I found my school spirit at Wartburg

NAME: Danielle Gerlach   
HOMETOWN: Cedar Rapids, Iowa
MAJOR: Accounting and computer information systems
CAMPUS INVOLVEMENT: St. Elizabeth Chorale, Entertainment ToKnight, Wartburg College Service Trips, Residential Assistant, Wartburg Ambassadors, Homecoming Committee
CURRENTLY: Associate accountant, Principal Financial Group, Des Moines, Iowa

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE WARTBURG:  I was actually set on a different private college, and while I was visiting the University of Northern Iowa, I decided to visit Wartburg on a whim because it was close. The people I met, the professors I talked to, and just being on campus and seeing the people here, it felt like home. I just had that feeling of this is where I should be.

HOW DID YOU DECIDE ON YOUR MAJOR: I came in as a computer science major, and I was set on becoming a programmer. I took some classes, and I liked it but I felt that there was something more that I could be doing. My sophomore year I took Principles of Accounting, and I fell in love. I remember thinking how it was so fun, and I found myself doing my accounting homework first out of the rest of my homework. Professor (Justin) Crouse really has a passion for accounting, and I could see that he wanted other people to enjoy it as well. Between having him as a professor and my love for the subject, I just really encouraged me to work hard in those classes.

Danielle Gerlach

HOW DID YOUR WARTBURG EXPERIENCE PREPARE YOU FOR YOUR NEXT STEP: I definitely feel like the professors here pushed and encouraged me to try new things and go outside of my comfort zone. Wartburg has shown me that I might be uncomfortable at first, but once you try something you never really realized how many aspects of yourself can be utilized in one area or one major or two majors. It has been a learning experience, and I learned more about myself here at Wartburg than I think I did in the last 18 years. I think Wartburg did a good job of helping me explore different opportunities and engaging with other people that have kind of trained me into the person that I have become.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE WARTBURG MEMORY: I was never the type of person who had a lot of school spirit but I applied for Homecoming Committee after some of my friends told me that I would be a good fit. At our retreat, I remember sitting there with all those people and seeing how much they loved Wartburg. Everyone was so excited and you could feel the sense of community. I remember that feeling of when I realized that this is why I love Wartburg and this is what makes Wartburg so awesome.

WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR CURRENT STUDENTS: Don’t be afraid to try something new. The fact that you don’t know someone, don’t be afraid to do it. I’ve met so many people just from doing something where I didn’t know anyone at. Just be courageous and try something new and something that you’ve always wanted to do but you have been a little nervous about doing. Just do it because you never know what’s going to come of it.

WHY WAS YOUR EXPERIENCE WORTH IT: I think the people and the community have made Wartburg worth it. As college has had its ups and downs and stresses, I think the people here have really encouraged me and kept me going along the way. College isn’t something that’s really easy for everyone, and the people and professors here have really encouraged me and kept me going. The community that I have built here, I feel like I could leave and still come back and feel that sense of community, and that’s something you can’t always get at other colleges.