Volume 80 | Issue 3
May 2012

Student Leader Profile: Laura Schoenike

Why do you choose to be involved as a student leader?

Laura Schoenike


University of Wisconsin–Whitewater


Whitewater, Wisc.


Business & Marketing Education

Leadership position(s):

University Center Administrative Assistant
and Student Optimist Club President Elect

Five Fun Facts

Dream movie role:

Nala in The Lion King

Guilty indulgence:



Semper ad meliora—
always towards better things

First job:

Working on my family’s farm

Role model:

My sister, Kari

I believe that everyone has the power to make a difference, and I intend on doing exactly that. I become involved in organizations that mean a lot to me. Most often, these are service-related because I believe the best way to add value to your life is by helping someone else. Schoenike

What are your career goals?

Just a few years ago, I was a terrified high school freshman sitting in an accounting class. Thankfully, I had a teacher who encouraged and inspired me. I have now had the opportunity to develop a passion for teaching and business, as well as to help others become the best that they can be by learning the logical life skills necessary for a successful future. 

What is one project you are proud to have helped implement on campus?

This past January, I had the opportunity to travel to Ecuador with the Student Optimist Club. I had participated in and helped plan mission trips before, but this experience was different—it tied service to learning through the incorporation of LEAP (Liberal Education and America’s Promise) goals. Overall, the experience taught me that it’s nearly impossible to spread hope, joy, and optimism without receiving some back in return.

What has been most helpful to you as a student leader?

The single most important resource for me has been the guidance of advisors. I simply would not be the person I am today without their leadership and direction. This positive experience is also one of the factors that prompted my decision to become a teacher.

What have you learned about leadership through your work with others on campus?

More than anything, leadership is about the relationships you build with other people. Each person out there is truly an individual with their own ideas, opinions, and values. True leadership recognizes all of these differences and sees the immense possibilities of the whole being greater than the sum of the parts. 

Tell us a story about a memorable experience you had with a campus group or organization.

In March, I traveled to Boston for the 2012 ACUI annual conference. I greatly appreciated the opportunity to learn, grow, and continue to develop my strengths. What I will remember most about the trip, however, are the relationships I built with other conference attendees. It was amazing to be able to talk with students who work in positions similar to mine at other schools, as well as really getting to know the students and staff from Whitewater with whom I traveled.