That Girl: Kate Olsen

Fresh out of a summer internship with Navigant Consulting Firm in Washington, economics and finance double major (with an international emphasis) Kate Olsen is back on campus and roaring through her last year at the College of William and Mary. You’ve probably seen her buzzing between classes and meetings, and some of you probably know her as Professor Haulman’s micro-economics teaching assistant.

She’s taken some time out of her busy schedule of classes, sorority meetings and TA responsibilities to meet with me at the Daily Grind, looking amazingly composed. We sit, take a breath, and get to the good stuff: Kate’s take on freshman serenades, Gamma Phi Sorority and Irish dancing.

Tell me about your favorite campus activities.

I’d say it’s a tie between my sorority, Gamma Phi, and the Irish Dance and Culture Club. I’m very, very proud of my Irish heritage, and I’m a competitive Irish step dancer. I qualified for the World Championships last year, and they’re actually being held in the United States for the first time ever this year. I’m hoping to qualify again and be able to go in the spring.

What class have you most enjoyed so far at the College?

I really enjoyed Game Theory with Professor Anderson in the economics department. It’s a lot of strategy, and we got to play games in class. You kind of had the competitive edge of trying to beat out all of your classmates and think about how they were going to react and what they thought you were going to do, so you’d try to out-think them. Plus, she would roll a die and pay someone at the end of class.

What is your favorite tradition at the College?

I think my favorite William and Mary tradition is actually the fact that it’s a family tradition. My father went here: He played on the Varsity soccer team as goalie, and my sister graduated in the spring.

So did you always know you were going to come to the College?

Absolutely not. Although I did run around in a William and Mary sweat suit when I was about four years old, which apparently was my favorite piece of clothing.

What’s your favorite place in Colonial Williamsburg?

The hat shop, definitely. Because I have to get one of those straw brimmed hats, one with the shallow lip over the top — not the big round ones. I’ll get one with some crazy ribbon bedazzlement. Who doesn’t want a fabulous colonial hat?

How has it been being president of your sorority?

It’s been wonderful. It’s given me so many opportunities to meet people around the country as well as internationally — Go Canada! We have several chapters in Canada. I got to go to Kansas City in February for leadership training with all the presidents and chapter advisers from all across the United States and Canada. This summer, I went to Cincinnati with a delegation of eight other William and Mary students to represent the Alpha Chi Chapter. We actually won two awards, so it was great.

Tell me a funny story from your freshman year.

I guess it’s really hard for me to pinpoint one thing, but I definitely remember during orientation one of the guys’ halls in my building came up and sang to us, so there was this flurry of excitement. We were going to try to come up with a song to serenade them back so we rehearsed and rehearsed and even made up a dance and we sang “Build Me Up Buttercup” to that hall. You had to be there.

Soon enough, Kate must hurry off to her next activity. She’s looking forward to her last year here at the College before evaluating her options for the future. But for now, if you’re wondering what that rumble is above your head in the Sadler Center, you might want to check out Chesapeake A to see Kate’s flying feet as she continues to work hard preparing for the world championships in Irish Dancing.


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