A long road to Beloit was worth it

Nathan Wilder’25 started his college career before graduating high school and made a couple stops before transferring to Beloit. Now, he’s in the perfect place to pursue both academic and extracurricular interests in computer science, robotics, and gaming.

With seven years of robotics experience, Nathan Wilder'25 is the perfect person to jump-start... With seven years of robotics experience, Nathan Wilder'25 is the perfect person to jump-start the Beloit Robotics Club.
Not many undergraduates can say that they’ve attended more than one college, but sophomore Nathan Wilder has already been to four. Though he has chosen Beloit as his home for the next three years, Nathan’s journey here has been individually unique.

As a high school student in Savage, Minn., he began to accumulate college credits at Normandale Community College through the Postsecondary Enrollment Options (PSEO) program. It partners with Minnesota colleges to get high school students early experience in college courses both in person and online.

After graduating high school, Nathan’s first stop was the University of Wisconsin-Platteville. “Computer science or software engineering was always the plan,” he says, and Platteville offers a rigorous software engineering program for its students. The program proved to be too intense for Nathan, however — he was essentially taking five or six credits worth of courses in the one semester, with no time for anything else.

Additionally, Nathan found the student demographics a bit homogeneous. While Platteville campus isn’t significantly larger than Beloit’s, the rural university attracts very different types of students. The majority of students Nathan encountered at Platteville were white and male.

“I wasn’t impressed with that,” Nathan says, “and that didn’t end up meshing well for me so I came [to Beloit].”

At Beloit, students generally take four full credit courses a semester, which allows time for all sorts of extracurriculars. Within his first semester, Nathan had already joined both the new Robotics and Gaming & eSports clubs on campus.

Before becoming a Beloiter, Nathan took a class at the University of Wisconsin-Stout in spring 2022 to earn the necessary computer science credits to jump into classes at Beloit.

Now that he’s here, he plans to stay a while.

The new gaming room in Whitney Hall has a variety of gaming platforms available to students, incl... The new gaming room in Whitney Hall has a variety of gaming platforms available to students, including six PCs, two PlayStations, an Xbox, a Wii, and a Nintendo Switch.

Nathan has found many reasons to love Beloit, and some of the major factors that convinced him to choose it included affordability. His father is also chief information officer and library director at the college and therefore lives close by.

The new gaming room in Whitney Hall has become his favorite campus space since it opened in late September. Through his position as an executive board member in the Gaming & eSports Club, Nathan has found himself spending extra afternoon and evening hours in the gaming room while other students experience the variety of gaming platforms. The room currently has over six platforms available, but Nathan’s surprised by the number of times that he finds students playing FIFA soccer games on the PlayStation.

The Robotics Club, Nathan’s other club, doesn’t have official leadership yet, but members are working on a demo robot “to have something moving that can be shown off to students.”

“If we have a team who gets a robot together, there’s numerous events [we] can go to basically year-round,” he says. And with Nathan’s seven years of robotics experience in middle and high school — he even made it as far as a world competition — the club has a promising future.

Nathan is glad to have finally found a place to settle down for a while, and at a college that allows time for him to pursue both extracurriculars and academics at a manageable pace. Even though he’s only been at Beloit for half a semester, he already feels that he’s made more connections than he ever did at Platteville.

“[Beloit] is definitely a good school,” he says. “I am impressed by the academics and programs considering how small it is.”

Grayson Jensen’25
October 31, 2022

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