Kyle Schmidt, a social science education major in USF’s College of Education, was selected to receive the College of Education’s Graduation with Distinction Award for the Fall 2021 semester.
The Graduation with Distinction Award is presented to select undergraduate students in the College of Education who stand apart from their peers based on their academic excellence, professional development, community service or research and scholarship while a student at USF.
A self-described lifelong learner, Schmidt will graduate from USF a semester early with a 3.68 GPA. He says his love for learning is what pushed him to take a full course load each semester, despite obstacles such as a shift to fully online learning during the global pandemic.
Schmidt, who is also a student in the Judy Genshaft Honors College, pursued as many opportunities as possible while studying at the university. For his honors thesis, he explored the effectiveness of using the Socratic method in a history classroom to achieve cultural competence outcomes.
Drawn to the university because of its ambiance and the strong reputation of the College of Education, Schmidt said his love for the university grew because of the various places he’s explored and the people he’s learned from over the years.
“The community here (at USF) has been phenomenal,” Schmidt said. “It’s very multicultural and it’s really a beautiful thing to be able to interact with people who are from all over the planet. There’s so many different cultural clubs that the university offers. You can bring that culture into the classroom, and it really helps you relate with some of your students who may have relation to the people you are interacting with at the university.”
Outside of his studies, Schmidt stayed involved at USF by completing service-learning projects and serving as a tutor in the College of Education’s Tutor-a-Bull Program. With his friends, he also helped launch a new student organization on campus, The Bull Warriors, which provides free mentoring and tutoring services to children in underserved communities. During breaks from his studies, he volunteers at USF’s Botanical Gardens and Edison and Ford Winter Estates in Ft. Myers, Fla.
Schmidt says his time at USF has allowed him to develop friendships with peers from around the world and his studies in the College of Education have effectively prepared him to become a social science educator after graduation.
For students who find themselves on a similar path, Schmidt says his advice is to stay in the moment and to take advantage of the boundless opportunities available while at USF.
“Appreciate every moment you have here,” Schmidt said. “…There’s so many different opportunities, so many different things you can do on campus, so many different organizations to get involved with, so many new friends to make—and you’ve got to soak it all in.”
Ceremonies for the University of South Florida’s Fall 2021 Commencement will be held at the Yuengling Center on USF’s Tampa campus and will honor graduates from all three campuses. Graduates from the College of Education will be recognized on Friday, December 10 at 6:00 p.m.