Madeline Prestegaard

Community Is My Ambrosian Value

Bachelor of Science in Chemistry, Class of 2022

"The Chemistry department at SAU is incredible. I transferred from a large university and quickly realized SAU is different: the professors are not in it for accolades or to work on research; they genuinely care about educating others, and they care about my success as a student."

Present Madeline with a challenge and she will rise, whether the task is solving a chemistry problem or defeating a rival basketball team. Then, support her every goal, as we do at SAU, and watch Madeline soar.
Madeline Prestegaard

Hometown: Amboy, Illinois

Madeline grew up in a rural farming community, graduating in a class of 32 students, and had plans to play college basketball in Vermont. By the end of her first semester, however, she was craving a more personal education. Madeline was put in touch with our Women's Basketball coach and while visiting campus, she realized that here, she would be known and valued for who she is and challenged to accomplish so much more. "I fell in love," she says.


Why the Chemistry Program?

Opportunities to Explore

Madeline loves puzzles, whether it's a crossword, Sudoku, or matching up every color of a Rubix cube. "Chemistry satisfies the problem-solving aspect of my brain," she says. "Everything has an answer. It's such a concrete science, and all of the other sciences revolve around chemistry." Madeline accepted a summer internship at a distillery, an experience that also solved a puzzle: which chemistry career path to follow? "I am leaning more to an industrial setting and I want to go to grad school," she says. "I loved my internship and my job."

SAU Chemistry Program

group of students

How has your SAU education surprised you?

Here, education is rooted in the liberal arts. Study philosophers, theology, history, or economics. Share your perspective and be open to everything you learn, hear, and feel. And as you grow, we are with you every step of the way. "I've had awesome professors and faculty, too, and even coaches and trainers on the athletics side. St. Ambrose is a good environment to learn in and live in. I feel so supported, even by people I hardly know, which is incredible."

About SAU

Madeline Prestegaard

How are you involved at SAU, and how has that changed you?

Madeline's list includes the "coolest club on campus" – Chemistry Club – and working as a lab assistant. She plays center for Women's Basketball. Training, practice, and games fill much of her free time but Madeline loves every minute. "My teammates are wonderful, and we always have fun, even when our backs are against the wall, we find a way to enjoy the day," she says. "The coaches, training staff, everyone in the office is great to be around." Her activities have taught her a lot about herself, too. "I've learned I can push through things. Basketball brought out my inner strength. It has made me a stronger person."

Become a Fighting Bee

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Why SAU?

Empowering Community

"I preach 'small school' to everyone who turns to me for college advice and I tell everyone about SAU. The professors really care and want you to succeed. No one wants to see you fail. Your education is so individualized," Madeline says. "I don't think I could feel more supported, and by my peers on campus, too. There's always someone I can turn to if I am struggling or just need to talk. St. Ambrose has a way of bringing everyone together. You will always find great people at SAU."

See all SAU offers

So, what's next?

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