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48 PCB007 MAGAZINE I APRIL 2019 interested in science and math, but I didn't re- ceive any sort of exposure to the engineering world while growing up. So, when I began col- lege the first time around, I hadn't thought too critically about what I was going to school for or why I was even there. I essentially chose to go to business school by listening to everyone around me. I settled on real estate because I knew I could make a good living in the field, and UW—Madison has one of the top pro- grams in the country. I don't regret my time at Madison, (plug your ears, die-hard Gophers); I love that school. But a lot of us follow an educational path that we don't give very much thought to until after we reach the end of it, which is a shame. I wish I would have had more maturity and self-aware- ness before making a decision that significant- ly altered the trajectory of my life. Dunn: That is so true. As a young, college fresh- man, you are expected to make decisions about your life-long career before having the oppor- tunity to be exposed to new things you might not have yet experienced. Olson: Yes. A large portion of my friends at Madison went to school for engineering. At one point, I lived with three other people, and I was the only one in the apartment not going to school for engineering. Through my junior year and onward, I was consistently exposed to the cool stuff (for lack of a better word) my friends worked on, included projects for class, organizations, and other side projects. I saw the types of jobs and internships they received and asked them a ton of questions about what they did in their roles. I found myself much more interested in the after-college opportunities my en- gineering friends had on the horizon than the ones I had. It did cross my mind to change majors, but as I said, I was already close to graduating by then, so I shelved the idea. I thought that my doubts would go away after I graduated and started making money in my career. That brings me back to my time living in Chi- cago. I found myself deciding whether I should leave my job and stop making money in ex- change for going back to school and spending even more money on education. Even though I knew I didn't want to do the job that I was at, it still was a difficult decision to make, espe- cially because I was going to go back for engi- neering, which was an extremely intimidating major to jump into. All the friends of mine that went into the engineering field were extremely smart, and at that point, I had my doubts that I would be able to handle the course work and rigor that was going to be required of me. I spoke to numerous friends and my family on multiple occasions about it and had plenty of sleep- less nights trying to figure out my game plan. Eventually, I pulled the trigger, left my job, and went back to school. Now, a few years later, I'm here talking to you about my lengthy story. I typically keep it shorter by telling people who ask that I had a quarter-life crisis. I get some funny reactions. Dunn: I bet that you do (laughs)! Once you were enrolled at the University of Minnesota, you joined the U of M Solar Vehicle Project team. We were lucky enough to have your team display one of the cars at last year's Geek-a-Palooza event, and for a few minutes, I was worried we would have no attendees inside the event be- Figure 2: Ross charging the solar vehicle's battery before a race.

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