Finding a Bold Future — Courtney Chrystal

Image of AU student Courtney Chrystal

Courtney Chrystal

Meet Courtney Chrystal, Class of 2023

For Courtney Chrystal, the people she is close with have always been the number one priority in her life. Even at a young age, making sure her friends and family felt cared for was at the top of her list. When her sister’s child was born prematurely, she knew that she wanted to make caring for people a career.

As a freshman at Augustana University, Chrystal is a double major in biology and government & international affairs. That might seem like a strange combination of major programs, but Chrystal will tell you that it is very intentional.

What those two programs have in common is Chrystal’s passion for bringing healthcare to underserved populations, such as Native American reservations where quality care is often hard to come by. But to understand the need for these services, Chrystal wants to understand the laws and regulations that have prevented these areas from consistently getting what they need.

This may sound like Chrystal came to Augustana with her path all figured out, but that isn’t true. There were major bumps along the way. When Chrystal was in high school, her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer.

If choosing a college wasn’t stressful enough, a diagnosis as serious as this surely added to the pressure. But fortunately for Chrystal, the opportunity to come to Augustana was too much to ignore.

So when the time came to make it official, Chrystal collaborated with the Admission team to make a truly special memory. During one of her mom’s followup visits, Chrystal and the Admission team surprised her at the hospital to share the news with her, which was a celebratory moment for mom.

“For me, it’s always been about caring for people,” said Chrystal, “and I feel so supported here at Augustana.”

In addition to her studies, Chrystal is a member of the Augustana Spirit Squad, has done internships with South Dakota Sen. Mike Rounds, and is a member of the Augustana Student Association (ASA).

“Augie offered me the opportunity to explore new ideas and new relationships,” Chrystal said.

“It’s allowed me to be the person my mom raised me to be.”