Passions and Professions Go Hand-in-Hand at Otterbein

Posted Mar 01, 2021

Students at Otterbein are realizing their personal best both inside and outside the classroom by pursuing their chosen careers and their side interests, too. Examples are everywhere —from a marketing major who competes on the equestrian team to a religion and philosophy student in the ROTC

Rachel Muti BMB
Rachel Muti ’21 conducting research

Rachel Muti is a senior biochemistry and molecular biology major and member of the marching band, and her love of both contributed to her choice to attend Otterbein.  

“There’s no academic or outside-your-major interests sacrifices at Otterbein,” she said. “Being able to break out of your circle and do something you enjoy is so necessary. There’s more to life than just organic chemistry.” 

Muti knew she wanted to be in the science field since middle school. Otterbein offered her the opportunity to begin significant research in genetics her first year on campus, something that weighed heavily in her final decision. The fact that she could do that research and stay connected to her lifelong love of music made that decision easy. 

Drum Major Rachel Muti
Rachel Muti directing the Cardinal Marching Band

“Being a drum major in the Cardinal Marching Band and the president of Kappa Kappa Psi band honorary society helps me be more well-rounded and improve my leadership skills. Plus, I would go crazy if I couldn’t do anything music related,” she said. 

When students are interested in participating in their side interests, faculty members work hard to make it possible.  

Calvin King ’22 had two very different academic interests in mind when he arrived at Otterbein. After deciding to major in chemistry and minor in music, he still wanted to perform in numerous ensembles with his French horn. These desires seemed daunting to schedule, but he found assistance from the Chair of the Department of Music Dennis Davenport

“Professor Davenport took the time to help me navigate all the scheduling obstacles I was going to face with lab times, practice schedules, and general campus life,” King said. “He gave me guidance and allowed flexibility within my minor to make it all work. I was very excited when it all came together.” 

King ultimately wants to attend medical school and go on to becomes a doctor. Music, he says, helps to exercise his brain and increase quick problem-solving due to song improvisations. He believes his information retention and mental capacity can only benefit from the unique combination of science and music. 

Riley Seielstad and horse
Riley Seielstad ’22 competes with her horse Wyatt

Upstate New York native Riley Seielstad ’22 grew up riding horses but faced a dilemma. As an aspiring early education professional, she was unsure if her horse Wyatt could be included in her college experience, especially going to school in a larger city. She wanted the benefits of her personal therapeutic horseback riding while still maintaining her academic goals. Otterbein proved it was possible. 

“The staff at the Austin E. Knowlton Center for Equine Science wanted me to continue riding even though my major was not equine-related. I was able to bring Wyatt along to college because of their commitment to all students,” Seielestad said. 

Passions and professions come together at Otterbein, furthering the university’s mission to educate the whole student for a career and life. Faculty and staff working closely with their students, helping to provide the pathways to explore and grow, makes that commitment possible. 

“Everyone at Otterbein will do whatever they can to make sure you do what you love,” Seielstad said.