You don’t have to spend much time on the campus of Gustavus Adolphus College to recognize its many connections with Sweden. Besides the fact that the College is named after a 17th century King of Sweden, there are a number of facilities and programs on campus named after Swedish dignitaries.
Programs and events such as the Nobel Conference, the Wallenberg Lecture, the Scandinavian Studies Department, the Semester in Sweden study abroad program, and the Out of Scandinavia Artist-in-Residence program enrich the Gustavus experience for many students. This January, students Elizabeth Johnson ’14, Ellen Krueger ’14, and William Metcalf ’15 are taking advantage of the newest program with Swedish ties as they are all three interning in Sweden as part of the Wallenberg Scholars program.
The program is made possible thanks to a generous $200,000 grant from the Marcus and Amalia Wallenberg Foundation as well as a number of Gustavus alumni and friends of the College working and living in Sweden who made contacts on behalf of the current Gustavus students.
Johnson, a senior management and communication studies double major from Plymouth, Minn., is interning at Friends Agenda, a public relations and communications agency in Stockholm. Johnson has been focused on a project related to Stockholm’s Food Forum, EAT, a conference dedicated to discourse regarding sustainable food production, distribution, and consumption. Johnson has also been working with Sweden’s largest telecommunications firm, Ericcson, writing and editing copy for a booklet to be used at a business development conference.
“I have appreciated my time at Friends Agenda because it has broadened my scope of understanding when it comes to strategic communication. Gustavus provided me with a comprehensive business and communications foundation and my time in Sweden has allowed me to leverage those skills and apply them in an international setting,” Johnson said. “As graduation quickly approaches, I feel more prepared than ever to begin a career with an enhanced global perspective.”
Krueger, a management major from Maple Grove, Minn., is spending this January interning at Cambio Healthcare Systems, an eHealth company in Stockholm. Krueger has been working on a time allocation project and participating in video conferences with employees from all around the globe.
“I have had an incredible experience here and I have been learning a tremendous amount about the operations of a dynamic Swedish global company,” Krueger said. “I was interested in this opportunity because I have never worked in the healthcare industry before and I thought it would give me a different perspective on operations. There are so many things I am going to take away from this experience: new meaningful relationships, a better understanding of Sweden’s work/life balance, a sense of independence, and strengthened technological skills.”
Metcalf, a junior geography major from Overland Park, Kan., is interning at Green Tech Park, a business park that works on regional and national sustainability projects.
“I’ve been attending a lot of meetings and seminars regarding biogas use and sustainable development in Sweden,” Metcalf said. “In traveling around I’ve also established some academic, public sector, and private sector connections so that future Wallenberg Scholars have some opportunities to choose from.”
While this year’s group of Wallenberg Scholars are doing drastically different work in Sweden this January, they do have some things in common. All three had previously studied abroad in Sweden, they are all active in various student organizations on campus, and have all been greatly influenced by faculty mentors.
Metcalf lives in the Swedish House on campus, is involved with the Viking Society and the Outdoor Enthusiasts.
“My favorite thing to do on campus is go for walks and nap in my hammock in the Arboretum and I don’t know if I could find that kind of peace on many other campuses,” Metcalf said. “Professors Jeff Jeremiason and Laura Triplett have really shaped my experience here. I’ve had Jeff for two chemistry courses and worked in his lab last summer. He has given me a lot of great opportunities. Laura was my academic advisor for my geology major before I changed things up. This past year I was really flopping around with what I wanted to do, but she was patient and didn’t let me get away with any choices that weren’t at least well thought out.”
Johnson is co-chair of the Gustavus Women in Leadership Conference, a Peer Career Adviser in the Career Center, and a member of the Gustavus Ambassadors. Another important part of Johnson’s Gustavus experience was researching women in management in Sweden with Professor Kathi Tunheim. Johnson and Tunheim traveled to Sweden to collect data in July 2012 and submitted their research to the International Leadership Association. In October 2013 they had the opportunity to travel to Montreal to present their findings and participate in a panel discussion with scholars from across the country to discuss the current state of affairs for women in the international world.
“Kathi is a truly remarkable professor because she brings out the best in her students,” Johnson said. “She has a gift for fostering growth and nurturing skills within Gusties. Kathi has been a profoundly influential mentor to me throughout all four years I’ve been at Gustavus.”
Krueger is minoring in Scandinavian Studies while at Gustavus and is also active in Gustavus Ambassadors and Gustavus Women in Leadership. She says a number of professors have challenged, inspired, and guided her during her four years on the hill.
“Kathi Tunheim, Kjerstin Moody, and Kristian Braekkan are a few who have impacted me greatly, but there have been many more who have shaped the person I am today,” Krueger said. “Gustavus Adolphus College is an extremely magical place. I love the sense of community and the people I have met throughout my four years. I feel extremely blessed with all the opportunities the College has provided for me. I am so very lucky I have a place I can always call home.
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