UND Senior Michelle Nguyen is a first-generation college student, McNair Scholar and Dream Award recipient. Majoring in Political Science and Economics, Michelle has taken most of her classes in Gamble Hall. While she prepares to graduate this spring and pursue higher education, she leaves her thoughts on how the new Nistler College of Business & Public Administration building will take students like her to the next level.
The Community
I love going to school; I have always viewed it as a second home, if not the first. I hope this change will welcome students from all backgrounds and life experiences to come together. I see this new building being more of a community-driven environment rather than just an educational facility. I think it will help with community bonding. One of the hardest parts about Gamble Hall is that there are only so many places where you can study. (I found a little study table underneath the stairs, and it's my favorite spot to work!) There are a few study rooms, but the rest are computer labs that are usually being used for class, so if you need to have a group meeting, you'll end up having to go to the library or a coffee shop. The community space in the new building is exciting because students will be able to stay in one building to do their group work and go to class.
The Space
Computer labs have fueled creativity and possibility. Whether you are there to write a long essay or review for exams, it is an accessible place for every student. When I first came to UND, I didn’t have a laptop. The computer labs were the main reason I could finish my assignments with confidence and on time. As an econometrics student, one of the most influential tools we use is Stata, a statistical software program. For students who can't afford to purchase the program, Gamble Hall’s computers have that program installed for students to access. However, if there is a class going on in the lab, students aren’t able to get their homework done there. So, I think that having different rooms in the new building with resources readily available for students to use will make learning easier.
The Technology
I know technology is advancing every second of the day, and we are either with it, or we're behind it. And most of the time, we're a little behind compared to top universities across the world. I think that if we talk about strategic planning, or globally minded leaders or innovative creative leaders, we have to have the tools and resources that will help us get there. With this building and the people who are contributing to it, it's completely an investment for the future. I know it has been a lot of money to raise, but I think that in the long run, we'll look back say, “Yeah, that was worth it.”
The Aesthetics
First of all, I'm jealous of all the students who get to do their homework with so many windows around them in the new building, because I have heard that it’s really healthy to study by sunlight. So if that doesn’t motivate students to work hard, I don’t know what will! Secondly, for us students now in Gamble Hall, the squeaky chairs are funny to talk about but not so funny when you have one assigned to you for the whole semester! The prospect of getting new chairs and new desks is exciting, but the fact that they are getting a whole new building is really fantastic. I think it will be a great place for students to work, and I know for alumni, it will be a beautiful place that they will want to come back to visit.
The Mentorship
As an NCoBPA undergraduate student, I have witnessed the dedication that staff and faculty have for students. I have had professors who always go the extra mile to make sure we are confident and successful and have been directly inspired by them to pursue a PhD. As a research institution, we have so many talented scholars at every level. This new building will bring opportunity for students as well as our faculty members.
The Lasting Impact
I want to say thank you to all who have contributed to this new building and to those who have supported individual UND students’ educational journeys. I hope you continue to do what you do because we students notice it, we feel it and we experience it every day. We are able to go to school with a weight lifted off our shoulders. That’s something that I don't say without meaning – it's really a lot of weight to carry when you can't afford something. Because of you, insecurities have been mended and students can be confident leaders in any field and in any discipline. Because of you, we have seen and are going to see a lot of very successful people graduate from NCoBPA in the next 50 years and beyond!
Web Extra
Michelle was featured as a 2019 UND Leader in Action. Read and watch more of her story here.

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