A Glance into Finance

Nov 29, 2021

The World of Credit Unions and Banks

Braden Nissen stood in front of the conference room looking out at the crowd of his peers. He wasn’t much older than they were. He was still in high school himself, and he was teaching his fellow students about finances. Nissen had a marketing internship with Altra Federal Credit Union, which was in his hometown, La Crosse, Wisconsin.

“Who here has a savings account?” he asked the group. Hands shot up. “Who knows the interest rate on their savings account?” Hands went down.

Nissen tried to make the class enjoyable. He taught the students topics such as financial literacy, principles of budgeting, saving, and financial technology.

After starting school at UMD he returned to Altra during the summers. Throughout his time with Altra, Nissen taught high school students as well as helped out at the credit union. The work with the credit union interested him so much, he gravitated towards a finance major at UMD. 

Mentors and Scholarship Support 

Nissen thanks Ruwan Adikaram, an assistant professor of accounting, who taught most of his accounting classes during his first three semesters at UMD. Adikaram also introduced Nissen to undergraduate research. “Professor Adikaram is one of the top professors in LSBE,” he says. Nissen was able to conduct two Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) projects. One dealt with auditing practices and procedures for marijuana firms. The other dealt with marijuana firms in regards to financial institutions with banking. “It was exciting to research a topic that is so relevant,” Nissen says.

Another thanks goes to Tracey Bolen, the head of academic advising in LSBE. “He helped me on my path as a finance major,” says Nissen.  Bolen also guided Nissen on choosing classes so he could graduate early.

Along with the support from people at UMD, Nissen received a prestigious scholarship, the UMD Richard and Marian Bostrom scholarship. Richard Bostrom graduated from UMD in business administration in 1950. This scholarship was established by Marian's brother, Richard Schnuckle and sister-in-law Elizabeth Schnuckle "in memory of a great couple that lived the American Dream." Nissen received support for both 2020-21 and 2021-22. He said he felt honored to be invited to a UMD donor event where he sat with his advisor and one of the donors.

A Bulldog in the BizDogs

In fall of 2021, Nissen became a residence floor assistant for the BizDogs Living and Learning Community. That’s housing where first year, pre-business students live together on campus.  

“We have study sessions with tutors and the group takes classes together,” Nissen says. “It creates a great environment.”

About the Accounting and Finance program

This story was co-written by UMD student Eva Moua, who is majoring in communication. Eva works with Cheryl Reitan in University Marketing and Public Relations.

This story is re-posted from UMD News.