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Take a moment to get to know Austin Graber '19, accounting, and president of USI Speaking Eagles Toastermasters. Get his take on life at USI and the Romain College. He also explains more about Toastmasters and what it can do for participants. Toastmasters meets Tuesdays at 4:30 p.m. in BE3033.

Austin standing on the BEC balcony

What makes USI and the Romain College of Business special to you?
The professors all have so much experience in their respective fields and do a great job of passing that on to their students, really preparing them for the next step after college.

What are some of your favorite classes at Romain College and why?
I love Money and Banking class with Dr. Marie Bussing, assistant professor of economics. It’s more of an elective for me than a core accounting class, but it’s nice to have a change of pace and look at economics instead of financial statements. Dr. Bussing always makes class very interesting and interactive.

Why did you choose your current major?
I chose accounting mostly by random chance, I showed up to sign up for classes, and it’s where the dart landed so to speak. Luckily I’ve come to really enjoy it and find it very interesting.

What has surprised you about college?
How much fun it can be!

What do you wish you had known as an incoming freshman?
Which professors to take.

What attributes make a student successful in college?
Hard work and involvement will make your college career 1000 times more successful and fun than scraping by and sitting in your dorm all the time.

As your student organization’s president, what are some things you hope to achieve?
I would love to see more diversity among the group. We have mostly business students and among that a majority of accountants, so it would be awesome to see some new areas of the university coming in.

What made you decide to pursue being an officer of Toastmasters?
I was very motivated by the previous officers to step in and take a leading role. They were all great examples to follow.

Who is your mentor?
My campus minister Kellar Stem has been my mentor from the time I met him early in my first semester here. He has truly shown me what it means to love God, love others, and make disciples of Jesus!

How do you stay focused when the demands of school, work, etc. seem overwhelming?
I really just believe in the Sovereignty of God and that if I’m where he’s calling me to be, I’m going to have the result he wills me to have.

Are there any hidden gems at USI that you think more people should know about?
On campus, Sodexo's hot chocolate is alright. Off campus, there is a Mexican restaurant called El Charro. They’ve got a $7 lunch special that comes with a drink, can’t be beat.   

Tell us more about your student organization and why USI students should get involved with it!
We are all about self-improvement and bettering yourself for the future. Through Toastmasters you can improve your speaking skills, build community, make friends, and gain connections for the rest of your life that will support you for anything you have coming in the future.

Where do you see yourself in ten years?
I’m planning on staying in Evansville for at least five years; after that, it is all up in the air. I’ve thought a lot about being a missionary and that could take me just about anywhere in the world in the next ten years.

Published September 6, 2019