Name: Olivia Bertelsen
Hometown: Rock City, Ill.
Year in School: Senior (!!!!!)
Major: Marine Science
In many of the #CCUfamily student profiles over the course of the 2017-18 academic year, we featured students who arrived on campus reserved and shy. They didn’t know the exact direction they were headed nor how to successfully get involved on campus. Because of their own will and Coastal’s natural charm, these students eventually “came out of their shell” and blossomed.
We are ending the semester with a different type of student.
When Olivia Bertelsen stepped on campus, she needed no warming up period. In fact, this student was so pumped to start her undergraduate career that she had already participated in a CCU social media campaign before even attending her first class. Olivia brought purpose and energy with her, never letting that intensity subside during her time at Coastal.
From the first day, Olivia knew she wanted to major in marine science. She knew she wanted to make lifelong friends. She knew she wanted to develop valuable connections with professors. Most importantly, she knew she truly wanted to experience Coastal. No question about it, she achieved all objectives.
Whether it was studying abroad in Scotland, playing on the CCU Quidditch team, working on-campus jobs, hitting up local music venues or hopping in the car for road trips, Olivia took advantage of her University and the area around her. While having the time of her life, she learned a thing or two along the way.
“CCU allowed me to learn about myself,” Olivia says. “I had to move 1,100 miles away from home to come here so it really taught me to be independent and fend for myself; basically grow up.”
Her appreciation for Coastal doesn’t stop there. As mentioned above, and attested to by Olivia her freshman year, she wanted to build relationships with her professors. With this goal already set forth, perhaps it came as no surprise that a dedicated individual like Olivia easily made meaningful connections with a group of men and women eager to see their students succeed.
“Everybody at Coastal, especially faculty and staff, is super dedicated to their students and making the University the best it can be.”
On Saturday, it will be Olivia’s time to shine. When she walks across the HTC Center stage and President DeCenzo hands her a diploma, she will become the first member of her immediate family to graduate from college. It doesn’t get much better than that.
As she moves past CCU, Olivia’s plan is to become a commissioned officer with the United States Coast Guard via the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Corps. The NOAA is a branch of the Coast Guard and would require Olivia to directly use her marine science degree while on the job. It would be a fulfilling reward for a student who has made her family extremely proud and demonstrated to her peers how to truly make the most out of a college experience. Olivia, you are a special Chanticleer and we will miss you.
Q&A with Olivia
How did you hear about Coastal?: I first heard about CCU while attending UNCW's MarineQuest Program in high school. It was a marine science academic summer camp program, and one of my counselors my first summer was a CCU grad (S/O to Todd).
Why did you come to Coastal?: Coastal just felt right. I debated for a long time over where I was going to go, and I always came back to Coastal. I just knew that it was where I belonged.
Favorite professor: Eric Rosch, Ph.D., or Louis Keiner, Ph.D. I can always rely on them for help when I need it, and they are super great to talk to.
Favorite class: Apex Predators!
Favorite aspect of Coastal?: I like the size. I can see people I know every day, while still having the opportunity to always meet someone new. Coastal's size also allows my classes to be smaller and more personal, as professors are able to get to know you on a personal level.
Favorite aspect of living in the Conway/Myrtle Beach area?: I like that there are so many things to do and places to visit within a relatively short distance. I can take a day trip to Charleston or Wilmington, or I can try a new restaurant or hang out at the beach. I think that's pretty cool.
Clubs/Intramurals/other extracurricular activities involved in?: Phi Sigma Pi National Honor Fraternity (exec board: Initiate Advisor for the 2017-2018 school year), CCU and Southern Storm Quidditch
Do you work anywhere currently (either on or off campus)?: Yes! I have worked for the University Honors Program for the last three years. I also work for CHANT411, and have been with them since last summer.
Plans after graduation?: I will be staying and working in the area for the summer. I am currently finishing the last steps to applying for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Corps. I'll have to go through an interview and medical screening, and if accepted I will be a commissioned officer in the US Coast Guard and I will be contracted through NOAA for the next 20 years.
What are your hobbies?: Does taking a nap count as a hobby? I enjoy cooking, going to the beach, hanging out with friends and seeing musicians perform at local places like the Boathouse or House of Blues.
Do you have any hidden talents?: I am kind of artistic actually! I enjoyed crafting for both of my littles during Fraternity Big Little Week, and making my graduation cap was a blast!
Bonus Info: I have been so appreciative of my time here at CCU and all the opportunities presented to me during my time here. I will be the first in my immediate family to graduate college, and I am proud of that accomplishment. I am looking forward to walking across the stage on Saturday morning. Go Chants! :)