2017 Opening Days Leader Profiles

Opening Days leaders are a diverse group representing all parts of the Willamette community in their interests and activities. They are actors and athletes, transfer and international students, Greek and independent, and represent all different ages and years of students.

The one thing these leaders all share is their desire to meet and assist new students. The leaders are carefully selected during a competitive application process in February of each academic year. After their selection, they complete a Spring Training and then return to school in August for intensive training and preparation before Opening Days begins.

Besides leading the new students during Opening Days, these leaders are also responsible for planning all the events and programs that occur during Opening Days. Every leader is a member of one of the OD committees, each responsible for planning different events.

Jump to my Opening Days group leader:
Jonny Louangrath

Jonny Louangrath

Year
Junior
Major
Sociology and Politics
Favorite thing about WU

Relaxed and sunny days at the Mill Stream with friends!

Animal that best describes your personality

A happy sloth

Holly Peterson

Year
Senior
Major
Spanish
Favorite thing about WU

How approachable professors are, and how many different ways there are to get involved around campus!

Animal that best describes your personality

A dog, because sometimes I'm really energetic and overly excited, sometimes I'm lazy, and I love food and going on walks

Michelle Nagata

Michelle Nagata

Year
Junior
Major
Biology
Favorite thing about WU

I like the close community and vegan chai cookies.

Animal that best describes your personality

Seal because they are chill, eat fish, and are basically dogs of the water :)

Julia Schafer

Julia Schafer

Year
Sophomore
Major
Psychology
Favorite thing about WU

Professors who have your back, the tight knit community, and cookies from the Bistro!

Animal that best describes your personality

Zebra - because I like running and they're pretty clever, and they're like horses but just weirder

Callum Johnston

Callum Johnston

Year
Junior
Major
Computer Science
Favorite thing about WU

I love the people at this school! My experience here has been shaped by my amazing friends, peers, and professors.

Animal that best describes your personality

I'm a Monkey! I like climbing things, eating bananas, and jumping around!

Peter Li

Peter Li

Year
Sophomore
Major
Economics
Favorite thing about WU

Interesting, challenging classes and amazing community! Also the ducks are pretty rad.

Animal that best describes your personality

Elephant. Maximum chill.

Kyle Salois

Kyle Salois

Year
Junior
Major
Mathematics
Favorite thing about WU

The professors & their dogs!

Animal that best describes your personality

An older dog, because while I'm still full of love & enthusiasm, I also sleep more than I used to.

Allie Kerkhoff

Allie Kerkhoff

Year
Junior
Major
Mathematics and Economics
Favorite thing about WU

The professors are bomb and always supportive

Animal that best describes your personality

A cat, because I'm usually tired, needy or both, and I'm ALWAYS adorable.

Emily Buchi

Emily Buchi

Year
Senior
Major
Anthropology
Favorite thing about WU

The community- the people are so driven, passionate and welcoming.

Animal that best describes your personality

Baby beluga whale because I'm smiley, cuddly and happy most of the time!

Lauren Blake

Lauren Blake

Year
Senior
Major
Civic Communication and Media
Favorite thing about WU

The professors! They genuinely care so much about not only about what they teach, but also about you as a student. When I came to college I was prepared for them to not even know my name, but professors that I had three years ago still come up to me and check in about how I am and how classes are going.

Animal that best describes your personality

An elephant - I feel like we're both a little understated and stoic when you first meet us, but fun and playful once we're a little more comfortable!

Anna Ayala

Anna Ayala

Year
Sophomore
Major
Biochemistry
Favorite thing about WU

I love the relationships I have formed, inside and outside of the classroom. They have been so incredibly fruitful and integral to the development of my world-view today!

Animal that best describes your personality

I am a naked mole rat: tenacious, unyielding, and a fan of potatoes.

Nicole Kates

Nicole Kates

Year
Sophomore
Major
Civic Communication and Media and Psychology
Favorite thing about WU

The professors and the plentiful opportunities to be involved with student life

Animal that best describes your personality

A meerkat because I'm very social and I'm always running around

Katherine LaChasse

Katherine LaChasse

Year
Junior
Major
Physics
Favorite thing about WU

I love the amazing community that emphasizes collaboration and growth! Also sitting by the mill stream when it's warm out.

Animal that best describes your personality

I would be a pug since I like am playful, love napping, and I am known for shedding profusely.

Emma Robinson

Emma Robinson

Year
Senior
Major
Sociology
Favorite thing about WU

The amount you learn from your peers, and how unique of an experience it is.

Animal that best describes your personality

A penguin, because the way it hobbles while walking perfectly embodies how awkward I am, but then the way they nuzzle their friends when they are happy represents how nice I can be.

Shannon Lee

Shannon Lee

Year
Sophomore
Major
Undeclared (but it will be awesome)
Favorite thing about WU

I love playing Dungeons and Dragons with my friends and enjoying Willamette's amazing community!

Animal that best describes your personality

I would definitely be a fox because I am small, curious, and I really like chicken.

Takuma Mimura

Takuma Mimura

Year
Sophomore
Major
English Communication
Favorite thing about WU

I love the people and the professors.

Animal that best describes your personality

A cat

Jaelin Sonoda

Jaelin Sonoda

Year
Sophomore
Major
Undeclared
Favorite thing about WU

The amazing supportive community.

Animal that best describes your personality

Tiger, because I can be assertive and strong but also very much so like a cat.

Nathaniel Dausman

Nathaniel Dausman

Year
Junior
Major
English
Favorite thing about WU

My favorite thing about WU is the mill stream and the beautiful campus! People take pride in our school, and it really shows when you look around at all the beautiful trees and plants. Super aesthetic in the spring.

Animal that best describes your personality

Humpback Whale. They have spindle cells which allow them to experience self awareness, compassion and language at a greater capacity than other animals, and that is so DOPE. Also they're always just swimmin' along, goin' with the flow, eatin some fish and doing their own thing-- For sure wish I could be a Humpback whale.

Matthew Wei

Matthew Wei

Year
Junior
Major
Biology
Favorite thing about WU

The ducks are nice.

Animal that best describes your personality

Probably a Sudowoodo, because sometimes I like to pretend that I'm a tree.

Michael Chen

Year
Senior
Major
Mathematics
Favorite thing about WU

My favorite thing about WU is Blitz the Bearcat, Bistro cookies, the Cupola on Waller Hall, long walks to Goudy Commons, and Serenades

Animal that best describes your personality

I'm a Golden Retriever. I love everyone, super active, happy all the time, excited about everything, and can be easily distracted!

Mariko Moore

Mariko Moore

Year
Sophomore
Major
Undeclared (Either Environmental Science or Biology)
Favorite thing about WU

The endless clubs and organizations you can join/ be a part of

Animal that best describes your personality

Hedgehogs since they're cute yet feisty

Kiara Mina

Kiara Mina

Year
Senior
Major
Biology
Favorite thing about WU

Springtime! This is the time when campus is the most lively. I love when the sun is out and the sky is clear because campus looks so beautiful, especially during golden hour. You can find almost everyone outdoors during the day, hanging out by the Mill Stream or just casually strolling around. There are SO MANY DOGS as well as ducks and their duckling. The entire experience is revitalizing. Spring semester is also when the biggest events and activities occur, such as Sakura Matsuri, Lu'au, and Wulapalooza that bring the Willamette (and greater Salem) community together, and these are all integral parts of the Willamette experience.

Animal that best describes your personality

I'm a puppy because I am loyal, affectionate, curious, and playful!

Sarah Alexander

Year
Junior
Major
Civic Communication and Media and Spanish
Favorite thing about WU

Sitting by the Millstream in the sun!

Animal that best describes your personality

Marmot, because they like to chill up in the mountains by themselves all day and sleep in small holes

Sydney Smith

Sydney Smith

Year
Senior
Major
Economics
Favorite thing about WU

I love our professors; they're pretty neat.

Animal that best describes your personality

Lion because I tend to be a very social creature.

Stephanie Aronson

Stephanie Aronson

Year
Senior
Major
Mathematics
Favorite thing about WU

The professors are always available and looking out for your best interest (and the Bistro exists)

Animal that best describes your personality

Dolphins live in the ocean and eat fish, which is a lifestyle I'm not opposed to.

Caspar Croft

Caspar Croft

Year
Sophomore
Major
Physics
Favorite thing about WU

The open and friendly atmosphere that permeates campus

Animal that best describes your personality

Crab, because they always seem to be relaxing and doing their own thing.

Derek Ludwig

Derek Ludwig

Year
Sophomore
Major
Undeclared
Favorite thing about WU

The people and the Mill Stream!

Animal that best describes your personality

A golden retriever because I'm loyal and friendly!!

Alexandra Meyer

Alexandra Meyer

Year
Sophomore
Major
Exercise Science
Favorite thing about WU

Honestly, the opportunity to have an actual relationship with your professors and faculty in general is an amazing thing, and it has been absolutely instrumental to my education here at Willamette.

Animal that best describes your personality

Giraffe - I'm super tall and spindly, and I suck at walking.

Tova Hershman

Tova Hershman

Year
Sophomore
Major
Psychology
Favorite thing about WU

The opportunity to build meaningful relationships with professors!

Animal that best describes your personality

A dog, because I enjoy relaxing but I also love adventures!

Courtney Ibabao

Courtney Ibabao

Year
Senior
Major
Biochemistry
Favorite thing about WU

The collaborative, welcoming community, and the forever friends I have made.

Animal that best describes your personality

I'm a bear, because I'm cuddly and fierce.

Kellen Bulger

Kellen Bulger

Year
Sophomore
Major
Environmental Science and Politics
Favorite thing about WU

The inclusive community, the faculty and Bistro cookies of course!

Animal that best describes your personality

Probably a Grizzly Bear because I too love to eat berries while lounging in the sun and bears really aren't too concerned with what others think of them, cause you know... they're bears.

Elena O'Shea

Year
Senior
Major
Biology
Favorite thing about WU

The people.

Animal that best describes your personality

A quokka, because they have been called one of the happiest animals, and they can climb trees if they need to.

Logan Glass

Logan Glass

Year
Junior
Major
Civic Communication and Media
Favorite thing about WU

The incredible variety of people I've met here!

Animal that best describes your personality

My friends compare me to a rabbit, but I don't know what that says about my personality. Am I a cute rabbit? A smart rabbit? That really scary rabbit from "Monty Python and the Holy Grail"? They won't tell me.

Alexa Anderson

Alexa Anderson

Year
Sophomore
Major
English
Favorite thing about WU

The intensely strong community of passionate people that you meet every single day, whether it's in your hall, in class, or in choir!

Animal that best describes your personality

A dog, because I am very friendly, loyal, affectionate, and I love to sleep.

Fiona Murphy

Fiona Murphy

Year
Junior
Major
Sociology
Favorite thing about WU

The supportive, close-knit friend groups that I have come to be a part of.

Animal that best describes your personality

The koala, because I am laid back, prefer warm environments, and enjoy sleeping for up to 22 hours a day.

Dawn-Hunter Strobel

Dawn-Hunter Strobel

Year
Sophomore
Major
Theatre
Favorite thing about WU

It's hard to pick just one thing! But I think it's probably the people. I have met the most incredible people in my time here. People full of passion, people with good things to say, people who actively make the world a better place.

Animal that best describes your personality

Hummingbird - because they are small and energetic and powerful and also I just really like birds.

Emily Sperber

Year
Senior
Major
Creative Writing
Favorite thing about WU

The community -- it creates a great dialogue between students and teachers as well as offers camaraderie that comes from living in the dorms!

Animal that best describes your personality

A corgi because everyone loves a good corgi!

Bailey Dickey

Bailey Dickey

Year
Senior
Major
Studio Art
Favorite thing about WU

The amazing professors and the Bistro!

Animal that best describes your personality

A hedgehog because they are sweet even though they look prickly, and we both have poor eyesight!

Casey Dobbert

Casey Dobbert

Year
Senior
Major
Creative Writing
Favorite thing about WU

The community!

Animal that best describes your personality

A bee. Because they're hardworking and dedicated to their hive. Also as larvae, honeybees produce silk to strengthen the wax cells in which they live. And I knit. So it's basically the same thing.

LaShae Smith

LaShae Smith

Year
Sophomore
Major
Physics
Favorite thing about WU

All the people I have met and spending time with them by the Mill Stream when it's sunny.

Animal that best describes your personality

Hummingbird because I have a lot of energy and I love to zip all over the place, especially when I'm on adventures.

Katherine Adams

Katherine Adams

Year
Senior
Major
Anthropology and Economics
Favorite thing about WU

How passionate and involved WU students are, we have an impressive student body!

Animal that best describes your personality

I am 100% a Sea Cow (manatee). According to the SeaWorld website, "they are nonaggressive, non-territorial herbivores that spend most of their time feeding, traveling, investigating objects, and socializing by interacting with other manatees."

Silvia Henley

Silvia Henley

Year
Sophomore
Major
Psychology
Favorite thing about WU

Honestly everything but the Bistro has a special place in my heart.

Animal that best describes your personality

A fox because they're clever and sassy like me!

Reagan Dreiling

Reagan Dreiling

Year
Sophomore
Major
Biochemistry
Favorite thing about WU

The people!

Animal that best describes your personality

A fox! I think I'm pretty clever and I like learning, but I also love the outdoors and being active! ~*stay foxy*~

Ottillia Ni

Ottillia Ni

Year
Senior
Major
Physics
Favorite thing about WU

The numerous opportunities, such as sports, clubs, and academic classes, that allow students to discover new hobbies and interests.

Animal that best describes your personality

Turtles because they move at their own pace, are determined and peaceful creatures, and love the sun!

Alexander Gordon

Alexander Gordon

Year
Junior
Major
Theater and Creative Writing
Favorite thing about WU

The ability it gives you to get involved and try whatever it is you want to in college.

Animal that best describes your personality

Ostrich, because it pretends that its real world responsibilities don't exist.

Robyn Burnside

Robyn Burnside

Year
Senior
Major
International Studies and Spanish
Favorite thing about WU

The supportive and engaging community

Animal that best describes your personality

A Puffin, because they seem like happy, quirky birds who like jumping around rocks and swimming, and that sounds like a pretty good time to me!

Heather Pearson

Heather Pearson

Year
Senior
Major
Sociology and Women's/Gender Studies
Favorite thing about WU

All of my friends! And $1 giant chocolate-filled bistro cookies. Also small classes and professors who you can chat with all the time and classes that make you a better person.

Animal that best describes your personality

Probably a bear. Lives in the forest, sleeps for months at a time, loves sweets.

Sarah King

Year
Senior
Major
History
Favorite thing about WU

I love how connected you can be to the students, faculty, and staff. You get out of Willamette what you put into it, and there are opportunities to connect with people everywhere that you go. I love that I feel so connected and supported at all times, it makes me comfortable to get out of my comfort zone and try new things!

Animal that best describes your personality

I think I would be a rabbit, because I am both super hyper, but can also sleep really well and be kind of lazy. Also, I give great hugs and I think if rabbits could hug, they would be really good at it.

Daiki Shimizu

Daiki Shimizu

Year
Sophomore
Major
English Communication
Favorite thing about WU

My favorite things about WU are kind people and people's eagerness and motivation for college life.

Animal that best describes your personality

I think prairie dogs describe my personality because they are very social animals. I'm very social too.

Jenny Salwitz

Year
Senior
Major
Theatre
Favorite thing about WU

The community of really passionate people. Everyone here is really committed to finding their passion and the professors are really wonderful at helping students to succeed in that endeavor.

Animal that best describes your personality

Either Zaboomafoo or Doug from Up. I am really bouncy and sometimes easily excitable and I really love meeting new people!