Anna Lundsten: Global Ambition


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Comfortable with the uncomfortable: Senior Anna Lundsten is seen here in Uganda while studying abroad in summer 2018. “She has helped so many people all over the world and will continue to do so throughout her life,” said junior Emily Sharpe, a swim teammate of Lundsten.  Photo contributed by Anna Lundsten.

Comfortable with the uncomfortable: Senior Anna Lundsten is seen here in Uganda while studying abroad in summer 2018. “She has helped so many people all over the world and will continue to do so throughout her life,” said junior Emily Sharpe, a swim teammate of Lundsten.
Photo contributed by Anna Lundsten.

Senior Anna Lundsten took on a challenge when she was 12. Originally from Minnesota, Lundsten told herself she had to at least go 1,000 miles away for college and not know anyone in the state or surrounding states.

“I just wanted to see if I could do it,” Lundsten said.

With that challenge met, Lundsten has continued to push herself to new limits over the past four years at California Lutheran University. She will graduate as a triple major in global studies, political science and psychology. Lundsten has also been captain of Regal’s swim for the past three years, is a departmental assistant for global studies and is involved in the psychology and adventure clubs.

Additionally, Lundsten works  off campus at Class Aquatics and a swim shop. She also used to work on campus as a tutor. 

Lundsten’s intentions were never to be a triple major, but she found a passion in both psychology and global studies and decided a double major would be the best fit.

That was her plan through her sophomore year until her academic adviser Haco Hoang told her she could graduate a semester early. Lundsten decided she didn’t want to give up on swimming and wanted to stay the full four years, so she took on a third major, political science.

Hoang describes Lundsten as the gold standard with her combination of diligent work ethic, outstanding academic skills, high level of emotional capability and communication skills.

“[Lundsten’s] experiences have clarified and solidified who she is. She’s always been very passionate about social justice, global engagement and global understanding, and I think at CLU she’s really been able to make effective use of those experiences and live out her purpose in that way,” Hoang said.

Even with a triple major, Lundsten found time to study abroad in Rwanda, Uganda and Tanzania through the School for International Training program. She said she loved the program because it was focused on experiential learning.

“I really wanted a unique program when I studied abroad. No one had ever done this before at Cal Lutheran. It’s definitely a program where you have to be very emotionally strong because of the specific content you’re learning. It was incredible to be able to see some of the things I did– it’s not usually a privilege people get in their lifetime,” Lundsten said.

Gregory Freeland, chair of the global studies department,  conducted research on a cultural project with Lundsten when she studied abroad in Rwanda. Freeland was impressed with Lundsten’s ability to adapt to her new surroundings despite standing out in a foreign country.

“She stands out in these cultures. She’s tall and blonde, but she’s learned to be comfortable,” Freeland said.

Lundsten’s swim teammate junior Emily Sharpe said Lundsten was one of her first friends at Cal Lutheran.

“Anna is one of the kindest people I know and she puts herself in positions to help other people. She helped me calm down at my first SCIAC championship, and she has helped so many people all over the world and will continue to do so throughout her life,” Sharpe said.

Sharpe said Lundsten has set a fine example of what to bring to each practice: leadership and positivity.

“We will miss the energy she brings and her kind spirit,” Sharpe said.

After Lundsten graduates, she will enter the Peace Corps for a two-and-a-half year program in Malawi. She departs June 8. The program is focused on women empowerment and female education, two of her main interests.

Lundsten said she’s not nervous to be moving to a foreign country. Rather, she is “anxiously anticipating” it and preparing to teach in a classroom.

“You have to be comfortable with being uncomfortable, really. It’s a totally different life you’re living,” Lundsten said. “You just have to accept it, understand it and be okay with it.”

Rosie Riehl
Reporter