"The professors know your name, and that keeps you honest. It keeps you going. Whenever you need to talk to a professor, they are there for you."
Mitchell Schueller spent parts of four years doing reconnaissance for the US Army Calvary in Iraq and Afghanistan.
When he was done serving his country, the Durant, Iowa, native put his scouting skills to work finding the kind of engineering program he knew would serve his educational needs.
Schueller had experienced a large university setting for two semesters prior to enlisting and knew that did not work for him. "It was just so easy to get lost, so I knew I wanted smaller classes," said Schueller, who found exactly the kind of program he wanted at St. Ambrose.
"The professors know your name,'' Schueller said. "It keeps you honest. It keeps you going. Whenever you need to talk to a professor, they are there for you."
This past summer, Schueller found a way to be there for Milton, a father of two from Ilheus, Brazil, who lost all four of his limbs as a result of a workplace accident.
The two men met when Schueller and a group of students from St. Ambrose and Sweet Briar College near Lynchburg, Va., visited northeastern Brazil as part of an assistive technology partnership between the Engineering and Occupational Therapy departments at St. Ambrose.
During a visit to Milton's home along with St. Ambrose Assistant Professor Jodi Prosise, PhD, Schueller noticed the man had trouble accessing his water bottle while seated on his couch. Schueller and SAU senior Chris Lorenzon returned home and devised an adjustable water bottle that can mount on any wall.
It's a simple thing, but also life enhancing - which is the type of solutions Prosise and OT professor Christine Urish, PhD, set out to provide when they created the Program for Assistive Technologies for the Underprivileged.
Schueller said meeting people like Milton on the Study Abroad trip left him inspired. "He was jovial and thankful," he said. "I wanted to do something for him."