Annika Schroder, Biology and Scandinavian Studies Double Major, Class of 2019 Posted on September 27th, 2018 by

Hej alla!

My name is Annika Schroder, and I am a senior Scandinavian Studies and Biology major here at GAC. I think I have a pretty unique upbringing, being that I have a Swedish father and American mother, but also considering that I grew up in Puerto Rico. It was this mixture of cultures in my childhood, and also the lack of Swedish being spoken at home, that really drew me to consider GAC as a potential college. I knew that I wanted to attend a college that would allow me to explore more than just one area of interest. I had always been set on studying the sciences, and it was in high school that I made the conscious decision to attend a college that would allow me to both learn Swedish and more about the Swedish culture, which I feel both connected to and disconnected from in many ways. Through the Department of Scandinavian Studies, I have taken all levels of Swedish (now in advanced- 301) and different cultural courses (Diversity and Social Change in Scandinavia, Nordic Film). I was also able to study abroad at Uppsala University in Uppsala, Sweden during the fall semester of my junior year. This experience was something I looked forward to since the beginning of my career at Gustavus, and it really allowed me to understand Sweden in a much more personal way. While there, I was immersed in the global atmosphere of Uppsala, and still fully aware and learning about Swedish society. While abroad in Sweden, I also made the most of my trip across the pond and completed a JTerm credit through an internship at Karolinska Institute in Solna. During that month long experience, which was sponsored by the Wallenberg Foundation Intern Award, I shadowed midwives, nurses and doctors, as well as got a glimpse of some of the research going on by shadowing graduate students in their labs.

After studying abroad in Sweden, I knew that coming back to the US I wanted to continue to be connected to the country through way of the Department of Scandinavian Studies. I am now both a Swedish language tutor, and also the department’s Academic Assistant.

I would also say that I have been fortunate to study at a school that has given me opportunities that are very specific to the combination of my academic interests. I was able to take a trip to Sweden over this past summer to attend a summer research school for Swedish students. This was held in Karlskoga, where Alfred Nobel lived, and this experience allowed me to learn about science and research in Swedish! Something that I am looking forward to this upcoming year would be attending the Stockholm International Youth Science Seminar in Stockholm in December. I received this opportunity by receiving the SCA Glenn T. Seaborg Award, and through this I will attend several events during Nobel Week, including the prize ceremony and reception.

As a senior, I think a lot about where I will be headed next. While my time at GAC has fostered a passion for exploring the world, I honestly do not know where I will go next. I do know that I am interested in pursuing research in either developmental or cell biology, or animal behavior. It would be great if I could use my experiences from both GAC and studying abroad to return to Sweden one day, and that is something I keep in mind as I continue to ponder about what my next steps will be.


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