Admissions Office
Elias Ottens '22

Elias Ottens '22

Job Title
Admissions Interviewer

Why did you choose Union?
Because I wanted to continue my athletic career in college, there were factors added into my decision to come to Union - but above all, I hoped for academic success and community. When I visited Union these shined through every aspect of the campus and athletic programs. I wanted to be at a school where I could study every subject I found interesting and have communities who supported those endeavors. I bumped into a few professors who expressed just how collaborative and close the physics department was, giving me confidence that I could achieve a degree in not just physics but also political science. I knew Union was the right place for me because of the genuine commitment from the athletic department to my academics, and the community-centric mindset within and between academic departments. Plus, the Nott was the most beautiful centerpiece of any campus I had seen!

How do you describe Union to your friends and family?
I describe Union as having dedicated students who are diverse and who collectively push each other to be their best. Union’s campus is absolutely beautiful and accessible. I tell them that even though I major in physics, I have close relationships with professors in the English department and Political Science department. The intersectionality of our campus is a key measure of the holistic approach to education we have here. I love the three term approach and recommend it to everyone I talk to: we don’t have a “mid-semester lull”, constantly engaging with course material. It’s also very convenient when finals come around and the material at the beginning of the term is still fresh. Union’s campus is a strong community where everyone is not bound to just having friends within their organizations, clubs, sports teams, or majors. Most friend groups on campus cut through every club, sports team, major, organization, etc, connecting our campus and culture. Lastly, Union has an incredible alumni network. I have personally benefited greatly from the network so far and I know many others who have as well.

What has been your favorite class assignment at Union?
My first year preceptorial class explored the existence of God through two different perspectives: scientific and literature. There were two sections of this class and we both read the same two books, one took the scientific approach, the other used human experience to make its point. At the end of the term each class chose one of the books and we debated each other on which book best suited the existence of God. The debate was extremely fun, challenging, engaging, it required us to think on our feet and draw on our unique strengths. The material itself required us to mesh humanities and STEM knowledge.

What is your favorite place off-campus in Schenectady?
I love walking through the Stockade neighborhood and looking at all the historic signs and buildings. There is a lot of important history in Schenectady that makes it the First Historic District in New York!