Finding a Bold Future — Kirtana Krishna Kumar

Kirtana Krishna Kumar, Class of 2020

Going to college in a different city or state can come with a bit of culture shock. But, what about if you’re coming from Ghaziabad, India, a city of over 2 million, to Sioux Falls, South Dakota? That’s an entirely different kind of shock. But when Kirtana Krishna Kumar arrived at Augustana, she was quickly comforted by the sense of community she found.

Prior to coming to Augie, Kirtana knew one thing - she wanted a liberal arts education in the United States. However, when looking at colleges and universities, liberal arts is a pretty wide net to cast. 

In her college search, she looked at schools all over the U.S., big and small. When she found Augie, it was because she stumbled upon it online. After looking into the school, she found the International Programs Office.

“My admissions counselor was very helpful, and the people at Augustana were proactive in guiding me through the process of actually getting here,” Kirtana said.

Once she arrived at AU, Kirtana dove in. From getting involved in things like Better Together Interfaith Club, to Serving and Learning Together (SALT), as well as Augustana Student Association. To top it all off, she was voted 2019 Homecoming Queen. 

“Community was such a major part of the positive experience I’ve had here,” she said.

As Kirtana prepares for graduation with degrees from the Biology and Philosophy departments in May of this year, she looks forward to continuing the genetic disorder research that she started here at Augie, and eventually continuing on to graduate school in hopes of becoming a professor in the field of genetics.

“I’m glad I took the chance to come to Augie,” she said, “I am always supported by my professors and other students.” 

That support has been even more important during this spring semester, as classes moved online during the COVID-19 pandemic that has forced the university to operate in a unique and new way.

“For everyone, this is new and the uncertainty can be exhausting. Even though things are not going as planned, I think we all are finding new ways to follow whatever our path is and that is just fine,” said Kirtana.

“I am extremely fortunate to have a set of professors and staff that have been constantly inquiring about my needs and even offered me a family/home during this time.”

Kirtana Krishna Kumar