Meet Robyn (Clemensen) Green '11

Worldwide adventure seeker, independent researcher, Costa Rica guide, patient care assistant, Sioux Falls
— biology major

Q. How did you choose Augustana?

A. Choosing Augustana was a simple decision for me. Throughout high school I was determined to go as far away as possible for college, but as the time to decide came closer, it became more attractive to be close to home and family. I had heard only great things about Augustana's education, so when I was offered an academic scholarship and entrance into the first class of the Civitas Honors Program I couldn't turn it down.

Life at Augie

Q. Favorite class and why?

A. My favorite class at Augie was a study abroad course in Guatemala with Professors David O'Hara and Craig Spencer. We lived in simple houses with dirt floors and sticks for walls, but I learned so much about love and community in that poverty-stricken town. Besides, that's where I met my husband, Rob. We go back and visit our host families and friends nearly every year.

Q. Favorite professor and why?

A. I can't choose just one. I've had so many incredible professors, and nearly four years after college, Rob and I continue to learn from and with our professors regularly over a coffee or a beer.

Q. Best Augie memory?

A. Rob and I were in the midst of a wild riot in London while studying abroad our senior year when he grabbed my hand and led me to safety. As cheesy as it sounds, that was the moment that it all began for us and I love reminiscing on that day.

After Augie          

Q. Tell us about your journey after graduating from Augustana – first job, grad school, travel, etc.?

A. Immediately after graduating from Augustana, I took a job with Operation Smile which allowed me to travel to 20 countries around the world helping to coordinate cleft lip and cleft palate repair missions. It was an incredibly formative experience, and one that began as a result of my volunteer position with Operation Smile that was designed as my vocation project for the Civitas Program. I held this position for two years during which I traveled about 60% of the year. Then after marrying my husband in 2012 I decided to seek a position where I could be stateside more often than not and took a position at Vance Thompson Vision. We couldn't give up traveling entirely though, and we made it a priority to sneak away for a couple of months each year for some kind of adventure.

Q. Tell us about your career – what’s an average day like?

A. What I love about what I do is that every day is a bit different. In the summertime my husband and I guide students in Costa Rica with Lifeworks International, and the rest of the year I split my time between doing research at Vance Thompson Vision and working as a patient care assistant at Sanford Health. No two days are alike and I learn so much from the new things I set out to do.

Q. Greatest challenges and best rewards of your current role?

A. Balance, and balance. Being a perfectionist, it's extremely challenging to do multiple positions well, but having that balance between burying my face in research articles and hiking volcanoes with students in Costa Rica is greatly rewarding. There's a simple quote I like from Paolo Coelho that reads, "If you think adventure is dangerous, try routine. It is lethal." I enjoy living a life in which I can learn something new every single day.

Q. Greatest professional accomplishment thus far?

A. In December of 2014 I became the first woman to circumnavigate the Caribbean island of Martinique without a motor. I was part of a team of five that rounded the island on stand up paddleboards in 12 days while raising money for reforestation efforts.

Q. What’s next for you professionally?

A. My experience with Operation Smile, along with my constant yearning to learn has led me to explore a career in the medical field. After all of the medical missions abroad I find myself called to care for those who need it in my own community. I'm currently enrolled in an EMT course through Avera McKennan Hospital and plan to begin graduate school in the medical field in 2016.

Q. If you could offer a prospective or existing Augie student some advice, what would you say?

A. Pursue a passion rather than a job. In my experience, your passions can sustain you financially, especially when you're creative. Your passion will show through in your work, and you will be successful in whatever you set out to do.

At Home

Q. Tell us about your family.

A. My parents are both from South Dakota and have raised my brother and I to be proud of where we come from. My mother is a retired pharmacist, and my father works for LifeScape. My older brother works for Sanford Profile will be getting married in June of 2015. Rob and I got married in a field near Brandon in 2012 and have enjoyed living in Sioux Falls near our families since then.

Q. What’s given you the greatest personal satisfaction since graduating from Augie? And why?

A. I've been blessed with many travel experiences abroad, and to be able to travel with my husband for much of that time has been ultimately satisfying. We met on the road, and we find that we grow the most when we're stretched to our limits and thousands of miles from home. To be able to share those experiences with each other brings us even closer and we will always treasure the memories we have from each adventure.

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. Because of the student to faculty ratio at Augie, Rob and I were able to get to know nearly all of our professors on a personal level. For me it was the high standard of example that I saw in my professors that instilled the five core values as a precedent for life after college. And since we're still in Sioux Falls, we know that they can still track us down so that too helps to keep us on our best behavior.