Students work with Make-A-Wish, Mayo Clinic


Embarking on internships across the country this past summer,  Augustana students gained experience within their fields and brought new skills into the world. Here are three such students:

Darwin García

Mayo Clinic chose Darwin García, a senior physics and math major, for a competitive internship its clinic in Rochester, Minn. He researched biomedical engineering through their summer program.

The program was called “Surf”— Summer of Undergraduate Research Fellowship, and his mentor was Dr. Cynthia McCollough, the director of Mayo Clinic’s CT Clinical Innovation Center.

Darwin combined his experience in physics with Computed Tomography (CT), which took images of the abdomen in order to better diagnose and treat kidney stones.

García worked on a project that focused on better workflow for the machine.

“It gave me a chance to see what a career in the field that I want to go into is like,” García said. “And it was reassuring because I liked it and I enjoyed my work.”

“It was something like where I would leave and then I would be excited to come back the next day and keep working on it.”

García also has a message for other students looking into similar researching programs.

“I would like to encourage other Augie students to apply to it, because it’s a cool experience. You learn a lot, not only about the research you do, but also about the field [of biomedical engineering].”

García is presenting on his internship at 3 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 28 in FSC room 374.


Madigan Moore

Madigan Moore worked with multiple sclerosis (MS) specialist and Augustana alumnus Dr. Eric Klawiter at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston this summer.

Her personal project was measuring the volume of the thalamus and its relationship with MS.

“I learned a lot more about neurology, which is a field that I haven’t had a big exposure to yet,” Moore said.

Moore said “medicine and research intersect, and the clinical setting is a different way that research interacts with medicine because it’s taking the research and really bringing it to the patient. I really wanted to be a part of that service aspect of it.”

As she shadowed in the clinic, Moore noticed the doctors’ empathy for their patients. She said it was reaffirming for her to see other medical professionals with the true goal of serving others.

“Medicine only goes as far as the research we have right now,” Madigan remarks and later adds, “A good doctor knows medicine, but a good doctor also cares for their patients.”

Madigan described the doctors she met during her internship as “people who were servants, leaders and advocates for their patients. It was the best summer.”


Grace Fjellanger

Senior Grace Fjellanger interned with Make-A-Wish South Dakota.

“It was the best internship I’ve had,” Fjellanger said. “They totally catered it to what I was interested in, by letting me do social media.”

Grace even got the chance to manage one of Make-A-Wish’s biggest summer fundraisers, Hot Harley Nights, after her supervisor fell ill and was unable to manage the event.

“I thought if I can do that, I can do anything I set my mind to,” Fjellanger said.

Fjellanger said that because the office is behind Sanford Children’s Hospital, she saw many kids come through after their appointments.

A three or four-year-old girl named Melody stood out to Fjellanger who says she loved to wear a tiara and march in the Wish Room, knowing exactly where the candy and toys were kept.

“She walked around and was just the sassiest little thing in the world,” Fjellanger said.

Thinking back on her experience Grace said, “Seeing the wish kids was probably one of my favorite things.”

Leave a Reply

Blog at

%d bloggers like this: