Photo caption: Hallie Oberg came to UW-Eau Claire because she liked the beauty and size of the nearly 10,000-student university that was close to her home in Woodbury, Minnesota. (Photo by Bill Hoepner)
Hallie Oberg feels she was “blessed with the opportunity” to be a student-athlete at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.
Oberg took full advantage of that opportunity as she captained the Blugold lacrosse team for two years and will graduate early this month with a 3.9 GPA and a degree in computer science-software engineering.
Lacrosse head coach Aubrianne Neubert calls Oberg “an incredible example of what our student-athletes do on and off the field at UW-Eau Claire.”
“She would give 100% on the field and as soon as we got on the bus to head home, her focus was 100% on school,” Neubert says of Oberg, “doing homework and writing code until all hours of the night and day.”
Oberg came to UW-Eau Claire because she liked the beauty and size of the nearly 10,000-student university that was close to her home in Woodbury, Minnesota. She had been a successful lacrosse player in high school, but lacrosse was not yet a varsity sport at UW-Eau Claire when she enrolled, so she joined the club team.
“The lacrosse club team at UWEC was very important to finding my place at the university,” Oberg says. “A majority of all the friends I made in freshman year were from the team. The team allowed for me to meet people and make new best friends.
“I had a few high school friends come to UW-Eau Claire and some really struggled to adjust because they did not join anything; meeting people just in class is not the same as through clubs and social events.”
During that first year of college, Oberg heard that UW-Eau Claire would field a varsity lacrosse team the following year and members of the club team would have the opportunity to try out for the new squad.
Oberg admits she wasn’t sure what to think about a varsity team forming because she enjoyed the club team and didn’t want to lose those connections. Neubert quickly sold her on the varsity program.
“Coach Aubri came and spoke to us and talked about all the opportunities the varsity team would open to us and how she always valued school first,” Oberg says, noting that some other club team members also switched to the varsity squad. “This helped me feel confident in making the decision to play. I was very excited and a little nervous.”
Oberg describes the past two years on the varsity lacrosse team as a combination of fun and hard work that provided great rewards. She praised Neubert for pushing the team to success at a higher level of competition.
“I am naturally a very competitive person, and I thrived in this environment,” Oberg says. “I have always loved to be a leader; I was captain of my high school varsity lacrosse team as well and always felt really proud and honored to be chosen. I love being there for others and helping encourage my teammates.
“It was truly an amazing experience that I never thought I would have. I was given this opportunity, and I wanted to make the most of it.”
Just as Oberg’s athletic opportunities evolved, so did her academic pursuits. She always has enjoyed mathematics so she started in the actuarial science program before switching to finance. When she saw the tasks her boyfriend was doing in his computer science classes, Oberg realized that field was a better fit for her.
Oberg chose software engineering over the comprehensive computer science major because she is interested in becoming a developer. She says she picked up programming easily because she is a “natural problem solver and logical thinker.”
Dr. Rakib Islam, assistant professor of computer science, noticed that Oberg was a quick learner and a natural leader in the courses he taught.
“The main strength that I found in Hallie was her super ability to grasp any complex concept presented in the class,” Islam says. “In group-based activities, I found her playing the leader role by taking more responsibilities, guiding others to complete their tasks and communicating with different stakeholders to direct the group in the right direction.”
Oberg is graduating after just 3½ years at UW-Eau Claire — she will forgo a third year of varsity lacrosse — because she earned 16 credits at a community college as a senior in high school. She also took several courses during UW-Eau Claire’s summer and Winterim sessions.
Oberg plans to take her time to find the ideal job after graduation. She interned at 3M last summer and says she gained valuable experience as a full stack developer.
The decision to attend UW-Eau Claire is the best decision Oberg ever made, she says, because she “obtained a quality education, life-changing experiences and a lifetime of friends.”
“I would recommend UWEC to students because it is a beautiful campus with amazing people,” Oberg says. “The school is very affordable for all that UWEC has to offer you.”
Neubert, the lacrosse coach, says Oberg was an asset to the team “from day one,” especially during the height of COVID-19 during the 2020 season when she “carried the challenges and used the momentum to move the team forward.”
“The impact and influence that she has had on the university, making it a better place and stronger institution than when she arrived, will be felt for years to come,” Neubert says.