Growing up, college was not at the forefront of Angie Knoertzer’s mind, the first person in her family to attend college. In fact, it wasn’t until her junior year of high school she even considered college an option.
“You don’t know what you don’t know,” she says. “I didn’t know I needed college.”
It was basketball coach Jim Lake who encouraged thoughts of a college education. “He told me, ‘You’re going to college.’”
That’s why Knoertzer feels it’s so important for high schoolers to get involved. She credits her engagement in extracurricular activities at the high school level as a catalyst for her endeavors as a college student.
Fast forward to 2010 and the Chippewa Lake native has earned her bachelor’s degree in Recreation Leadership and Management, and associate degree in Printing Management. None of which would have been possible without the support of her family, she says.
“My family has been a huge influence on my life, and I am so thankful for all of their support,” she adds.
She also credits Ferris and the education she’s received from faculty.
“Ferris is a really great school,” she says. “I was excited to attend Ferris because of the diverse learning opportunities offered. You’re interacting with people; everything is hands-on. There are small classes in which you’re not always sitting and listening to a lecture. That’s huge for me. I learn by interacting with people.”
Susan Hastings-Bishop says Knoertzer should credit herself. As a professor of Recreation, Leisure Services and Wellness, Hastings-Bishop explains she can give her students the tools to be successful, but it’s up to them to be motivated enough to take those tools and use them.
“Angie is a self-starter. She hit the ground running and managed to succeed against the odds,” Hastings-Bishop says.
University Recreation Director Cindy Horn agrees.
“Angie is a mentor and someone who provides a great example,” Horn says. “She’s a quiet leader. People naturally want to follow her. She’s someone I want to follow. She is truly an inspirational young lady.”
Horn notes Knoertzer doesn’t just give her energy and time to a project because she wants something in return. “She wants to help.”
Knoertzer acknowledges she takes initiative. “I’m the type who wants to figure things out,” she adds.
This attitude goes hand-in-hand with her advice to students: “Don’t sit back and wait for someone to do it for you. You will never excel or grow if you’re being spoon-fed information. So put yourself in uncomfortable situations. Don’t be afraid to challenge yourself. Otherwise, you’re really limiting yourself.”
For Knoertzer, the proof is in the pudding. She already has landed a job with the Great Lakes Naval Station in Illinois, where she will be working at the station’s youth center with its School-Age Care program – an opportunity that presented itself while she was on internship at the station during spring semester.
“It feels amazing to have this job opportunity,” she says. “I strongly believe a place fits you and you fit the place.”