First Lutheran Member on 100-Day Journey Down the Mississippi River

By September 27, 2018 Learn, News

Clara Higgins is the first person on the left in the front row!

On August 24th, 15 students, one faculty member and two guides from Augsburg College in Minneapolis, MN, departed on a 100 day expedition down the Mississippi River. One of the 15 students is Clara Higgins, a junior and daughter of Rebecca’s Pfabe, both members of First Lutheran.

The River Semester provides a high-impact educational experience by combining rigorous coursework and a unique, immersive field experience, with strong partnerships all along the Mississippi River.

Augsburg’s River Semester is a model for education in the 21st Century–highly experiential, connected and wired, with project-based and applied learning opportunities for students in the context of an ambitious expedition down one of the world’s iconic waterways. Students end up paddling close to 1,000 river miles, averaging 70 miles per week. Along the way, they will earn a full 16 credits.

“We do this because we think this is the best way to learn both about the Mississippi River, but just the best way to learn in general about what’s going on out in the world,” said Joe Underhill, Associate Professor and director of the River Semester program.

The emphasis of the trip is spending time on the river, not on a given destination, with a slower pace overall and more time for field research and coursework along the way. Weather conditions and encounters along the way will shape the distance covered and the experience of the students.

In addition to rigorous coursework and a unique, immersive field experience, students engage with ecologists, activists, and community members all along the Mississippi River.

You can view the group’s travel itinerary at and follow the expedition on social media via Twitter, @RiverSemester and Instagram, River_Semester.

Kathleen Simley

Author Kathleen Simley

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