Hardworking. Bold. Passionate.
These are just a few words that define life as a UW-Green Bay student – so it’s no surprise that freshman Gwendolyn Olson easily fits the description. Born and raised in Manitowoc, Gwen has just a three-mile commute to the Manitowoc campus, where she’s pursuing an Applied Associate’s Degree and working towards double majoring in Art and Food Science with an emphasis in crop modification. For someone so involved, the day has to start early – 6 a.m. to be exact. “I tend to wake up [early] so I can go for a run at the campus gym or by the lake. On some mornings, I take my younger brother to school,” Olson says.
Then the real fun begins! Gwen is taking 21 credits this semester with two to four classes on any given day. That’s over the “full-time student” load of 18 credits! Between classes, you can find her in the library studying or working on paper and projects. It’s a packed schedule, but it’s nothing that Olson can’t handle because she has an inspiring and engaging staff, faculty and classmates on her side! “The class sizes are small and you get to know all of your professors on a more personal level. All of my instructors go out of their way to make sure that I am doing okay and have all the resources I need to complete a project,” Gwen said. “I always feel I can go to the staff on campus about anything and they are always willing to help and all the students understand that everyone is in the same boat and are always willing to assist others who are struggling. It’s nice having an atmosphere where people feel the ability to approach a stranger without being judged.”
After her classes are through, Olson finally has time to unwind – with the Gamer’s Guild! As the President of this Dungeons and Dragons group, she pulls together meetups once or twice a week. When she isn’t playing card games, you can find her fulfilling her Vice President duties with the Outdoors Club. Or being a student ambassador. Or running events with the Student Life and Events Coordinator. To say that Gwen likes to be involved and collaborative is an understatement.
But it doesn’t stop there! Somewhere in between the clubs, events and classwork, Olson finds the time for a few jobs. You read right, a few. She splits her time between on-campus jobs as a library assistant and a math tutor, and her off-campus job, a waitress at the local Buffalo Wild Wings. To round out her not-so-free time, Gwen proudly serves in the National Guard.
The UW-Green Bay, Manitowoc Campus has allowed Gwen to find a sense of community in the same city that she previously felt she didn’t fit into: “As a high schooler, I wouldn’t go out with people because it was too expensive or I felt left out. But at UWGB-Manitowoc, [it’s different]. I have gone to Six Flags and met the sweetest young couple from UWGB-Sheboygan that I still keep in touch with. I met my boyfriend at a movie night between the Holy Family and Manitowoc campuses. I feel every time another event occurs my phone has a new contact and a new favorite memory.”
Gwen Olson is a freshman Food Science and Art major at UW-Green Bay, Manitowoc Campus. She is on track to receive her Applied Associate’s Degree in May 2020. After graduation, Gwen plans to continue studying Food Science and work toward her bachelor’s degree.