Meet Tyanin Opdahl!

Meet Tyanin Opdahl! Olympia native Tyanin plans to graduate in Spring 2024. She’s majoring in computer science with a minor in creative writing.

Why did you choose Western?

I chose Western because it was close to home, had a great Computer Science department, and provided an environment that I felt a lot more welcome in. I am a transfer student and was looking for a university that I really felt like I could thrive in—and now a year later I know I made the right choice.

What do you like about Western?

The unique opportunities it provides and the abundant resources. I’ve had the opportunities to join projects and be in clubs that were never even offered at my previous university. The campus is gorgeous, I’ve become friends with a wide range of people I would’ve never come across otherwise.

How is your student ambassador experience?

My ambassador experience provides a lot of fun opportunities to try new things—once I had the opportunity to help guide a Downtown Bellingham food tour (and try a bunch of delicious food). I’d say ambassadors are essentially a “catch-all” for odd jobs and events throughout Western. We are here to help in any capacity we can—whether that be through setting up events, providing tours, or mingling with guests during events.

Which professors do you work with?

Several! I worked closely with Dr. Kim Ragsdale, who helped me feel more confident in math. Dr. See-Mong Tan taught me how to think about code, how to study effectively, and how much effort it really takes to be successful in computer science. I've spent many hours in Dr. Caroline Hardin’s office learning about computer science. She's been an impressive example of what women in CS are capable of, and genuinely one of the smartest people I've ever met. And in creative writing, my instructor Lee Gulyas motivated me to write a really fun satirical piece and has also worked with me to try to get it published! 

Are you the beneficiary of philanthropy at Western (scholarship, grant, travel experience, etc)?

I am—and that philanthropy has made a world of difference in my academic life. Being able to have my needs met through opportunities/accommodations has given me the springboard into having a pleasant experience at Western while carrying optimism and excitement for my future.

What would you like to say to someone who has made a gift to support Western students and programs?

Thank you—your contributions provide opportunities for many students who would otherwise “fall through the cracks.” Personally, I cannot see myself having as much passion for my education without knowing I have the support system from faculty/organizations that are provided from your gifts. Your support has made a tangible difference in my life.

What do you do when you aren’t in class?

I play a lot of pickleball, go river-rafting frequently, play the electric bass in a band with my friends, and am a lifeguard/swim instructor. I currently have a personal coding project where I am creating a website that provides understandable info about different prescription drugs—such as the intended use, side effects, dosage amounts, and personal accounts of said prescriptions. I am also a huge eggs benedict fan and run an Instagram account dedicated to critiquing/rating all the eggs benedict dishes I eat at local restaurants.

Where is your happy place either on campus or in Bellingham?

I spend most of my time on campus in the computer labs within the CF building, so in a weird way that’s one of my favorite places on campus. I’ve experienced many long nights coding with my classmates. It has been in those labs that those classmates have become dear friends, which has created a lot of good memories there.

What are your professional dreams and goals? Where could you see yourself in five years?

In the next five years I’d like to be in a place of stability. I want to be able to give back to my loved ones who have been supporting me throughout my life—particularly my mother. My life for the past couple of years has been defined by instability and the unexpected, so I am looking forward to having that calm that comes with self-sufficiency. Some more tangible goals I have are owning a sailboat and going sailing around the world for a bit, and becoming scuba certified.

Read more information about becoming a student ambassador here.