out experiments that explain fundamental physics discoveries I had learned in lecture. I learned a great deal about handling laboratory equipment and appropriate research practices. Every week, I practiced communication of scientific material either orally or written. All these skills proved to be valuable when I performed summer research.

Did you have a favorite professor?

A: My favorite professor is Dr. Nathan Grau. His passion and enthusiasm for the subject make his lectures a delightful experience. Dr. Grau performs complex physics derivations like nobody's business and makes them manageable to understand. I enjoyed discussing and solving challenging problems in his courses. I appreciated Dr. Grau's availability outside the classroom and his willingness to make time to help us with any questions we had.

What’s your favorite memory during your years at AU?

A: It is hard to pick one among the endless ways to be involved in the AU community. I loved participating in intramural activities with my friends, especially volleyball. Throughout the school year — and thanks to the South Dakota climate — we played walleyball, sand, court, and even mud volleyball! It was really fun to get our minds off school for a moment, and in some occasions, play against some of the faculty.

Do you have a favorite learning experience?

A: Attending the sophomore retreat was a great opportunity for me to reflect on my vocation and spend time thinking about how I wanted to serve the world. I learned about numerous resources available at Augie that would help me succeed in the future. I also served as a mentor at this retreat and enjoyed sharing the questions and aspirations we had regarding our calling with other students.

Now that you’ve graduated, what are you currently doing?

A: I am enrolled in Mayo Clinic Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences’ Ph.D. program through the biomedical engineering and physiology track. The Student Success Center and my professors provided crucial assistance and advice during my graduate school application process. At AU, I enrolled in coursework and summer research that equipped me with the necessary skills to participate in a summer research program at Mayo Clinic and now graduate studies. I am very thankful for the rigorous education I received at AU.