Meet Rev. Kara Wiechmann '07
Assistant pastor of Tri-County Ministry, North Dakota
— religion major
Q. How did you choose Augustana?
A. Well, I filled out the free application and mailed it from Germany, where I was living as a foreign exchange student for my senior year. I knew Augie was a good school, so when I found out I was accepted, I literally threw all the other applications piled on my desk into recycling. Almost a year later, when I finally showed up in person to finish paperwork, I walked on campus and knew I was where I was supposed to be.
Life at Augie
Q. Favorite class and why?
A. I had several favorites, but one of my religion classes that I took as a freshman sticks out. Dr Richard Swanson was teaching us about interpretation, so we read and watched different versions of the Cinderella story. That was the class where I really learned to think outside the box and how to debate while remaining deeply respectful of others and their opinions.
Q. Favorite professor and why?
A. I really liked Dr David O'Hara. I had a philosophy minor and studied Greek in preparation for seminary, so I ended up taking several classes with him. I always enjoyed drinking tea during class.
Q. Best Augie memory?
A. So many possibilities...but as I think about all the memories, all of them are spending time with people. No one memory sticks out. My time at Augustana is one big slideshow with several highlights as I worked, studied and played.
Q. Tell us about your journey after graduating from Augustana – first job, grad school, travel, etc.?
A. After graduation, I went to Europe for a month to visit my host family and friends in Germany. I started at Luther Seminary the fall after May graduation. I was in Minnesota for the four years of my seminary education, after which I was ordained and accepted a call in rural North Dakota.
Q. Tell us about your career – what’s an average day like?
A. I am one of two full-time pastors serving seven congregations in an ecumenical parish. I travel a lot between small towns and farms to visit parishioners, teach Bible studies, and lead worship.
Q. Greatest challenges and best rewards of your current role?
A. I think my greatest challenge is the need to meet so many people across a large area, but I have been blessed to meet intelligent, generous people who invite me into their lives. I love watching people learn more about and grow into their faith, whether they are five or eighty-five.
Q. Greatest professional accomplishment thus far?
A. I hate to choose, but I always like when people have seen me at one pastoral act and invite me to join their family and share in another one, whether baptisms, funerals or weddings.
Q. What’s next for you professionally?
A. I'm always looking at continuing education opportunities to help me grow as a pastor and an educated person.
Q. If you could offer a prospective or existing Augie student some advice, what would you say?
A. Be willing to be open to what might come your way. My favorite memories often were connected with experiences that I heard about and thought "Huh, that sounds interesting. Why not?"
Q. What’s given you the greatest personal satisfaction since graduating from Augie? And why?
A. I find great satisfaction in always trying new activities and seeing new places. I love to travel, especially with family and friends. I like expanding my horizons, anything from learning to crochet to going on hikes. I also like to make new memories by visiting beautiful countries like Iceland or seeing tourist attractions across the USA.
Q. A foundation for life at Augustana begins with our five core values – Christian Faith, Liberal Arts, Excellence, Community and Service. How did your time at Augustana help to ensure those values remain central in your life?
A. Part of the reason why I liked attending Augustana so much was the emphasis on becoming a well-rounded person who always puts forth the best possible effort. I learned that my faith and beliefs are connected to how I study and live as part of not just one small community but world.