Kyle Shepard '18
Major: NSFIA/International Affairs
Hometown: Perry, Ohio
Minor: Computer and Network Security
Member of Phi Kappa Tau fraternity, Student Senate, the Dynamo, Disc Golf club, intramurals, Greek Member Academy, WRMU and UMU bands.
Future intelligence analyst
MY EXCEPTIONAL STORY
Choosing Mount Union
A family friend was a Mount Union student and football player in the 1980s and he spoke highly of his time as an undergraduate. When I was looking for a higher education institute, I heard from a Mount Union recruiter that the school offered a national security and foreign intelligence analysis major. National security and foreign intelligence analysis is a program that is not offered at many universities in my area, but Mount Union offered my perfect program and provided a perfect campus atmosphere that allowed me to feel comfortable even before I chose to attend.
I love the relationships I have been able to build while at Mount Union. I consider many of my classmates my best friends, and this University brought us together. Also, the professors in my department, especially my academic advisor, have guided me through my undergraduate experience and given me the opportunities I need to succeed while simultaneously developing a genuine connection.
A Second Home
I am always comfortable at Mount Union. I know there are people at Mount Union who will support me through anything, just like my family has supported me throughout my entire life. They say home is where the heart is and my heart is at the University of Mount Union.
Adjusting to College Life
My fraternity has helped me adjust to college life more than anything. Joining Phi Kappa Tau is easily the best decision I have made since arriving on campus my freshman year. Many of the people I have met through Phi Kappa Tau are major role models in my life today. My chapter has presented me with a way of combining my education in the classroom with a Greek life system that pushes me to maximize my potential to be the best individual I can be.
Mount Union is different from other colleges because it gives students opportunities they would not get at other universities. For example, I was given the opportunity to host my own weekly radio show on WRMU just three weeks into my freshman year. I am not even in the communications department! Music is something that I love and Mount Union has given me the opportunity to share it with thousands of people on and off campus.
Advice to Prospective Students
Get involved! There is something at Mount Union for everyone. Check out clubs and organizations outside of your field of study. Look into Greek life, spiritual life groups, service organizations, academic clubs, student-led philanthropy, intramural sports or even start your own organization! Being involved on campus has opened countless doors for me and I know I would not be who I am today without being involved.
Deciding on a Major
I have always had an interest in intelligence analysis. I have family members who have worked for the federal government, and that is what I would like to do as well. NSFIA was the perfect program to help me achieve this goal. I added international affairs and diplomacy as a second major because of the international experience I have gained through Mount Union. I realized I have an interest in international affairs after traveling to Singapore and China on travel seminars through the University.
In May 2016, I traveled to China for two weeks on a travel seminar. Over the summer of 2016, I had an internship at the Cleveland Council on World Affairs. My favorite experience, however, was traveling to Singapore during spring break of 2015 with Dr. Schortgen for his “dynamic world cities” class. While in Singapore, I was able to participate in professional meetings, networking with high-caliber business executives while also being able to get an inside perspective on the city. There was one other student on the trip along with two professors. The four of us were able to have a very unique, unforgettable experience.
New Areas of Interest
I have gained an appreciation for media through working at the radio station on campus. I have learned a lot from the station manager and I feel that my communication skills have greatly improved because of my experience with radio. This is something that I never would have thought I would enjoy before coming to college.
I really enjoyed both my World Politics and Economies of the Asian Pacific Rim courses. Overall, I would say my favorite course was Economies of the Asian Pacific Rim. This is because my professor, Dr. Schortgen, designed the class to be discussion based instead of a lecture. The class allowed me to share my opinion and thoughts on East Asian development as well as hear from classmates. We would sit around a conference table and discuss our readings instead of sit and take notes. The class engaged everyone and was something I actually looked forward to each week.
My favorite professor is Dr. Schortgen. Dr. Schortgen is my academic advisor and has helped me tremendously through my time at Mount Union. I often visit him in his office with a plethora of questions about anything and I always leave feeling confident and prepared. I was also able to travel with Dr. Schortgen to Singapore in 2015. While in Singapore, I learned a lot about the country from him and the experience even inspired me to take his course entitled Economies of the Asian Pacific Rim, which turned out to be one of my favorite courses I have ever taken at Mount Union.
Liberal Arts Education
Combining a liberal arts education and professional preparation is a fantastic recipe for success. Having a liberal arts education has given me different perspectives to view tasks and challenges. Instead of being one-minded working through problems or assignments, my liberal arts education has allowed me to broaden my range of knowledge and attack those same problems in innovative ways. I feel like my experience with the Integrative Core has seriously prepared me for a successful career in a professional field. I love being able to analyze problems from more perspectives. I feel as if the Integrative Core has given me this ability to utilize my critical thinking skills.
My dream job is to be a cast member on Saturday Night Live, however I am still a ways away from that. I do feel that Mount Union has strengthened my communication skills significantly, which would get me closer to this dream. Aside from SNL, I would love to work for a federal agency, ideally the FBI. My majors have given me a good foundation on which I can build further to be the best I can be. I want to be able to help stop global terror and fear. I feel Mount Union has given me the tools I need to be able to do just that.
They say home is where the heart is and my heart is at the University of Mount Union.
- What is your favorite travel destination?
- Anything with lots of trees and nature, ideally the Rocky Mountains.
- What is your favorite quote/motto?
- It is hard to pick, but I have two. First, “A day without sunshine is like, you know, night” – Steve Martin. Second, “The secret of freedom lies in educating people, whereas the secret of tyranny is in keeping them ignorant” –Maximilien Robespierre.
- What did you want to be as a kid?
- I always wanted to be an FBI agent, just like my dad. I guess some things never change.
- What is your favorite holiday?
- Halloween. I think it is a blast to be someone else every once in a while.
- What is your favorite app?