Leah Olson, MSU-Northern Elementary Education student

When Leah Olson first came to Northern, you might have spotted her maneuvering the ball down the court during a Skylights game, or caught a glimpse of her cheering for her brother Zebat a Northern football game. Olson's involvement at Northern has taken many forms, and she has enjoyed every season of her time spent here. Olson is a senior pursuing her Bachelor's degree in Elementary Education with a minor in reading. She graduated from Whitewater High School but her family's ranch is located directly between Whitewater and Saco in "the middle of nowhere," as Olson puts it. On that secluded ranch, Olson spent many years with her beloved family, learning all she could from each unique person. Olson's mother played basketball and her father and grandmother both played violin. It was at Whitewater High School that Olson was able to explore her inherent athletic abilities. She experimented with volleyball and track, but remained dedicated to her main sport- basketball.

The Skylight basketball team was the main attraction that drew Olson to Northern, and the girls she played alongside very quickly became her good friends and close confidants as she spent hours with her team. Olson expressed fondness for her experience with the Skylights saying, "It was a great experience. It took a lot of work, but it taught me to be a team player, to practice self-discipline, and it strengthened character within me." Though Olson enjoyed three years playing basketball for Northern, she has decided to spend her time differently this year, and is now applying more energy and focus to her studies and musical endeavors.

Olson has been pursuing her family's legacy of musical passion by playing the violin since the seventh grade. Her grandmother was her personal instructor for years. Now Olson sharpens her skills by participating in the local orchestra she heard about through MSUN. She encourages everyone to attend their concert tonight at 7 p.m. at the Fifth Avenue Church.

Besides athletics, education, and the orchestra, Olson has found another joy through MSUN: international travel. Last March, the college offered a historical group trip to Ireland. Olson was able to spend her 21st birthday and St. Patrick's Day on the green isle learning the rich history and taking in breath-taking landscapes.

Overall, Olson has greatly enjoyed her experience at Northern. From the loud, persistent, and passionate crowds in the Armory Gymnasium to the quiet contemplative orchestra audiences, MSUN's family of supporters is one of the best around. Olson said, "I couldn't have asked for more support or for a better learning environment." Olson will student teach in the fall, and will pursue a teaching position in Montana. She hopes to secure a job near her family's home. Olson thanks Northern for giving her the education that will make her dream job a reality and for the fantastic memories that will stay with her for years to come.