Carpe College Friday Feature: Former Student Jon Schreiner

I’ve had students who entered business, medicine, law, engineering, politics, teaching….  I’ve even had a couple of pop music stars.  And now for something completely different! (As the Monty Python guys used to say.) 

Meet my former student, Jon Schreiner, who’s taken a road less traveled.

He comes to us via Owatonna High School, Drake University, and a few other stops along the way….

What do you do for work?

Officiating the wedding of one of my old college students, with my kids as the ring bearer and flower girl.

Officiating the wedding of one of my old college students, with my kids as the ring bearer and flower girl.

I graduated with a business degree from Drake University and initially had every intention of global domination. I wanted to make tons of money, retire early and live on a lake-every Minnesotan’s dream. God had a different plan for me, and I ended up doing college ministry for 7 years, and I now pastor a small church planted in Des Moines, IA. Walnut Creek is a non-denominational church that was started with about 50 other people who moved from the church I was attending. We are boasting about 175 people a week, which at times feels like how a fisherman tells you about his latest catch. For real though, 175.

What I actually do for work changes day by day. I used to think serving as a pastor meant hosting pot-lucks, and visiting people in nursing homes. I laugh, because that really is part of the job, but its so much more. My goal is to see people transformed to be more like Jesus, and then train and equip them to do my job (just maybe eventually somewhere else). As far as tasks to see this accomplished, it looks different every day. I am a public speaker, bible study leader, event planner, marketing representative, visionary, mentor, friend, counselor, accountant, and ambassador for Jesus (not necessarily in that order).


What’s your favorite part of your job?

My favorite part of my job is seeing God change people, and getting to be a tool to be used in that process. When I went to Drake, I didn’t expect to be where I am. I went to church, knew about God and was generally a good person. Then, I met this buddy, we became best friends, and he lived like no person I had ever met. He lived like Jesus told people to live. Extremely kind, funny, loyal — the friend you always want, but think may not be real. I was challenged, my life looked nothing like his, and yet I claimed the same God. Eventually, after reading the bible, learning not just the stories, but the teachings of God, I realized I’m not as good a guy as I thought. The bible teaches that compared to God, no one is good. Every person makes mistakes, including “perfect” me. Thankfully, Jesus came into the world and died to be the payment for my sin. All my good works didn’t make up for my mistakes, only God was able to do that, and so I believed that Jesus really did die for my sins. Not having to be perfect to be accepted by God and others changed everything for me. Even though I grew up in the church, I think I understood Jesus for the first time and became a Christian my first year of college.

I share all that, because that is the kind of affect I want to, and get to, have on others. I want to be a friend who will live like Jesus, and allow God’s word to affect others. Lives and eternities are transformed moment by moment everyday, and I get to be a part of that. How could anything else be my favorite part of my job?

My family:  Ada-1, Eden-3, Owen-5, Jenny-unknown, Jon-31

My family: Ada-1, Eden-3, Owen-5, Jenny-unknown, Jon-31

What do you do for fun & enrichment?

Fun for me has changed over the years. I still love sports, backyard football, pickup basketball, ultimate Frisbee and Kan Jam. However, having 3 (almost 4) kids has transformed that somewhat. Now, I get to coach my oldest child in sports. As a family, we enjoy travelling to Minnesota and Kansas to visit family. In a way, I got part of my lake house dream as we visit our parents’ lake houses on each side of the family.

How did you prepare for your life & career so far?

Getting a business degree is probably not your typical pathway to becoming a pastor. But, what I learned at Drake University was invaluable. I was a resident assistant in the first year dorms following my freshman year. This is what really prepared and pushed me into ministry because I got my first true taste of serving others. When I was graduating, I could not get Matthew 6:33 out of my head “Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness and all these things will be given to you.” I wanted to be wherever God wanted me. That could have been a white-collar job, it could have been working oversees with missions or even with underprivileged people in Des Moines. But I saw God using me with people at the same stage of life He changed me: college. Having that opportunity to live with first year students and influence their college experience in a positive way helped me see I wanted to continue doing exactly that after I graduated.

Ministry is really about loving God and loving people. The best way to prepare to be a pastor is to spend time with God in prayer and in reading his word; then spending time with people living out what you are learning. That is enjoying the good times with others and walking next to people through the tough times.

Talking with Joudy about Jesus on a mission trip to the Dominican Republic

Talking with Joudy about Jesus on a mission trip to the Dominican Republic

What are you proud of?

This seems petty, but in high school I was voted most likely to succeed, and I feel like it’s been true. I don’t mean this in its natural comparative sense, like I am doing better than others. What I mean is, I don’t know what else I could have chosen to do that would have offered more success for me. My understanding of success has changed. Living for Christ is the greatest thing anyone can ever do, and I am proud to be a part of what God is doing through me.

What advice can you give younger people as they prepare for the adult world?

I like this question and could type until my fingers fell off, but will spare you from most of my words of wisdom I force on my own family. However, I would give this piece of advice, figure out what you are doing and why. I loved my class with Metzler because he would always ask “What do you know, and how do you know it?” This question was essential in my life totally changing directions. I realized I was striving for something unattainable, the perfect life. The harder I tried, the more fleeting it was. I came to the conclusion that this life is fleeting, and I want to be ready for the next. Faith in God has to be internalized and individual, but I would challenge all people to take an honest look at religions. I believe Christianity is the truth, but I also welcome others to look into all faiths and decide what they think about God. Is there one? Is it knowable? What does this mean for me?

I let all my preconceived notions get in the way with asking some very basic questions about God. Once I stopped imposing what I thought I knew and started asking honest questions, God changed me. Are you open to asking tough questions about yourself and life? You wont regret it.

You can learn more about the church or contact me through the website at I am at the south location.

My wife Jenny and I after the birth of our first child, Owen. I let my hair grow out so some day Owen would be embarrassed and proud of his dad’s terrible haircut.

My wife Jenny and I after the birth of our first child, Owen. I let my hair grow out so some day Owen would be embarrassed and proud of his dad’s terrible haircut.


Friday Feature: Former Student Kelly Howard

It’s been a few Fridays since our last former student feature, but let’s get right to it with Ms. Kelly Howard, PR maven and fashionista! (She’s an Iowa State — and Metzler — alum.)

What do you do for work?

Kelly and friends working (and playing?) at Miami Swim Week 2013

Kelly and friends working (and playing?) at Miami Swim Week 2013

I currently oversee consumer fashion, beauty and lifestyle in the LA office of Post+Beam, an innovation + communication firm doing brand and digital/mobile marketing initiatives with some of the top names in fashion, beauty and specialty retail. As Director, I play a key role in new business development, as well as execution of media, social media and event programs for a diverse client roster.

As the media has changed, so has my role…and it’s ever-changing, more quickly now than ever. For example, five years ago, Instagram was just beginning – now it’s a key part of our communication strategy, especially with fashion brands. It’s important to always stay on top of what’s trending, what’s new in the industry, and paying attention to how your audience likes to engage and receive content.

Every day of my job is truly unique, and having the opportunity to work with a variety of clients, create PR and marketing strategies that work for their business, and see how our work ultimately contributes to their bottom line is something I never get tired of.

What do you do for play or enrichment?

Los Angeles is a truly wonderful place to live, and I never get tired of looking at the ocean. A day at the beach or a drive up PCH is always a great way to enrich the senses.

I also strive to always be reading something. I love reading The Skimm every morning to get my news, the latest NY Times Bestseller, or fun websites that cater to everything from food, to fashion, to fitness.

And last but not least, I love to exercise. Spin class, yoga or a session with my trainer is always a great release in the middle of a stressful work week.

How did you prepare for your career/life so far (through college or otherwise)?

Whether through college or high school, I really tried to get my hands in as many things as possible – I hoped the experiences would make me a more well-rounded individual and would give me a look at how others liked to do things.

While I was attending college at Iowa State University, my first internship was with Alan Taylor Public Relations in New York. I was put on the Diageo Liquors account team, pitching a variety of accounts including Smirnoff, Guinness and Jose Cuervo. One of the great things I learned was the art of pitching – not only through email, but also cold calling, and even faxing.

After college, my very first position was as the PR Manager for the Iowa State Daily, the campus newspaper at Iowa State. I started as a member of the department during school, then stayed on to lead the students post-graduation. I had the opportunity to be involved in the development of some truly grassroots campaigns and initiatives that still exist today.

After my time at the Daily, I made the move to LA for my first job in fashion PR with a small, boutique agency. It was there I learned an incredible amount about the ins and outs of pitching and what it takes to elevate a small brand in the eyes of the press.

Kelly & friend at After School All-Stars, a charity for underprivileged youth in LA.

Kelly & friend at After School All-Stars, a charity for underprivileged youth in LA.

What are you proud of?

I feel truly blessed every single day for what I’ve accomplished, out here in LA and otherwise. I was just back at Iowa State this past weekend and had the opportunity to speak to a PR class there, as well as stop by The Daily offices. To see everything I did during my college years come back full circle has been truly rewarding.

On the professional front, I’ve had the opportunity to be apart of some really amazing initiatives, including planning Fashion’s Night Out LA for the City of LA in 2012. It was a massive event, and seeing nine months of planning come together into a one-night celebration was amazing.

Overall, I’ve loved the opportunity to mentor as well as learn from those around me, continue to make a difference in clients’ business goals, and work with a really great team.

What advice do you have for younger people as they prepare to launch themselves into the adult world?

Be willing to put in the work. The real world can often look shiny and glamorous from the outside, but the truth is, it takes hard work, resilience and a thick skin.

Driving through my college campus this past week, I had the thought – “I had no idea how easy I had it then.” Take advantage of your college years. They’re truly some of the best, and don’t miss out an opportunity to learn something new!

When entering into the work world and looking for your first real job, make sure you have enthusiasm, you know how to effectively communicate…and have common sense. You’d be surprised how far the last one will take you. And take advantage of EVERY opportunity, no matter how small, especially in an internship setting. For every task you’re given, no matter how mundane, take it upon yourself to understand the meaning and how it contributes to the bigger picture.

Lastly, find a mentor! Mentors are a great opportunity to learn and be inspired.

Taking A Leap Without The Leap Year

Leapin' lizards! There's no leap year this year?!

Leapin’ lizards! There’s no leap year this year?!


No Feb 29th this year. No leap year. So to honor not the 29th, here are 29 tweets with tips & tidbits from Carpe College.

#1. “Follow your bliss.” – Joseph Campbell

#2. The Carpe College Mantra: Know thyself, have a plan, and assume no one else cares.

#3. Start dreaming your own dreams, rather than those of your parents

#4. Distinguish between opportunities and distractions

#5. Learn to trust yourself, to forgive yourself, to get back on your horse and take some more risk.

#6. Reflect seriously and often on the question: “Who am I, where am I going, why and how?”

#7. Rich opportunities abound at college. You must be ACTIVE & INTENTIONAL to get the most out of them. Tune in. Show up. Be present.

#8. You can sit passively and watch the world go by rather than being a part of it. Do yourself a favor: choose to be a part of it!

#9. Don’t Touch It or Borrow It Without Asking! Not her snacks. Not his laptop. Not her favorite top. Not his Frisbee. No, no, no…..

#10. At 18, how do you know what you love unless you try lots of stuff? Your campus is your laboratory to find your passion, find yourself.

#11. Every time you plan your week, study, work on a team, you are honing important skills that will be marketable in the workforce.

#12. “I never let schooling get in the way of my education.” – Mark Twain

#13. The surest way to create roommate tension is bad alarm clock management. Sleep through your alarm or slap the snooze, there’s trouble.

#14. Best way to answer alarm = get on your feet as soon as possible. Best way to get to your feet = place your alarm across the room.

#15. Invite people into your dorm room at least once a month. That way, you and your roommate(s) will clean your room at least that often.

#16. Don’t assume you ‘think’ you know where you stand in class. Your perception (and math) may be different from professor. Check in!

#17. Use school breaks to shadow professionals. Get names, send email, make appointments BEFORE break. A nice complement to internships.

#18. Use one of your t-shirts as an eye mask and ear muffler to help you sleep. Here’s a video:

#19. When in your dorm room, leave your door open. This sends a message to all that you’re open to meeting new people.

#20. When walking on campus, keep your eyes up, make eye contact with others, and smile. (Lose headphones to be accessible to others!)

#21. Join roommate for meal at least 1x/week. This helps cultivate relationship & prevent trouble spots ‘cause they’re aired out quickly.

#22. Introduce yourself to EACH professor. Cultivates relationships, research opportunities, recommendations & long-term mentors.

#23. Once a month, pick campus activity out of your comfort zone. Participate & expand your horizons. (30+ for whole college career)

#24. Reach across the aisle… In each class, introduce yourself to any student. You’ll meet more people & find more study partners.

#25. “Semper ubi sub ubi.” (Always wear underwear – LOOSELY translated Latin!)

#26. Baz Luhrmann: life is “circus run like an army.” Perfect amalgam for thinker, creator, doer – 3 requirements for any college student.

#27. Healthy body=healthy mind

#28. A success formula: F3=Fix It, Forgive & Forge Ahead. Apply to both academic and non-academic life. Apply to both yourself & friends.

#29. It’s YOUR journey. Ask who am I, where do I want to go & how would I like to get there? Enjoy your path. Don’t covet paths of others.

The Winter Break High Five

Do something productive this winter break.

Do something productive this winter break.

Here are FIVE tips to make your winter break a quality one….

  1. REST & RELAX. Of course, everyone needs this after your first big semester at college. Get some sleep. Lots of sleep. Then blow off some steam with friends. Party, do a movie marathon, or binge-watch that new TV drama you missed. Then sleep some more.
  1. RECHARGE. After all the aforementioned sloth and silliness (which shouldn’t last past New Year’s), get back into a groove by getting back to healthy eating, sleeping and exercise. Play some hoops, hit the slopes or the gym, eat right, and don’t abuse your body by ingesting bad stuff. Do NOT save this for the few days before you return to campus.
  1. REFLECT. How did your first semester go? What did you do well? What needs tweaking? What’s your improvement plan for both inside & outside the classroom? Anything you wish to improve with your roommate relationship? Write this stuff down! Then, THINK BIG and consider the following…
  • What’s up with my career exploration, job shadowing, internships? Do I have something ready for summer? If not, whom can I contact to get the ball rolling? Is my resume in order? What deadlines am I up against for summer internships (Guess what…Some have already passed!!)
  • What’s up with my passions? (Music, sports, history, writing code, entrepreneurial projects, etc.) By the time I graduate, will I be able to say I’ve made progress in these areas and built upon these passions?
  • What “Carpe College” experiences enriched me? What did I learn? Anything good for my resume? (Saw a play, joined a club, took a leadership position, did philanthropy, met a professor, learned about a new culture, etc)
  1. SHADOW. Visit a professional on the job for a day. Start with people you know, then secure contacts you don’t know. Do this every break for your entire college career. (Yes, even if you get an internship. Shadowing gives you breadth of experiences while interning gives you depth. You’ll need ‘em both.  And, yes, this is a repeat from the “Three Week Streak” and “Seize Your Senior Summer.”  I’m repeating because it’s so important….)
  1. GROW. Do something new outside your comfort zone. Travel. Take a yoga, art or dance class. Take on a temporary job. Volunteer. Make friends with someone from another generation. Write a letter (handwritten) to a grandparent.

These ought to be enough to provide a rich and rewarding winter break. If you’ve got more ideas…. GO FOR IT!!

The 12 Days Before Finals




OK. There may not be 12 days before your finals begin, but let’s just go with it…

On the 12th day before finals, my true love gave to me…

A Care Package!

Check in with parents & loved ones to verify that they have ordered, packed & shipped an exceptional care package of cornucopia proportions to get you through the slow slog we call FINALS WEEK (and finals prep)!

If they haven’t, then make your own!

(NOTE:  If your cafeteria let’s you take food to go, grab a piece of fruit each and every day to stock up for finals. Rely on those “Super Snacks” with high-carb/high-fiber to stay healthy, and having an extra apple, orange or banana at the ready is the smart way to go.)

You do not, however, have to go this far.

On the 11th day before finals, my true love gave to me…

The “Homestretch Email” sent to your professors to ensure you’re on the same page.  You both agree on your current grade & agree on your plan for finishing the term strong, including any advice your professor has given you.  (Oh look! Here’s a template to help you draft your own “Homestretch Email”… How convenient!)

On the 10th day before finals, my true love gave to me…

A list of all your possible study partners & study groups. (What’s a good group? The Marshmallow Challenge could offer some idea!)

Oh yeah, and the healthy fingers to push the buttons on your little electronic device, which sends the text which actually INVITES them to be in your study group!!  (And which plug the all-important study-group sessions into your calendar.)

On the 9th day before finals, my true love gave to me:

A No-Cram Plan.

“How does one eat an elephant?  One bit at a time.” – Homer Simpson

Okay, maybe Homer didn’t come up with that proverb, and he’s not the wise sage you should turn to at this crucial moment in your life.  But the idea is sound.

Make a 2-Week plan for tackling all your finals prep. This includes finishing coursework AND FITTING IN YOUR STUDYING, TOO!  You’ll need to break all your remaining work (including your finals studying prep) into little bits that you can work on every day.

(Oh, so you caught me in a logic trap because I said to do a 2-week plan and this stupid “12 Days of Finals” thing doesn’t account for the 14 days that are in two weeks?!  So, the math doesn’t add up. )

Well, the concept does.  Start early.  Build a plan that includes prepping for finals every day from NOW through exams by tackling small bits at a time. (And don’t forget to include your study partners!)

On the 8th day before finals, my true love gave to me:

Seven Places to Study.  Why seven?!  I don’t f***ing know.  Make it six or five, but find a handful of spots that are tucked away where you feel comfortable (not your dorm room – try one of these).

Evidence suggests that studying the same material in different environments helps you retain that material better.  Different locales, but one constant – the important stuff you’re studying.  It’s kind of like that song, “One of these things is not like the others….”

Oh, sorry, did I just plant that tune in your head?  I may have just defeated our whole purpose here by giving you that distraction in the midst of trying to prepare for finals.  Ugh!   OKAY, let’s try to forget it.  Shake it out of your head.  Shoot, now it’s stuck in your mind, and you can’t stop thinking of that tune!  Drat!  Well, you’ll have to replace it with a different tune.  Try “We Are the Champions” by Queen.

Yeah, that’s the ticket!  It’s uplifting and inspiring.

You’ll hate that song forever more, but you’ll feel like a champ!

(Now, forget THAT tune until it’s study-break time.)

On the 7th day before finals, my true love gave to me:

Primal Scream!

If your campus doesn’t already do this, it’s time to start.  At the end of “Reading Week” or whatever you call the week before finals, pick a time (often Friday or Saturday night before Finals begin), gather your dorm mates, and go outside to scream.

That’s right.  Get everyone together out in the cold night air.  Have the RAs make you some hot cocoa (and maybe S’mores to make it more festive & fun), and on the count of three everyone screams at the top of their lungs for as long as they can. Then catch your breath and scream again if you need to.  Just make it cathartic and cleansing.  Release the stress, have a laugh, take a break, and then get back to work.

Yes, while all those little Who’s down in Whoville are singing angelically around the Christmas tree, you all will be screaming like … well…. college kids trying to de-stress.

On the 6th day before finals, my true love gave to me:

Lyric-less music!

What?!  That’s right.  Evidence suggests that DISTRACTIONS ARE BAD.  Wow!  We needed science to tell us that?!  And yet we still want to try to study while we’re texting our friends, checking out social media, and listening to our favorite “Macklemore Meets Gaga” playlist, so we can sing along.  Well, KNOCK IT OFF!!  Shut off all your electronic devices, find a quiet spot, and get to work.

Or, at least, make an All-Instrumental playlist.

On the 5th day before finals, my true love gave to me:

Primo Practice Tests.

Whether it’s practice tests from your professors or simple flashcards, TESTING yourself is better than simply ‘reviewing stuff’.

I also like to suggest the “Blank White Page” test.  If you can take out a blank sheet of paper, list & explain all the macro and micro concepts, and provide examples and illustrations –ALL FROM MEMORY – then you truly know your material, and you’re ready for your final exam.

(This is called a RECALL test, like an essay test.  Unlike a RECOGNITION test, such as a multiple-choice test, where you’ll know the answer when you see it, a RECALL test challenges you to draw all the information from memory.  If you can do this test, you can do any test!)

On the 4th day before finals, my true love gave to me:

Several study breaks!

This “gift” goes with the one before it.  By breaking the amount you need to tackle into smaller bits, it affords you more opportunities to take breaks, which you SHOULD do.  It keeps you fresh and focused in every way.

20-40 minute study sessions, followed by a 5-10 minute break should work great.  TED Talks are under 20 minutes for a reason!  If you need to go longer, that’s fine, but take a break each hour.  AND…. Listen to your body.  It will tell you when it’s time to get your ass up and out of that chair and to start moving around.  Listen.  Your body knows!

On the 3rd day before finals, my true love gave to me:

A Healthy Heart for a Healthy Head.

Wow, another gift related to the one that precedes it.  Remarkable! When you take a study break and walk around, you’re getting your heart going and getting your blood flowing.  This is a good thing!

In fact, evidence suggests that the first hour after exercise is a very productive and heightened time for your mind.  So, exercise daily AND during your study breaks.  Ain’t nothing wrong with cranking out a few jumping-jacks or push-ups during your study break.  Go ahead.  Drop and give me twenty right there on the library floor in front of God and everybody!  You’ll look like an idiot, and you’ll ace your tests.

That’s what we call a win-win scenario, my friend.

On the 2nd  (Penultimate) day before finals, my true love gave to me:

Rest & Review.  If you’ve planned well, if you’ve broken your elephant into little bites, if you’ve taken the aforementioned measures to make for QUALITY preparation, then you’re ready.

All you need now is REST.  Good rest.  Solid rest.  So, go to bed early with some review notes (NOT A LAPTOP OR OTHER SCREEN!), read ‘em over once while truly thinking about the concepts as you read, and then turn out the lights.  You’ll wake up refreshed, retaining material, and ready to take it on again.

(NOTE:  Penultimate is a stupid-ass vocabulary word you should have in your arsenal simply for those few times you may use it in your lifetime – Look it up!)

On the LAST day before finals, my true love gave to me:

Confidence & Clarity.

You’ve got this stuff.  You’ve taken care of your body in order to take care of your mind.  You ate right & you got some sleep. You planned well, focused on the right stuff, and you studied in a quality fashion, testing yourself and relying on your study partners to help you ‘play’ with the material.

So… you’re ready.  Be confident.  Take a deep breath, so you can relax and focus.  Then go get ‘em….

And breakfast.  OMG, I assume you’ve been eating breakfast all along, right?!  Most important f***ing meal of the day.  Get with it, will ya!  (How’s that for a Pre-Finals Pep Talk?!  Very loving & Caring….  Tough love, I guess.)


Okay, one more pep-talk! (Actually a pep-talk montage)

Oh wait!  This one’s even better! (“Let’s go get our damn trophy!”)

The “Homestretch” email to Professors


My Great-Grandfather Murray down this particular  "homestretch" with a horse-drawn fire engine.

My Great-Grandfather Murray down this particular “homestretch” with a horse-drawn fire engine.

As you head into the homestretch before final exams (or mid-terms for that matter), it’s important to know EXACTLY where you stand in ALL of your classes.  I often poll my students during this homestretch, and I’m amazed at how many of them are unsure of their current grades.  They’re not keeping tabs, and they’re not checking in with professors. (Or their profs are slow to update the grades, and the students are waiting passively by.)

Don’t assume you ‘think’ you know where you stand.  Your perception (and math) may be quite different from your professors and, even though grading policies are all laid out on the syllabus, it’s always good to double check.  I’ve heard of cases where professors decided to drop the lowest test score or exempt students from their final exam if they were carrying an ‘A’ average.  I also heard of a student who THOUGHT she was doing poorly in a class, but the professors grading scale had her at a ‘B’ grade within striking distance of an ‘A’.  She dropped the class before checking in with the professor!

There is a better way.

Fire off a simple email to each professor to ensure you’re both on the same page.  Here’s a sample, and you can fill in your own content based on each course:

Dear [Professor Plum]:
I’m getting ready for the homestretch before finals, and I was hoping to run my game plan by you.
My records indicate that I have a –% grade in our class currently, and my hope is to do the following between now and finals:  
1).  Review [A, B,and C] with particular attention to [blah, blah and blah].
2).  Finish strong with the [FILL IN THE BLANK] project.
3).  Work with my study partners on [LIST IMPORTANT CONCEPTS].
4). Attend all the review sessions.  
Do you think this is a good plan?  Do you have any further advice?  Would it be okay if I came in to chat about this?  
Thanks so much.

NOTE:  If your professor is sitting on a stack of papers or tests, trying to wade her way through it, and if your paper is near the bottom of that stack, you could wait and wait and wait.  But if you’re the one who sends the email or stops in to her office to see where you stand, she just might move yours to the top of the stack and give you the quick answer you’ve been hoping for.  Why not act?!

Friday Feature: Former Student Farrukh Mohiuddin


Meet my former student, Farrukh, who isn’t done with college yet, but who is working with my friend and colleague, Jon Schull, doing some exciting work with the e-NABLE project, finding new ways to provide prosthetics for kids who need ‘em. How cool is that?!

Farrukh helping Lusie get fitted.

Farrukh helping Lusie get fitted.

Farrukh Mohiuddin

I got started with e-NABLE quite coincidentally, actually. Even though I came into the Biomedical Engineering program looking to get involved in prosthetics, orthotics, and artificial organs, I only recently (about three months ago) found out about e-NABLE and it’s amazing work. I actually went to look at some of the rapid prototyping equipment for a different project my orthodontist wanted me to look into, and I walked out knowing I wanted to become involved with this!

Never having even seen 3D printing before, getting to actually work with it is a great experience and skill to have. It is being described as the “future of manufacturing” due to its growing popularity, customizability, and practicality. What we’re doing with e-NABLE is absolutely the best use of Additive Manufacturing (3D printing), and I am very glad to have been a part of this movement. To know that you’re doing something to directly make an impact on the world, for the better, is a very fortunate realization and satisfaction to have.

I, soon, hope to get involved in the printing and manufacturing of artificial organs and, hopefully, be able to save lives alongside making them better!

e-NABLE, an online community created by RIT research scientist Jon Schull (pictured above) that is devoted to developing inexpensive 3D-printed prostheses for people in need

e-NABLE, an online community created by RIT research scientist Jon Schull (pictured above) that is devoted to developing inexpensive 3D-printed prostheses for people in need

Check out e-Nable’s site here:

And learn about their upcoming conference at Johns Hopkins where they will bring together thought leaders in medicine, industry and public policy.  The conference will culminate in several children with upper limb disabilities receiving donated prostheses.

Friday Feature: Former Student Ben Schafer


With the start of the school year, I haven’t been too diligent about posting these every Friday.  Okay, I may have slacked a bit this summer, too.  But we’re kicking it back into gear, featuring former students with interesting stories, endeavors, and advice.  Meet Ben Schafer, who attended Rochester Institute of Technology and is now Customer Quality Engineer at BorgWarner.

Ben Schafer


At RIT I definitely filled up my time. While maintaining full-time student status, I became a New York State EMT. I volunteered a minimum of 20 hours a week for RIT Ambulance and held several positions on both the Executive Board and the Operations Staff. I also took part in RIT’s relatively new SAE Clean Snowmobile team. Make sure you find time to enjoy college, and don’t think of it as miserable school. You are an adult in college and you make of it what you want. You decide how your college life is going to be.
While at RIT in my 3rd year my father was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. As I am sure many people have seen, the Ice Bucket Challenge is something that means a lot to me because this is a disease that affects less than 0.01% of the population in the United States and not too many people are familiar with it. I understand that people struggle through life and I sure did as well. I did everything I could with the hopes of having my father watch his fourth and final child walk across the stage at graduation. However, in the middle of my fifth and final year, on New Years Eve, 2013, my father passed away.  Six days later I was taking an intercession class, and I took seven classes that Spring semester on top of my work with RIT Ambulance. I was also nominated as the 2014 Manufacturing and Mechanical Engineer Technology Graduation Department Delegate.

I began my adult career in a quality engineering co-op at BorgWarner in Ithaca, NY starting at the end of 2012. In the 9 months I was there I led several large projects and was given a formal letter of recognition by the management staff for my support and level of detail on a recurring issue that I was able to finally get resolved. I am now a full time engineer at BorgWarner in Ithaca, NY. I am the only Customer Quality Engineer (CQE) that works in the plant, so as you can imagine I have some very long days. I love my job, though, so I do not consider it work. I consider it fun.


In the near future I have plans to get a Masters of Science in Applied Statistics, my Lean Six Sigma Black Belt, and a Master of Business Administration. I am living proof that no matter what road blocks may get in your way, there is ALWAYS a light at the end of the tunnel.

“Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one’s definition of your life; define yourself.” – Harvey Fierstein 

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