Metamora’s Schnetzler has Taken ‘Untraditional Path’ to Successful Monmouth College Experience


Monmouth College prides itself on being a school where students can be involved in a wide variety of activities simultaneously.

The experience that Jeff Schnetzler ’25 of Metamora, Illinois, has had on campus supports those cocurricular opportunities, but it also adds another element – the adaptability that is available to Monmouth students.

If Schnetzler had been featured as an incoming student, he would’ve been described as a football player studying engineering who was not affiliated with Greek life.

Today, as he makes his way through the second half of his junior year on campus, Schnetzler is a secondary social science education major who’s a member of the Fighting Scots track and field team and Zeta Beta Tau fraternity. He’s also majoring in classics, minoring in history and serving as the head resident in Bowers Hall.

A new path of study

He explained how each of those changes occurred, starting with academics.

“In high school, I learned toward the beginning of the week, and then I’d have peers asking for my help,” he said. “I always found myself in a teaching role.”

Schnetzler is part of the innovative Teachers Allied with Rural Towns and Neighborhood Schools initiative, which teaches future educators to adapt to a school’s environment to meet student needs.

“Our TARTANS are committed to preparing for teaching in a rural community and being a visionary in their future teaching community,” said educational studies professor Tamara La Prad, who earlier this month led a TARTANS trip to Teton Science Schools in Wyoming to learn more about using place-based principles.

While in Wyoming, Schnetzler noted an emphasis on the students engaging with the outdoors.

“I really like the idea of that and finding opportunities to begin facilitating outdoor learning environments, such as Monmouth College’s very own yurt,” said Schnetzler, who in a few months will begin student teaching at an area school. “Teaching is something that I have grown quite passionate about, and I’m really looking forward to the opportunity to put into practice all the tips and tricks I’ve learned from my time as a TARTAN, from my peers and from my professors.”

Educational studies professor Tiffany Springer said Schnetzler “demonstrates an undeniable passion for his area of study,” providing an example from a 300-level class she taught last semester.

“Jeff delivered an engaging and informative lesson with a peer regarding the Great Depression and the devastating impact the economic crisis had on the lives of people during the 1929-1939 time period,” she said. “His ability to weave a variety of primary sources and high interest texts was authentic, insightful and effective. It is exciting to consider the positive impact that Jeff will have on the lives of his future students once he becomes a certified educator.”

Other new directions

Schnetzler came to Monmouth to play football but soon rediscovered his passion for track and field.

“I did track when I was younger but stopped in high school to pursue other sports,” he said. “After I watched a couple practices, I decided to become a thrower for the track team.”

Also within athletics, Schnetzler is president of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee, an appointed committee that provides insight on the student-athlete experience.

“Last year, I was the representative for men’s athletics, so I got to travel to Beloit College and actually be at the SAAC conference meeting,” he said. “It was really neat to see the representatives from all the colleges and discuss current issues for student-athletes with them, as well as collaborate on ideas for possible solutions.”

Recently, the Dean’s List student who received the Good Neighbor Award at last spring’s Highlander Leadership Awards, made one other change to his college resume – joining Zeta Beta Tau. Going Greek was a decision he made later than most, but he’s enjoyed the new experience.

“ZBT brought another type of support into my time on campus, as well as brotherhood I hadn’t experienced before,” he said. “I also like the mentor relationships between the upperclassmen and underclassmen. I didn’t join until I was a junior, so there’s another kind of untraditional path when you look at my college career.”

2025 and beyond

“After graduation I aim to teach high school history,” said Schnetzler. “In a perfect world, I feel most comfortable with the upper end of secondary teaching – 11th and 12th grade.”

The goal, he said, is to provide plenty of “a-ha” moments.

“What excites me about teaching is the sense of accomplishment you get when you see the light bulb turn on for a student,” he said. “I really enjoy that sense of helping better others and sharing different experiences that work well for me, helping to shape students into becoming lifelong learners, rather than just getting by.”

Schnetzler also plans to incorporate his time as a Fighting Scot.

“In addition to the educational side, I also have a passion to coach,” he said. “Track and field had a massive impact on my life and created a positive change in my academics. I want to be able to bring to students this same passion for sports while being able to teach the skills of time management between the work that comes with school and the play that comes with sports.”

***Courtesy of Barry McNamara, Monmouth College***

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