Purposeful Lives

Jake C., senior, biochemistry major
Jake C.
Being a first generation student, I was completely unaware of what college would be like. Thankfully, I met two professors in my first year that gave me a perspective on learning and on my own academic abilities that I feel will help me for the rest of my life. Dr. Kiley Miller is the professor who has very literally taught me the most. I’ve spent more time in his classes over the past few years than with any other professor. I learned a lot about the material he covered, but I honestly learned more about myself. I learned what my limitations were because he always pushed them. I learned how to overcome my weaknesses because he taught me a better way. I learned how to be a scholar because he expected it of me, and he never gave up on helping me meet that expectation.

I’ve also spent the past three years doing biology research with Dr. Chris Distel. I didn’t spend as much time with him in the classroom, but I learned things in the field that I don’t think would have been possible sitting in a desk. He helped me see what science was and how I could be a part of it. I learned that there’s a huge difference between knowing something and being able to do it, that the real test was being able to bridge that gap. Most importantly, I learned that collaborating and performing research alongside an expert fosters a kind of academic and personal growth that can’t be found in any other situation. These are just my experiences, but I think they represent the academic culture that is completely unique to Schreiner.

When I decided to try to become a student leader I had no idea how much of an impact it could have on my personal development. I’ve been able to work with Matt Goodwyn on projects I feel would have been impossible to accomplish or even start at other schools and with other advisors. Everything from creating conferences to designing a zombie-themed leadership lecture series. I found that nothing was too out there or big of a project to be discussed. Beyond the memories I created, I found myself learning a lot. By supporting me and helping me work through the challenges that come with creating something unique Matt showed me how to make an idea into something real, but he also made me realize how valuable a person’s ideas can be.

I always felt that when I started a project I would have support until I finished it. I always felt that my learning, and the learning of the students around me, was the focus of everything we did. I’ve always felt that I’ve been viewed as an individual here. When I talk with a professor or administrator, I know they are having a conversation with me, not just with a student. This personal touch is something that can’t be found anywhere else, and it’s something I can’t express my gratitude for having been able to experience.