As a senior at Gustavus, Kelsey Swanson is looking forward to the future while enjoying her last few months here on campus. With a passion for learning, helping people and being a mentor for those around her, Kelsey is always there for those who need her and for whoever simply needs someone to listen to.
Kelsey attended the University of Minnesota in the Twin Cities before coming to Gustavus, where she feels perfectly at home.
“I truly love everything about Gustavus. It is not just a school to me. It feels like home,” Kelsey said.
As former President and now Vice-President of the Tau Mu Tau sorority, Co-Conference Chair of Women in Business Leadership and as a member of the tech services team, Kelsey has her hands full with these extra-curricular commitments, her academic schedule and her internship with Thrivent Financial who sponsors the Money Revolution program.
Money Revolution is a student-led group on campus that strives to help educate students about their finances. In her role as an intern, she is a financial advocate for the Gustavus population along with two other students on campus.
“I think my love of helping the people I am around all of the time is a strong contributing factor to why I love being involved in the organizations I am a part of here on campus. I like helping people put their best foot forward and coaching the women around me to be better tomorrow than they are today. I get to do that in all of the things I am involved in,” Kelsey said.
Junior Psychology and Scandinavian Studies Major Kirsten Erickson, a sorority sister and friend of Kelsey, admires her for her leadership skills and strong qualities.
“I see her as a leader not only within our sorority but also in the Gustavus community. She is someone I look up to and I think the rest of GAC should look up to her too. I have seen her in leadership positions within our sorority and outside of it. She continues to impress me with her work ethic and dedication,” Erickson said.
As a mentor and leader, Kelsey strives to better those around her in all ways possible by being the person that others should be.
“Kelsey is a successful leader because she chooses to lead by example. She is not just a role model when she is put in positions where she needs to be, she is a role model for others all the time. Because she is passionate about what she is involved in, she actually cares about what she is doing,” Erickson said.
Aside from helping others, another one of Kelsey’s passions is learning.
“I am just a big nerd. I love everything about school. I love going to class. I love learning. I love homework. I definitely see myself going to school and taking classes for the rest of my life whether it is to earn a degree or simply to learn,” Kelsey said.
Her love of learning is reflected in her success academically. Kelsey was recently selected to present at a conference in Denver, Colo. based on a peer-reviewed paper she co-wrote with Professor Kathi Tunheim of the Economics and Management department. Sprung from Kelsey’s personal interests and passions, the topic of the paper is ”Recruiting and Risk: Female Financial Advisor Candidates.”
“As Kelsey is the first author, she will be presenting the paper in Denver for human resource professionals and academics from all over the world. Very few undergraduates attend and even fewer actually present. It is an honor for both Kelsey and me,” Tunheim said.
“I am really proud of my work on this paper and am extremely excited to be traveling for professional purposes. Traveling professionally in the future would be fun but I think I would prefer traveling for leisure. I guess you cannot always control that,” Kelsey said.
Tunheim, who developed an academic relationship with Kelsey, admires her for her passion to learn and to grow as a person and has had the opportunity to watch her steadily grow academically over the past three years, after first noticing Kelsey in her Organizational Behavior class due to her excellent writing skills.
“One of the things I am most impressed about is her desire to continuously improve. For example, she told me that she took my class so that she could improve her public speaking skills. Instead of shying away from her fear, she challenged herself to work on this skill and improve. I have watched her steadily improve as a speaker the past three years,” Tunheim said.
As well as looking forward to the conference, Kelsey is also excited for the upcoming January Interim Experience when she will be spending the month in Costa Rica in an intensive Spanish language program.
“This will be my last ditch attempt to learn Spanish. I have not taken a class in awhile but it is my goal to become fluent before I graduate. I am half-Mexican so it is important to me as it is part of my background. This will also be my first time traveling out of the country alone so it is like my own little personal conquest,” Kelsey said.
As for the future, Kelsey is not entirely sure where she is headed but knows someday she wants to continue helping and mentoring others as a teacher or a professor.
“Based on what I enjoy doing now, being a teacher or a professor is definitely something I can see myself doing in the future. I am definitely going to miss being here at Gustavus with everyone I love and care about, but I am very excited to see what is next in life,” Kelsey said.