Getting to Know Katie Schneider

Katie Schneider is the coordinator of Greek leadership development and housefellow at Carnegie Mellon University. In her role, she is responsible for leadership programs within the Greek community and advising the Greek councils. She is also housefellow and advisor to the following organizations: 

  • Alpha Kappa Delta Phi
  • Delta Xi Phi
  • Lambda Phi Epsilon
  • Omega Phi Beta
  • Alpha Epsilon Pi
  • Delta Tau Delta
  • Sigma Chi
  • Sigma Phi Epsilon

Katie attended Baldwin Wallace University in Berea, Ohio (GO BROWNS!) where she studied marketing and public relations. She completed her graduate work in higher education administration at the University of Akron while working in fraternity and sorority life.

How did you come to join CMU?

Upon completing my graduate program, I was seeking a Greek advisor role on a private campus that was geographically close to my family in northeast Ohio. CMU popped into my inbox and I was instantly excited. The position description couldn’t have been more inspiring, actually. After coming to campus and meeting students and staff members, I felt like this would be a great new home for me.

As coordinator for Greek leadership development and housefellow for Greek Life, what specific ways will you support and contribute to the Greek life experience on Carnegie Mellon’s campus?

I will be supporting students in a variety of ways: advising, developing a leadership curriculum, assessing the Greek experience, and as a housefellow. While I directly advise the Interfraternity Council (IFC) and the Multicultural Greek Council (MGC), my door is always open to every member of the CMU community, affiliated or not. Advising is important to me as a way to build relationships with students and to challenge and support them through their personal journeys and as members of Greek organizations. Leadership development is a passion of mine, so I am excited to take a closer look at the opportunities for leadership that currently exist and where that blends with campus efforts surrounding leadership. Lastly, I will be supporting students through assessment of the Greek experience and help “tell the story” with the results!

What inspires you most about Greek life?

What inspires me most about Greek Life is the global impact our membership has. Fraternities and sororities truly have great power and responsibility to fulfill the calling for positive, far-reaching impact. Sororities are the largest women’s organizations in the United States; fraternal service improves the quality of life around us; our philanthropic donations save lives and lead to breaking developments in research; our leadership influences Fortune 100 companies and entrepreneurs of small businesses. The amount of responsibility we have as members of the Greek community, to ourselves and to our communities, is inspiring. I think most of all, the Greek experience becomes a part of our identity and creates a special connection with brothers and sisters – past, present, and future.

What is an important life lesson you have learned from working with students, Greeks in particular? 

I have learned this about myself and about students I work with: it is okay to fail. Nobody wants to fail, but everyone does, and sometimes failure is the best outcome for the scenario. What we learn from failure and furthermore what we do with that knowledge is what is most valuable.

All-time favorite book.

I don’t think I have a single favorite but The Giver and The Great Gatsby are up there.

Outside of work, what are your hobbies/interests?  What are you passionate about? 

Katie 1I am passionate about living a healthy lifestyle so cooking has become a passion. I am constantly thinking of how to make something delicious and still healthy. Also, I want to see the world so traveling is at the top of my list now that I have finished grad school.

This may be controversial around here, but I am also very passionate about Cleveland sports. Browns, Cavs, Indians, ever since I could remember. I am also passionate about Italian food, specifically, pizza and ravioli. My favorite pizza place is called Edison’s, in Tremont, Ohio, where I get ricotta pizza … tastes like ravioli on pizza. My favorite artist is Claude Monet so I try to see his work anytime it is nearby.

Lastly I am passionate about my family. I have three younger sisters and we are best friends, so spending time with them is always fun!

You could travel anywhere in the world for free and stay for a month. Where would you go and why?

Well this is really tough. I haven’t been out of the country since I studied abroad in undergrad and when I did, I got to travel to many countries in Europe. I am partial to Italy, as my family owns a vineyard near Florence that I never got to see, so I think I would like to go there and to Cinque Terre. Or, I would go back to Claude Monet’s house in Giverny, France.

What’s a piece of advice you’d give to a student who is considering joining a Greek chapter but isn’t sure?

Each institution is different. Give it a try and form your own opinion about the Greek experience, sans media and advice offered by others. Give each organization a chance and meet more than just two or three members. Go beyond the surface with your conversations and ask about the impact they have on the community and what their ritual means to them. Lastly, know your values and decide whether they align with one or more groups. If so, we’d love to have you! If not, that is okay, we still welcome you to our events, and support you in your decision to pursue another passion. And, we’ll still be friends and attend your events, too!

Getting to Know Jennifer Duncan

Jennifer Duncan (pictured above, far right) is the Coordinator for Greek Life and a Housefellow for Alpha Chi Omega, Delta Delta Delta, Kappa Kappa Gamma, Sigma Phi Epsilon, and Sigma Tau Gamma. She also serves as the advisor for the Panhellenic Council, Greek Sing, Order of Omega, and Rho Lambda.

Jennifer earned her undergraduate degree in history at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and her master’s in higher education also from the University of Arkansas.

Let’s learn a little more about Jennifer!

How did you come to join Carnegie Mellon?

After working for two years in my previous role, I knew it was time to look for something new. I was really excited when this position at Carnegie Mellon opened up. I’d always heard the best things about the university and knew I had to apply. I interviewed, got the job, and moved here a few weeks later.

Being a member of a Greek community can mean many things: being a mentor, taking on leadership roles, organizing community service opportunities, creating lifelong friendships, and carrying legacies and traditions forward. What inspires you most about Greek Life at CMU?

I love all the ways Greek students are involved on campus and the cool things they do for internships or in their academic fields. This is what makes the Greek Life community at CMU so unique. Events like Greek Sing would not be what it is without the incredible talents and skills of our students.

Share an example of when a Greek Life event or initiative made a tangible and positive impact on campus or the broader community.

One of my personal interests is women’s equity and I’m passionate about education. I was so happy when I learned that the Panhellenic Council supports the Circle of Sisterhood Foundation – a foundation that seeks to uplift women out of poverty through education. This is the first year that CMU Panhellenic has donated to the foundation. I love that our students realize this is a such a necessity and are doing something about it.

What is an important life lesson you have learned from working with students, Greeks in particular?

You never know what someone else is going through. Everyone is dealing with their own challenges. It’s important for us to remember this and be supportive in the way they need.

Outside of work, what are your hobbies/interests? What are you passionate about?

I’m always up for checking out local restaurants and exploring Pittsburgh. I’m still new to the city so I’m always learning something new. I love to travel, watch SEC football (Go Hogs!), listen to podcasts, and watch Netflix.

All-time favorite book.

Yes Please by Amy Poehler

You could travel anywhere in the world for free and stay for a month. Where would you go and why?

Europe. I’ve never traveled abroad and want to so badly. Europe encompasses nine of the top 10 countries I would like to visit. I could cover a lot of ground in a month!

What advice would you give to someone living in Greek Housing?

Live it up! I never had the opportunity to live in Greek housing and I’m still upset by that. It may seem like living off-campus is the best option, but you’ll have a lot of opportunity to live off-campus after graduation. This is kind of a one-time thing so take advantage of it now!

Want to learn more about Greek Life at Carnegie Mellon? Check out the Greek Life website and the Greek Life housing website.

Living & Learning at CMU: Catherine’s Experience

Marketing assistant for Carnegie Mellon Student Affairs Operations, Catherine Kildunne is a sophomore linguistics major. She’s involved in Greek life as a member of Tri Delta, is part of Scotch’n’Soda Theatre, and writes for The Cut, Carnegie Mellon’s music magazine. Above, she is pictured (second from the left) with members of CMU’s Summer Pre-College staff during the summer of 2014.

You lived in Stever House as a freshman. What did you love about your Stever experience?

When I joined Stever freshman year, I lived on the third floor as part of themed housing for the Science and Humanities Scholars (SHS) program. We also lived with people from the Humanities Scholars Program (HSP) and BXA Intercollege Degree Program. I loved how tight-knit we all became being a part of these academic programs together, and I also enjoyed the healthy dose of 3ver (Stever + floor 3 = 3ver) pride.

Stever is so conducive to everyone hanging around in the common areas. In fact, some of the most fun came from getting to know people I would never have spent that much time with otherwise.

(Also … air conditioning. I’m a bit of a wimp when it comes to weather, so air conditioning was key!)

What makes living in CMU Greek housing so awesome?

Fall 2014 sophomoresLiving in my Tri Delta sorority house this year is something I wouldn’t trade for anything. My experience in Greek life has been overwhelmingly positive, so I jumped on the opportunity to live in the house. The most important part for me is definitely the people who have made it so fun. If you ever have the opportunity to live in a house with 28 of your friends, take it!

Also, I can’t forget to mention the fact that the commute to campus consists of walking across the street. I actually didn’t think it would be possible to get closer to campus than my freshman dorm! I was happily wrong about that. The location of my Greek house is something I am endlessly thankful for when it’s freezing or raining (which is, unfortunately, the majority of the academic year).

Favorite place to eat on campus?

It’s definitely The Underground. I don’t think I’ve ever bought anything from there that wasn’t grilled cheese and French fries. There’s many more options there, of course, but … if I could only eat one meal for the rest of my life, it would definitely be grilled cheese.

Share one of your most prized CMU memories.

Probably Carnival 2015. It’s the only time when everyone puts being busy on hold for a second just to relax and hang out with friends, which is something I think is vastly under-prioritized in general.

What’s an important life lesson you have learned in your time here?

I realized the best way to express gratitude for all the opportunities I’ve had is to make the most of my experiences. You have to decide for yourself what you’re trying to get out of university, because it’s practice for real life and you should definitely be deciding for yourself what you’re trying to get out of life.

What’s your all-time favorite book?

This is a hard one, as I love to read … probably something by Ernest Hemingway or Kurt Vonnegut.

What’s something you want to do before you graduate from Carnegie Mellon?

I want to watch the sunrise from the top of a building. I’ve never seen a sunrise before and I think it would be beautiful.