Meet the Admissions Fellows

The Admissions Fellows are St. Olaf juniors and seniors who provide diverse perspectives of student life and insight into the admissions process. In addition to supporting the efforts of the Admissions officers, the fellows give tours, conduct interviews with prospective students, and present group information sessions. They enjoy meeting prospective students and families and telling their stories of well-rounded life at St. Olaf.

Tala AlRaheb ’16

Bethlehem, Palestine

Tala hails from Bethlehem, Palestine, and her Lutheran heritage and a year of study in the United States during high school led her to St. Olaf College. While a high school exchange student in Wisconsin, Tala fell in love with America and decided to complete her undergraduate degree in Minnesota, despite the sometimes subzero temperatures.

Academically, Tala pursues both psychology and religion majors. While she appreciates each discipline in and of itself, Tala is also interested in the psychology of religion. She currently participates in two research projects on campus: one studying stress and another studying the psychology of faith development. With the help of the Piper Center, Tala obtained an internship in counseling psychology back home in Bethlehem. This experience affirmed her interest in working with people suffering from trauma and encouraged her to pursue a career in counseling.

In her free time, Tala enjoys going on walks in the St. Olaf Natural Lands, reading, and traveling. She leads Oles for Justice in Palestine on campus, participates in several other religion-oriented clubs, and is still an active member of her congregation in Bethlehem. Tala frequently speaks on the topics of politics, women, and Christianity in the Middle East to both churches and community organizations.

Extracurricular Activities:

  • President, Oles for Justice in Palestine
  • Interfaith Coalition
  • Theology Club
  • Undergraduate research

Griffin Edwards ’17

Encinitas, California

Griffin was born and raised in the San Diego, CA, area. He chose St. Olaf because of its community atmosphere and international focus. A veteran of the Great Conversation and member of the inaugural year of the Public Affairs Conversation, Griffin is majoring in Russian language and international development, the latter an independent major created with the Center for Integrative Studies (CIS).

In uniquely St. Olaf fashion, he has dabbled in campus music (Viking Chorus and playing mandolin in student bands), political activism, and leadership roles in the Russian Department. Last summer, he and three other students participated in a St. Olaf humanities research project in Moscow, Russia, studying modern theater. In addition, this interim, he worked as a legal clerk at the Institute for Justice in Minneapolis through the Public Affairs Conversation’s internship program.

Griffin believes that the welcoming spirit he first felt when he stepped on campus is integral to the St. Olaf experience, and now works to extend that same warmth to admissions guests. He is passionate about his role as an admissions fellow, as it affords him the chance to work closely with prospective students to see if St. Olaf is a good fit for them.

Extracurricular Activities:

  • President of Young Americans for Liberty
  • Writer for The PoliticOle
  • Researcher for the St. Olaf CURI Program
  • DJ for KSTO Radio
  • Member of the St. Olaf Russian Honor House

Wenie Lado ’16

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Wenie was born in Cairo, Egypt and her moved to the United States when she was three years old. She spent most of her life growing up in Milwaukee, WI. Surprisingly, the cold weather of Minnesota did not keep her from becoming an Ole!

Growing up, Wenie always wanted to become a teacher, and in high school, she discovered her love of music. Wenie is currently studying Vocal Performance and could not be any more thankful for the support and guidance that the Music Department has given her.Throughout her time at St. Olaf, she has taken three languages, French, Arabic, and Italian. This newfound passion for learning languages has Wenie planning to continue studying Arabic after college in hopes of become a translator.

Aside from studying languages and participating in music, Wenie likes to spend time with her friends. She loves to laugh and still has not ruled out a career as a comedian! Wenie always has a smile on her face and loves to meet new people and hear about their life experiences, and – as an Admissions Fellow – the interets and aspirations that draw high school students to St. Olaf.

Extracurricular Activities:

  • Member of the St. Olaf Choir
  • Member of the African Chorus
  • Student in the TRiO Student Support Services Program

Kaelie Lund ’16

Greenfield, Minnesota

A native Minnesotan, Kaelie found St. Olaf to be a perfect match based on her passion for social justice and studying abroad. Kaelie soon found her niche in the social sciences, double-majoring in sociology/anthropology and women’s and gender studies. Halfway through her time at St. Olaf, she fell in love with studying family theory and decided to add a family studies concentration.

During her sophomore year, Kaelie completed 40 hours of training to become a Minnesota-certified sexual and domestic assault advocate. With the help of St. Olaf’s Piper Center for Vocation and Career, Kaelie interned at Tubman, a domestic violence shelter in Minneapolis. She currently volunteers for a domestic violence shelter in Faribault, MN and co-leads St. Olaf’s Sexual Assault Resource Network.

In true liberal arts fashion, Kaelie combined her love of writing and photography to create Humans of St. Olaf, a blog similar to Humans of New York. Despite her busy schedule, Kaelie always has time to shred on the ukulele, climb a few routes on St. Olaf’s climbing wall, or share a cup of coffee with friends new and old.

Extracurricular Activities:

  • Co-Chair of St. Olaf’s Sexual Assault Resource Network (SARN)
  • Member of the St. Olaf Chapel Choir
  • Photographer and Writer for Humans of St. Olaf
  • Women’s and Gender Studies Department Student Worker
  • Studied abroad on St. Olaf Global Semester + Morocco for a January Interim

Corey Ruder ’16

Roseville, California

Born and raised in Roseville, Corey opted for the seasonal variation and welcoming attitude of the Midwest when she decided to become an Ole.

Enjoying the broad range of classes offered at St. Olaf, Corey fulfilled many of the requirements for her environmental studies major through a semester-long program in Australia, but also takes courses in gender studies and Japanese. When she’s not busy doing research in the Biology department or running the Ole Thrift Shop (her own small business on campus), she can often be found boxing in Tostrud Center, our athletic facility.

Even with a packed schedule, though, she believes there’s always time for a break; her sweet tooth often leads her to Cake Walk in downtown Northfield. And in her spare time Corey works on advancing her scuba diving certification and makes snow angels.

Her friends still can’t quite grasp Corey’s extreme fascination with snow.

Extracurricular Activities:

  • Ole Thrift Shop Co-founder/Owner
  • Boxing Club
  • Undergraduate research

Bryce Kaleiokalaihai’ia Sadarananda ’16

Kailua, Hawai’i

Many people think of Hawai’i as a place Minnesotans go to escape winter. Kalei Sadarananda went the other direction. Thanks to an influential high school English teacher and Kalei’s passion for Dostoevsky and Nabokov, he was initially attracted to St. Olaf for the Great Conversation program. Four years later, Kalei is majoring in biology and chemistry, with a concentration in biomedical studies.

While he’d certainly enjoy reading in the quad all day, K​alei’s long­-term goal is medical school, and he spends many of his days conducting research in the labs of Regents Hall. Serendipity sparked Kalei’s interest in research with Assistant Professor of Chemistry Dr. Dipannita Kalyani, and working in the Kalyani Group has taught Kalei tenacity and resilience. He has been fortunate to have the opportunity to learn and grow from the trials and tribulations of research, and Kalei is now a peer mentor to new research students and a teaching assistant for the organic chemistry labs.

As a peer mentor and teaching assistant leading younger scientists in the lab, Kalei has developed a love of both research and teaching. He is grateful to the entire St. Olaf community for fostering his development at the unique intersection of medicine, service, research, and teaching.

Extracurricular Activities:

  • Mentor at St. Paul Humboldt Secondary School through TriO
  • Studied abroad with Global Medical Brigades in Honduras + Peruvian Medical Experience
  • Organic Synthesis Lab and Human Anatomy/Physiology Teaching Assistant
  • Research in Organometallic Catalysis

Bishwas S

Bishwas Sharma ’16

Pokhara, Nepal

Bishwas came to St. Olaf from a small mountain valley in Nepal called Pokhara. After completing high-school in Nepal, he decided he wanted to leave the comforts of home and travel to a new place and culture to further his education.

A biology and chemistry double major, Bishwas has participated in various research projects at St. Olaf with both chemistry and biology professors. Even with his major interests in scientific research, Bishwas loves the liberal arts curriculum at St. Olaf and has especially enjoyed classes in theater, history, philosophy and mathematics. When not in Regents Hall of Natural Sciences, he likes to go running in Skoglund or take a walk into downtown Northfield.

Bishwas is one of the 25 percent of Oles involved in a Conversation program. One of his favourite courses so far has been the Science Conversation, an interdisciplinary discussion-based class about the interplay of science and religion in society.

His most memorable college moments include late-night sledding down Thorson Hill before finals,  a college road trip to New Mexico during spring break, and polar plunging in St. Olaf’s Natural Lands. An Ole with a great sense of humor, Bishwas enjoys meeting new people and sharing stories — natural traits for an Admissions Fellow.

Extracurricular Activities:

  • Celebrate South Asia! Club
  • Resident Assistant in Rand Hall
  • International Students Organization
  • Undergraduate research

Nora S

Nora Serres ’16

Duxbury, Massachusetts

Nora was looking for a change from the east coast and found her way to St. Olaf through her interest in music and love for the feeling of community on campus. St. Olaf has been an amazing place to explore her passions both on and off campus, from psychology to auditory research to Norwegian. Nora is heavily involved in both the Psychology and Norwegian Departments here, taking a unique variety of classes in these areas and even creating her own! She has also devoted time to research in the Speech and Cognition (SCog) Lab on campus. Her current research focus is on the life-quality outcomes of children with cochlear implants in the US and in Norway.

Nora’s diverse interests have taken her all over the world, including a semester abroad in New Zealand during spring of 2015 and a research project at the University Hospital in Oslo begun last summer. While at St. Olaf, Nora volunteers through the Laura Baker Services Association in Northfield with kids and adults with differing abilities.

Although school can get hectic at times, a big lesson Nora has learned at St. Olaf is time management with a balanced life – getting outdoors for a change is just as important as the extra page of reading. Some of the most important things in Nora’s life are her relationships with friends and family – she always makes time for writing letters, catching up in coffee shops, and going on runs together. If she’s met you once, chances are she’ll wave across campus to say hi!

Extracurricular Activities:

  • Philharmonia Orchestra (oboe)
  • Norwegian Department tutor
  • SCogLab undergraduate researcher
  • Supporting Special Needs Organization Co-President
  • Personal Care Assistant