Meet our spring 2023 Standout Student

St. Norbert gives students the opportunity to experience the richness of college life, pursue their dreams and expand their knowledge of the world. Every quarter, the St. Norbert Fund profiles a Standout Student who is making the most of that opportunity.

Name: Gabriel Olsen

Major: Business Administration, Accounting

Graduation date: December 2022

Hometown: Glenbeulah, Wis.

Organizations, activities and awards: Cross Country, Track & Field, Dean's List

How St. Norbert helped me get the most from my college education:
I came in declared as an accounting major. I took almost every single business class at my high school except for one, so I was almost a second semester sophomore standing coming in with the number of credits I had. My advisor and accounting professor, Amy Vandenberg, told me I should consider adding a minor because I would be taking a lot of core classes my senior year and it might be a bit boring. I decided to add computer science because I love video games, and I always wanted to learn to code and potentially make one. I had no coding background going in, and 
it took a while to understand it at first, but eventually it clicked for me. The professors did a great job explaining everything to me. I really enjoyed it.

As I went on with the accounting major and minor in computer science, I found
 out with just an additional semester I could make that minor a major. Then I discovered I could have a third major with a few extra classes, a business and finance degree. A lot of the classes were the same, so I figured it would be beneficial to go for it.

What my scholarships meant to me:
When I was looking at colleges to attend, there were some cheaper options. And when I applied to St. Norbert, I didn’t even know I was going to get a scholarship.
 So, I was happily surprised when they gave me the Presidential Scholarship, which guaranteed the same amount of money all four years. I got half that amount for my final, ninth semester as well. It helped a lot with reducing the cost.
Who helped me on my journey:
My biggest mentors were my cross country and track and field coaches. They had a big role in how hard I pushed myself in
 my academics. You’re working out and practicing five days a week and then meets on Saturdays that can be up to six-hour drives one way. I had to have the work ethic to be able to fit that all in around classes. And Coach Augustine and Coach Krug made sure academics came first. For the freshmen and sophomores on the team, they have a strict program to ensure the team stays on track as they adapt from high school to college. Professor Vandenberg, Bonnie McVey and Kyle Diederich (Computer Science) all helped a ton with schedules. I visited them in office hours and they made it easy to have a connection. They were there to answer any questions and help me navigate my different classes.
Plans for the future:
I had an internship last summer with Huberty CPAs and that experience carried on through the school year. My role was focused on data analytics, so it worked out again that I got to do a little bit from all my majors. We did a lot of valuation work for clients. I had to understand how all their accounts work together. I had some projects that while not actually coding, still required me to understand how coding works. I then got a full-time offer from Huberty as an accounting consultant.

I’ll be doing a lot of tax work to get that background, and if I enjoy it, I might continue with it. Otherwise, I might be going back to the data analytics position. Eventually I would love to open my own local game store. I want to have a business, and I think it would be a great way to bring all my interests and skills together. But that’s a long way off.
How my education prepared me for my future endeavors:
The critical thinking involved with my majors was really stressed at St. Norbert. They gave me prompts, but it was up to me to decide how to solve the problem. That prepares you for real-world applications when you are counted on to find solutions. It taught me that if I have a problem to just start breaking it down into smaller steps, so I’m not overwhelmed.