Q&A With Past Chapel President Rachel Wiener '07

Rachel Wiener, Augustana Class of 2007

Rachel Wiener '07 with Ryan. Five years ago, Wiener cared for Ryan in the NICU. They still keep in touch today. 

Meet Rachel Wiener, Class of 2007
— Past Chapel President

Q. Where are you now? Please share your location and job title, and provide a description of what your position entails (chief responsibilities, etc.).

A. I'm living in Philadelphia, working at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia as a neonatal nurse practitioner in the Newborn/Infant Intensive Care Unit. In the NICU we care for critically ill babies, both those born too early and those with congenital defects or complex diseases. I work with an amazing team of smart, innovative, compassionate people dedicated to caring for the world's tiniest humans and their families — and I couldn't be any luckier.

At Augustana, faith is certainly nurtured in Chapel, but it is also nourished throughout campus — in our classrooms and labs, in rehearsals and at practice, in quite consultation with professors and staff, in our residence halls and in countless other places. Please share a bit about how Campus Ministry at Augustana influenced your life. Please also share how your faith was nurtured outside of Chapel — by professors in class, by peer advisors, by friends, through participation in clubs or intramurals, etc.
One of the things I love about Augustana is that faith is nourished everywhere, and that was certainly true for me! When I arrived at Augie, I was a scared freshman and very homesick. I first got involved in chapel and campus ministry because I was searching for a place to call home, a place to center my faith and build a community. Growing up in a home that centered around God and our faith, it felt natural to search for that in chapel, and I certainly found it there. Chapel and campus ministry provided a safe place to explore what my faith meant to me and how I could make it my own, and also provided a community of love and support at a time I needed it most. What surprised me was that I also found that in other parts of my journey. During my four years at Augie, I found community, love and support everywhere — in the classroom, in conversations with professors, staff and fellow students, in the residences halls, and working at the Elmen. I found faith at Augustana to be ubiquitous, found in every corner of campus, every day.

Q. How does Faith continue to serve as your compass?

A. I am very lucky to have found a great church here in Philadelphia, and have found great community through attending and serving here. I try live and serve as Christ did, knowing I'm a sinner and I fail over and over! However, the good news is that God's grace is sufficient, made perfect in weakness, as it says in 2 Cor. 12:9. We all do the best we can, loving and serving those around us in our words and actions.

Q. How as your faith helped you navigate through life's changes and challenges?

A. Without my faith, I honestly can say I don't know where I would be! Life has brought many challenges and heartaches and through every one of them, God has been constant, never changing or wavering. He has proven over and over again that His plans for my life are bigger and better than any plan I can ever fathom or imagine! One of my favorite songs is one by Kari Jobe, and the lyrics state, "Lord I know that you are for me, and I know that you have come now, even if to write upon my heart, and remind me of who you are." So many times I have been faced with a burden I just don't think I have the strength to bear, and then God steps in and reminds me who He is, that He is FOR me. Just like He was there for the Israelites and kept His promise to never leave or forsake them, He has kept that promise for me throughout my life.

Q. Who was your most inspiring professor at Augie, and why?

A. This is a tough question because I am so thankful for every professor I had at Augie! However, as a nursing major, I would have to say my nursing professors are most inspiring. They are some of the most dedicated, compassionate people I have ever met … working tirelessly to educate and shape nurses to go into the world and truly care for others. I am the nurse I am today because of them and the lessons they taught both in and out of the classroom.

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

A. For me, this question is answered by my career, which has become my calling. I just finished my Doctorate in Nursing Practice at Creighton University, and am proud to say that I have finally reached a point where I am done going back to school! Although this degree won't change my current job as a nurse practitioner, I'm excited to explore more research, leadership and teaching opportunities down the road. Beyond my education, however, I take great joy in going to work every day. I am so honored to get to walk beside my patients and their families as they navigate the chaotic, scary and emotional experience of having a child in the NICU. The NICU is a tough place, often laced with sadness and grief, but it is also filled with hope. That hope is what keeps all of us in this field going! Every day I get to see hope turn into miracles and breakthroughs for these tiny babies, and I consider myself extremely lucky.