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This Spotlight series recognizes a student’s academic achievements and personal story. Students are nominated for this spotlight by faculty and staff.

Name: Jacob Schmelzer
Age: 21
Hometown: Combined Locks
Career program/major: Music Education
High School: Kimberly

UW-Fox Valley student clubs/organizations: President of CRU and Ballroom Dancing Club/Team; Fox Student Association (FSA) senator

What led you to choose your program or major?

Music has been my passion since the age of four. My elementary music teacher was a major influence in my life. She always encouraged me to grow and learn as much as I could about music and set me up with many opportunities. If it wasn’t for her, I would not have the same passion and drive I do now.

Why did you decide to become a student at UW-Fox Valley?

I felt that I wasn’t ready to audition at a four-year institution and UW-Fox Valley was the best fit to prepare for a future in music.

Is there a professor or staff member at UW-Fox Valley who made a difference in your life or inspired you?

Yes! Dr. Feldmann who was my voice professor last year and Dr. Boveroux who is my voice professor this year have both actively brought out the best of me with singing, as well as my daily life. They have been a constant encouragement in my musical journey and I owe a lot of my personal growth to their wisdom and passion to help me move forward.

What is one piece of advice you would give to an incoming UW-Fox Valley student?

Your adviser is the one of, if not THE most important part of your academic journey. They will be incredibly helpful to you and will never steer you away from your goals. Don’t be afraid of tutors either, there is no shame in pursuing success (I learned the hard way). Finally, join clubs! You will grow so much as a person just by attending a couple clubs that adhere to your passions. It’s not just a two-year college, it’s a community and you owe it to yourself to be a part of that amazing community.

Describe something unexpected that happened here at UW-Fox Valley.

At the beginning of my second year, I was seriously debating dropping out of school and pursuing a full-time job I had been offered. I briefly left the music program in anticipation of this. What I didn’t expect to happen was that ultimately not being active in the music program/community truly affected me and that I really was growing and learning even if, (at the time), it didn’t feel like it. I never expected to grow attached and start truly loving what I do until that experience.

When not in class or studying, what keeps you busy?

I’m a barista at Fireside Café in Menasha. I also ballroom dance both socially and competitively.

What are your plans after UW-Fox Valley?

Tentatively, I plan to transfer to St. Norbert College in De Pere to continue pursuing music.

UW-Fox Valley is a campus of the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh. Learn more about the student life and the music ensembles on our campus and the options for beginning one of more than 200 majors at UW-Fox Valley. Call (920) 832-2620 to schedule an appointment with an adviser.