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Proudly Cincinnati: UC Graduate Completes A Family Tradition of Bearcat Alumni

Academic excellence, experiential learning and a dedication to service here in Cincinnati and around the world earned Mark Schutte UC’s highest honor for undergraduates.

Date: 3/26/2013 7:31:00 AM
By: Dawn Fuller
Phone: (513) 556-1823
Photos By: Provided by Mark Schutte
As 23-year-old Mark Schutte of Mason, Ohio, approaches Commencement on April 27, the Fulbright finalist follows a University of Cincinnati alumni tradition that includes his entire family.
the Schutte Family
Kyle Schutte, Sarah Schutte (Kyle's wife, also a UC alum),Kate Schutte, Larry Schutte, Mark Schutte and Ben Schutte

Mark’s mom and dad met and fell in love at UC and graduated as Bearcats. His mother, Kathryn, earned a bachelor’s degree in social work, and his father, Lawrence, earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. “I walked the same halls that my father walked in college in the 1980s,” says Mark, who is earning his bachelor’s degree in civil and environmental engineering.

The full-ride Presidential Cincinnatus scholarship recipient and graduate from the University Honors Program recalls that during his first term as a freshman at UC, he was also walking the campus with his two brothers. Oldest brother Kyle graduated with a degree in accounting and management in 2008. The middle son of the Schutte family, Ben, earned a bachelor’s degree in graphic design in 2010.

Mark Schutte
Mark Schutte (Photo by Dottie Stover)

A commitment to service also strongly binds this family, and Mark has upheld that commitment here in Cincinnati and around the world. Because of his outstanding leadership, he is one of five graduates to be awarded with UC’s Presidential Leadership Medal of Excellence – the university’s most prestigious honor for undergraduates – to recognize academic excellence, leadership outside the classroom, support of the university’s goals and values, dedication to diversity and potential for future success and achievement.

Despite a challenging academic program in the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences (CEAS), where he also served as a student ambassador, Schutte traveled the world to pursue study abroad opportunities and offer service, the latter through Serve Beyond Cincinnati (SBC), a UC student founded organization to build global citizens. The SBC trips took him to Peru, Haiti and El Salvador. His service with the UC student chapter of Engineers Without Borders resulted in applying the skills from his major toward service projects in Tanzania and Kenya.

Closer to home, his dedication to service has led to assistance for struggling families in Appalachia over spring break with the University Honors Program (along with his brother, Ben), and spending 48 hours in a local homeless shelter as part of a service-learning course under the UC Department of Communication. As the recruitment director, he brought in more than 800 dancers as part of the 2012 Cincinnati Dance Marathon at UC to benefit the Children’s Miracle Network.
In addition, Schutte also took part in service-learning and study abroad opportunities to India and England as a student in the University Honors Program for academically talented students. 
Larry Schutte
College photo of Larry Schutte (father)

The University Honors Program comprises the top 7 percent of UC undergraduate students from across colleges and disciplines. University Honors focuses on unique and challenging academic and hands-on experiences that reflect the themes of community engagement, global study, leadership, research and the creative arts.

“Mark is one of the most ambitious and accomplished students with whom I’ve worked at UC. He is also one of the most thoughtful and reflective. It’s a striking combination, in addition to his strength of character and vision,” says Debbie Brawn, administrative director for the University Honors Program.

Schutte’s pursuit of sustainability initiatives were also spread through his service abroad and here on campus, both academically and while working as a student advocate for UC’s Office of Sustainability – efforts that have won recognition from the City of Cincinnati.

Schutte has also delved into sustainability-related undergraduate research opportunities through the summer National Science Foundation-sponsored Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program at UC. “Typically at top-research universities, student research opportunities are available only on the graduate level, so to actually get paid for the undergraduate research – in a structured program here at UC – is phenomenal,” Schutte says.

He spent one semester working with engineering professor Timothy Keener in an air pollution control laboratory at UC on a pelletized waste fuel project to explore coal alternatives for the utility plant. Another research project involved working with associate engineering professor Mingming Lu to analyze trap grease as a source of biodiesel fuel. That research team presented at the National Sustainable Design Exposition in Washington, D.C., where they were awarded a grant from the Environmental Protection Agency. 

“Mark has proven himself to be an invaluable member of our sustainability community – demonstrating strong leadership skills and making real contributions to UC’s long-term sustainability,” says Claire Sweigart, sustainability coordinator for the UC Office of Sustainability.

Schutte also worked environmental-related co-ops for O’Brien & Gere, LLC consulting firm in Cincinnati; General Electric (Baltimore and Cincinnati); and the environmental practice group for Frost, Brown and Todd, LLC.

Schutte is awaiting notification on whether he’ll be a recipient of a graduate-level student Fulbright Fellowship at Swinburne University in Melbourne, Australia, where he wants to continue research that applies toward efficient and less costly methods of delivering the water supply system. The award would be a two-year graduate fellowship for his master’s degree. Last January, he traveled to Deakin University in Melbourne, Australia, as part of a study abroad experience through the University Study Abroad Consortium (USAC).

“Since my first UC international study abroad trip in 2007, I’ve been unable to stop traveling,” says Schutte. “I have traveled to nine different countries on six different continents.

“To improve our society, I believe it is vital for everyone to understand one another’s perspective” says Schutte. “I believe that through my travel, I have come to understand how best to be a leader and a global citizen. I intend to further these ideals after graduate school.”

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Proudly Cincinnati: A Legacy of Undergraduate Scholarships

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