Four is enough

With the change in the College of Arts and Sciences graduation requirements this past year, all undergraduate students must now complete one minor to go along with their major, but that doesn’t mean they’re limited to just one, two or even three. For Joseph Schartz, the number is four.p08-Schartz,-Joseph-(4c300)

It wasn’t something he planned but after gathering enough credits for an agricultural business minor, Schartz, a journalism major, moved on to economics, then picked up enough summer courses to cover a political science minor.

Finally, Schartz took a trip to Ecuador for a study abroad program that led to his interest in a fourth minor, Spanish.

A simple question to ask Schartz, who hails from Hartford, might be, “Why pursue four minors?” His simple answer was, “I’m easily fascinated.” But, he’s quick to add that it was a great way to broaden his educational experience, and that it’s crucial for future job opportunities.

“In today’s job market, it’s important to show employers that your knowledge is adaptable and can be transferred across disciplines,” Schartz said.

When he graduated in May, Schartz accrued 161 credits, several credits more than the necessary requirement to graduate. Naturally, it meant additional cost and workload, but in the end he decided the education was worth the investment.

In addition, he has been a member of the Students’ Association, Concert Choir, State University Theater, Fellowship of Catholic University Students Bible Study and the Van D. and Barbara B. Fishback Honors College.

But it does not stop there for the Humboldt native. Schartz has been a teaching assistant, chair of the South Dakota College Republicans, worked as a social media producer and sports writer for the Sioux Falls Argus Leader and been a student assistant for the SDSU Scholarship Office.

Schartz has also visited Ecuador, Haiti and Israel learning about higher education public policy, literacy efforts and national defense. He also visited Spain with the SDSU Concert Choir.

He has been recognized as a Stephen F. Briggs Scholar and has earned awards from the Fishback Honors College and is a member of various honor societies and advisory councils.

Taking on that heavy workload will fill up anybody’s schedule. That’s where academic advisors come in handy.

First-year adviser Christy Osborne admittedly can’t remember all 300 new students she advises every year, but she remembers Schartz quite well—probably because he reached out for help on many occasions.

“He took a lot of initiative,” Osborne said. “He’s very well versed on WebAdvisor, very much aware of what you need for a minor. I would say most of the students who walk in here say they want to work on a minor, but probably haven’t looked at the minor classes yet. Joe had done that already.”

Schartz said he remembers calling Osborne several times for her advice, getting placed for his language classes, and working out a way to fit the minors into his schedule.

“I couldn’t have done it without her, or the encouragement of Dr. Timothy Nichols,” Schartz said. “I have several pages of charts that show how I could squeeze every conceivable class into my schedule. Go big or go home, right?”

Timothy Nichols, former dean of the Van D. and Barbara B. Fishback Honors College, specializes in leadership, cross-culture collaboration, and qualitative research as a guide for honors scholars such as Schartz. “He’s been able to pursue and strengthen his knowledge in a lot of different areas,” Nichols said. “That positions him well for his next step, and gives him a lot of different options.”

Jim Helland, journalism instructor and Schartz’s academic advisor, called him a “voracious reader” and couldn’t think of another student as well-read or informed on current topics. Regarding Schartz’s future pursuits, Helland puts it bluntly: “When people look at his résumé and all the things he’s done, they’re going to be blown away.”

Schartz has been accepted to the Master of Public Policy Program at Georgetown University. He intends to study education and economic policy before returning to South Dakota.

Shawn Minor

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