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Bethel University college student working to complete five degrees

St. Paul college student juggles five college majors
St. Paul college student juggles five college majors 02:46

ST. PAUL, Minn. — One St. Paul college student is stacking up consecutive semesters and building passions while earning multiple degrees.

Michael Opheim is all in on his studies at Bethel University. While 30% of students at Bethel have more than one major, Opheim tops every one of his classmates.

By the time he leaves, he will have completed degrees in computer science, math, math and data science, neuroscience, and history. He'll also have a minor in chemistry.

Juggling five majors was never the plan. Michael's first declared major was neuroscience. Then he was going to head off to medical school. But he decided to pivot after realizing how long of a committment medical school was. He also met his fiancée.

Now he's engaged to Katie Hendrickson, who graduated in 2021 with a computer science and a math minor. Now, she's doing a master's degree at Harvard. She's been at his side as he's navigated an ever-growing transcript.

"Every year we've been dating, he's added another major," she joked. "Every time the spreadsheet gets bigger."

It was her post-college work that sparked his interest in computer science. 

"Michael has been a joy to teach because he is so interested in the subject and he does want to do stuff with it," said his computer science professor, Dr. Carl Albing. "When you study science you see that a lot of big breakthroughs happen when somebody crosses fields. They can take a lesson learned in this field and apply it to that field."

Opheim is hoping other students will consider taking on multiple majors.

"Education is something that'll never hinder you. It's definitely something that can never be taken away from you either. It's always worthwhile if you can fit it in," he said.

This summer, Opheim took part in a high-performance computing internship in Washington, D.C. that Albing helped him secure. 

He wants to work as a software engineer after college. It's now his sixth year at Bethel, and he plans to finish out five degrees in his seventh year.

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