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 Jesse Koch

As the Associate Director of Greek Life and Housefellow at Carnegie Mellon University, Jesse Koch works directly with Greek organizations, programs, and partners, with the goal of improving the Greek experience for all members.

More specifically, he directs advisory support for fraternity and sorority chapters, regularly meeting with chapter leaders to provide advice, help them achieve their specific chapter goals, and problem solve. Additionally, Jesse works to facilitate collaborative working relationships and partnerships among Greek chapter advisors, alumni, and national headquarters, as well as with Carnegie Mellon campus partners such as Housing Services, Alumni Relations, Student Activities, and the Office of Community Standards and Integrity. He also directs the Greek community standards process, the Standards of Excellence (a chapter assessment program), and the annual Greek Awards.

As Housefellow, Jesse supports students who live in on-campus chapter houses.

Jesse earned his undergraduate degree in criminal justice from Penn State, Altoona, and master’s in higher education in college student affairs leadership from Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Michigan.

How did you come to join CMU?  

Before CMU, I worked with the Greek community at Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois. I loved the job, but knew that I eventually wanted to come back to Pittsburgh, my hometown. Coincidentally, the summer I started looking for new opportunities, the position within Greek Life at Carnegie Mellon became available. After researching the institution, meeting students and staff members, and visiting the campus, I knew it was the right place for me.

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? 

Our students truly guide their own experience, and that’s really inspiring to me. As a staff, the Greek Life team embraces an advisory approach in which we focus our energy on student support, rather than telling our students what to do and how to do it. We work to understand the goals of our Greek organizations, give them advice on how to achieve these goals, challenge them when appropriate, and allow them to do the work.

When our students are afforded this responsibility, they create a Greek community focused on self-governance, shared accountability, and high expectations. With this framework, it’s amazing what our Greek students are able to achieve.

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

Many people may not know that the 1000plus Day of Service used to only happen once a year and that the Carnegie Mellon Greek community used to host a similar program called The Greek Day of Service, which was coordinated annually by our office and Greek students. The Greek program grew to the point where it made sense to combine efforts with 1000plus.

To me, it was encouraging and inspiring to see the Greek community take a very successful program and join forces with another incredible program on campus, thus leveraging the event’s strength in numbers and impact.

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

It’s okay to not be the smartest person in the room (at CMU, I rarely am!). Rather, understand your personal strengths, experience, and expertise, and be confident in what you bring to the table as a result.

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

running cropped
Jesse ran the 2014 Donut Dash – an event hosted by CMU’s Sigma Alpha Epsilon – with his dog Kevin.

I love dogs! I have two of my own – Kevin and Livvy – and I walk dogs every week at the Animal Rescue League shelter. If you see me walking on campus after work, there’s a really good chance I’ll have a dog with me. I also enjoy playing soccer, softball, and running. This is largely to counteract my unhealthy obsession for pizza.

All-time favorite book.

Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel. It was my favorite childhood book. I’ve probably read it a few hundred times.

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

I love skiing and have been doing it since I was 4 years old. My dream would be to spend a month in British Columbia checking out the ski resorts and heli-skiing some remote mountains. To me, skiing is a perfect combination of adrenaline rush and peaceful relaxation.

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

Your Greek housing experience hinges largely on your chapter’s respect for the house. Treat the space with pride, and others will do the same. If your members work together, you will benefit from a clean environment free of unnecessary distraction and a place you can look forward to showing off to your guests.

There are a lot of support mechanisms in place to ensure your Greek experience is a positive one. Feel free to reach out to your chapter leadership, Housing Services, or Greek Life should you ever need help or guidance!