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.

Erik Allerson ’15

Sacramento, California

AllersonErikA Sacramento native, Erik left California in 2011 to start St. Olaf after a gap year, during which he worked as a utilities clerk while also attending the California Regional Fire Academy for Emergency Medical Services. Instead of furthering his emergency services education at the academy, however, Erik decided to study at St. Olaf after visiting campus with his father, an alumnus. What resonated with him the most was the sense of community that Oles share. A trained emergency medical technician, Erik now applies his experience as a member of the St. Olaf EMT student staff.

As for many Oles, Erik’s liberal arts path has taken a few turns. He began with a major in political science, and soon developed a passion for the study of Russian culture, language, and politics. He now double-majors in political science and Russian area studies, and for his senior project next year he plans to bridge his majors with a focus on Russian politics.

Erik also is a two-year captain of the men’s rugby team and is president of the campus CrossFit club. Not surprisingly, Erik’s interest in sports leadership led him to pursue an internship at CrossFit Lakeville. When he’s not on the Hill or motivating CrossFit-goers in nearby Lakeville, Erik can be found enjoying one of his many daily cups of coffee at James Gang Coffeehouse or indulging in his passion for Hogan Brothers sandwiches in Northfield.

Extracurricular Activities

  • President of CrossFit: St. Olaf
  • Captain St. Olaf Men’s Rugby
  • Intern at CrossFit Lakeville
  • St. Olaf EMT

Shannon Cron ’15

Eden Prairie, Minnesota

CronShannonShannon is a theater major passionate about social change, travel, and the guacamole in Stav Hall.

A liberal arts enthusiast, Shannon came to St. Olaf College eager to dive into as much as she could. This became clear when she submitted her email address to more than 40 organizations at the Co-Curricular Fair during her first week of school. Although she ended up not having time for them all, she’s narrowed her involvement to directing in the theater department, writing for the Manitou Messenger (St. Olaf’s weekly student newspaper), and leading Deep End APO, a theater service organization. During the fall of her junior year, Shannon studied abroad in England (and no — her British accent hasn’t gotten any better).

When she isn’t studying in Old Main lounges she chats with friends and stays healthily caffeinated at Northfield’s Goodbye Blue Monday Coffee House.

Most people probably know Shannon as the person who enthusiastically waves at everyone she sees.

Extracurricular Activities:

  • Theater: directing, acting, stage managing, publicizing
  • Staff writer for Manitou Messenger
  • Artistic director: Deep End APO
  • Teaching assistant for the Theater and English departments
  • Studied abroad in England for a semester, Rome for January Interim

Ellen Cunningham ’15

Lincoln, Nebraska

CunninghamEllenThe youngest of nine children — and the fifth of her siblings to attend St. Olaf — Ellen came to the Hill from Nebraska. Even with the extensive family connection, St. Olaf was not on Ellen’s list of colleges … until she made her official campus visit. Ellen chose St. Olaf because of its community, a place where she could live out her faith and openly discuss her beliefs with peers and faculty.

A nursing major who strives to raise awareness about mental illness, Ellen plans to become a teen psychiatric nurse. Like other busy Oles, Ellen has learned to balance the demands of her clinical schedule with myriad activities, including the two-year Great Conversation program, singing in Collegiate Chorale, volunteering with Feed My Starving Children, and dabbling in ballroom dancing, psychology, philosophy, acting, and psychology. Off campus, Ellen works with Alzheimer’s patients as a certified nursing assistant at Three Links Care Center, spends time at her brother’s house (a St. Olaf professor of philosophy), and loves the lattes at The Hideaway.

On campus you’ll find Ellen in her favorite spot: reading in Buntrock Commons’ Fireside Lounge.

If you’ve visited Admissions this past year on an early Saturday morning, you’ll recognize Ellen as the particularly chipper presence at the Admissions front desk.

Extracurricular Activities

  • Collegiate Chorale
  • Nursing Learning Consultant
  • Residence Life (served as a Junior Counselor 2013–14)
  • Feed My Starving Children
  • CNA at Three Links Care Center
  • Studied Spanish during Interim in Ecuador

Gunnar Raasch ’15

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

RaaschGunnar1Born and raised on the south side of Milwaukee, Gunnar attended the Milwaukee High School of the Arts, where he was awarded the prestigious Crimson Star Award for Artistic Achievement. While he is still involved with theater at St. Olaf, Gunnar currently double-majors in political science and English, and recently organized an independent study trip to study wealth inequality in Guatemala.

Outside of the classroom Gunnar is a key member of Scared Scriptless and St. Olaf’s Improv Comedy Club, and captains two on-campus improv groups: Small Tobacco and Men II Boyz. He also has acted in plays, rapped on stage for the South Sudan Benefit Concert, and won this year’s Slam Poetry Competition.

Although Gunnar has maintained solid performances in intramural soccer and the occasional pick-up basketball game in Skoglund Center, his draft value in both sports remains uncertain.

Extracurricular Activities:

  • German House president
  • Scared Scriptless
  • Intramural soccer
  • Study abroad in Germany, Austria, and Guatemala

Corey Ruder ’16

Roseville, California

RuderCoreyBorn 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

Bishwas Sharma ’16

Pokhara, Nepal

SharmaBishwas1Bishwas came to St. Olaf all the way from a valley in the mountains of Nepal. After attending boarding school in Kathmandu he decided he wanted to leave the comforts of home and travel to a new place and culture to further his education.

A chemistry major, Bishwas has participated in two semesters of research with professors: first in synthetic chemistry, then analyzing human scent and exploring its relation to forensic science. Even with his specialized chemistry interests, Bishwas loves the liberal arts curriculum at St. Olaf and has especially enjoyed classes in theater, history, philosophy and math.

Bishwas is one of the 25 percent of Oles involved in a Conversation program. His favorite course 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 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:

  • International Student Organization
  • Celebrate South Asia! Club
  • Human scent project research for analytical chemistry
  • Junior counselor in Kittelsby Hall