Challey Spotlight: Karsten Larson

|   Challey Institute for Global Innovation and Growth

The Challey Institute for Global Innovation and Growth is highlighting the impact of our faculty and students at NDSU and in the community. This month, we are shining a spotlight on NDSU Student, Karsten Larson.

Challey Spotlight: Karsten Larson

NDSU Undergraduate Student

Karsten Larson is an NDSU student who just completed his Freshman year. He is a Computer Science major from Bismarck, ND, and a recipient of the Sheila and Robert Challey Institute Scholarship. Karsten has participated in many Challey Institute programs throughout the school year, including two sessions of the Human Progress and Flourishing Workshop class, Menard events, and an Economics and Etiquette dinner with Candace and Vernon Smith. Although the Challey events aren't directly tied to his major, he finds value in participating because the information applies to all areas of life. 

Tell us about a memorable event from this past year.   
A memorable event I've attended at the Challey Institute was Ben Klutsey's documentary, "Undivide Us," where he shows the pluralism of American culture and political views. It made me realize that despite all the diversity and polarization it seems we have, we seem to have a lot more in common than we may think.  

What is a lesson you've learned while being involved in our programs?  

The main lesson that I think Dr. John Bitzan has emphasized is that the world is a lot better than people think it is. Going on social media or news sites, they seem to push this narrative that the world is worse, while in reality poverty rates are less than they've ever been before and more people enjoy living in the middle class than ever before. The world overall is a better place than it was even 10 or 20 years ago. 

What value has the Challey Insitute added to your life and college experience?
I look forward to going to these events and hearing from experts in the field of economics and hearing their outlook on life. I also find value in our discussion days where I can hear from people in my school and what they think of the same subject. Usually, it's something I have not thought about and it really broadens my perspective on what we are talking about. 

How has philanthropy at the Challey Institute impacted you? 
Philanthropy has helped me by providing scholarship money for school while also providing the opportunity for me to broaden my horizons. Being a computer science major, I can get a feel for all the inner workings of the outside world, expanding what I would be exposed to in a normal course load. Also, reflecting on some of the Menard speakers, those are people I had never heard of before, but having the opportunity to hear a Nobel Prize winner speak here in Fargo, ND was an amazing experience. Without the scholarship and programming the Challey Institute offers, I don't know how else I would have access to participate in these unique opportunities. 


The Sheila and Robert Challey Institute for Global Innovation and Growth aims to advance understanding in the areas of innovation, trade, institutions, and human potential to identify policies and solutions for the betterment of society. Learn more at

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