Leading by example © June 7, 2007 Norwich University Office of Communications

Photograph of Kyle Schoelz.

Photo by Jay EricsonKyle Schoelz taking a break from studies.

For many students, being a computer engineering major with minors in math and computer science would be enough to keep busy, but not for Kyle Schoelz. On top of his demanding academic schedule, Schoelz has found the time to involve himself in the Norwich community as well as the world at large. For his efforts, the Norwich senior was chosen as the 2007 Dean of Students’ Student Leader of the Year.

“I was pretty surprised and shocked,” he said of receiving the award. “I knew three of the other nominees and they have all done great work, too.” The honor, for which students are nominated by faculty and staff of the Dean of Student’s office, was awarded at an April 24 banquet. According to Jane Davies Lane from the Dean of Student’s Office, Schoelz stood out above the other nominees due to his continuous involvement in the University’s volunteer activities and his excellent academic record.

Norwich Director of the Office of Volunteer Programs Nicole DiDomenico, nominated Schoelz for his unassuming leadership style. “He’s just a regular guy, not a loud leader,” she said. “He leads by example and sets the pace for others to follow.“ DiDomenico attributes this to the fact that “…he is remarkably mature and he makes the other students want to be mature and level-headed, like he is.”

In discussing the prestigious title he’s earned, Schoelz said leading by example is the only effective way to work with others.

“It’s virtually impossible to lead people without being a good example to them,” he said. “I’ve seen people I’ve worked with in the past who have sometimes been hypocritical in what they ask people to do ... I think that’s no way to work with others.”

Also important to Schoelz is, “knowing everyone on a personal level. In this way, you can relate to their problems and help them work through the tough times more easily.” He sees this as a way to develop a trust that will help the group during tough times.

Another habit central to Schoelz’s leadership is taking into account other people’s ideas; Schoelz said he feels it can help make a group more cohesive. But, along with listening to other people, “a leader has to be willing to make the hard decisions and be willing to live with the consequences,” he said.

Schoelz has played the leader role in many facets of the Norwich community – while at the University he’s served as the president of the Vermont Beta Chapter of Tau Beta Pi, a member of Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, a co-chairman of the Civilian Honor and Disciplinary Committee, a Resident Assistant and a participant and co-site leader on Alternative Spring Breaks.

Balancing all of these activities while maintaining a high GPA is a daunting task, but Schoelz takes it all in stride.

“Things just seem to always magically get done somehow,” he said. “You just have to dedicate your time.”

And time management is the key to managing all of these various tasks, he said. “Some things have to be done right there and then, and you have to know when to push other things back.”

Schoelz has dedicated his time to taking advantage of the complete Norwich experience. “When I came to college, I just wanted to get involved in things I haven’t done, to have unique experiences to go along with my technical studies,” he said. That desire has taken him to Hartford, Connecticut, and to Gulfport, Mississippi, with Alternative Spring Break. It has also afforded him the opportunity to involve himself in things outside of his studies, such as the Honor Council.

But Schoelz has other reasons to be of service to the community, one of which is his religious upbringing, and another is a strong dislike for complacency.

“I feel I have a duty to help people to the best of my abilities,” he said. “I get frustrated when people complain about things and don’t do anything to change it because they think they can’t do anything. Well, you can if you just try.”

Norwich has helped Schoelz live up to this duty. “I have friends at other schools who don’t seem to have opportunities unless they work for them,” he said, “but the opportunities are there at Norwich. It was easy for me to take them and to learn to be a leader.”

DiDomenico, who has worked with Schoelz since he first came to Norwich, agreed. “I have seen him progress from his freshman year until now. If you looked at his progression on a graph, it would be a steady increase,” she said.

And while one might think that Schoelz’s greatest contribution to the University is the tangible work he has done, DiDomenico noted that she appreciates the consistency in his effort and his honesty.

“Norwich needs students like that,” she said. “Schoelz represents all of the guiding values that Norwich upholds.”