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Jacob Schmidt

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Back to nature
It should be no surprise that student Jacob Schmidt, Ecology Club president, is passionate about the outdoors.

After high school, Jacob Schmidt decided to follow his friends and go away to college but soon realized he didn’t have the discipline to attend class. “I wasn’t ready for that much freedom,” he admits. Schmidt returned home and enrolled at Oakton, where he became a student ambassador, joined the Ecology Club, and began to flex his “academic muscles.”

Now Ecology Club president, he led the charge to make Lake Oakton, at the Des Plaines campus, more hospitable by creating turtle logs. “We built a place for the cold-blooded creatures to keep warm by bolting some logs together and placing a cinderblock underneath to serve as an anchor. I’m really proud of the fact that the turtles don’t have to rely on debris to get a little sun.”

Given his passion for nature, Schmidt is fortunate to be working 20 hours a week with Oakton groundskeeper Ken Schaefer on a range of ecological restoration projects around the Des Plaines campus.

“Being at Oakton has given me time to mature,” notes Schmidt, who believes he has benefited academically from the small student/teacher ratio. And his time as Ecology Club president helped him find his true calling. In fall 2014, Schmidt plans to transfer to Northland College, a liberal arts college in Ashland, Wisconsin, where he will major in fisheries and wildlife management. His career goal is to become a game warden in Alaska, Michigan, Minnesota, or Wisconsin, and there’s no doubt he’s well on his way.

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