Aleks Schaefer wants to make the world a better place. That’s not some trite goal he puts on resumes and applications. Making the world a better place is Schaefer’s mission, his purpose and his lifelong goal.
“I have formed relationships with new immigrants to the United States (both legal and illegal); I have seen firsthand on mission trips the poverty that people live in; I have lived in a two-room house that lacked running water and have experienced the struggle that is everyday life families face under poverty,” Schaefer said.
But for the most part, Schaefer’s reasons extend beyond his experiences and empathy. He aims to improve the world because “’what you have done for the least of these, you have done for me.’”
Schaefer, a senior in accounting, Spanish and pre-law, is aiming high with his sights set on working for the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), a branch of The World Bank.
Growing up in the Texas Panhandle started Schaefer on his career and life path.
“The population in my hometown is mainly Hispanic,” he said. “Throughout high school, I took mission trips to Mexico and fell in love with the Mexican people. All these factors, combined with my desire to help improve the living conditions in Latin American countries, naturally drew me toward a Spanish degree.”
Schaefer’s career path took a detour last summer. Until that point, he was intent on becoming an immigration lawyer. But when he heard about the IBRD, his mission took new purpose.
“I feel that an entire organization devoted to the betterment of life in third-world countries can make a more tangible impact on the world today,” Schaefer said.
Schaefer was familiar with Friends University long before he became a student.
“Throughout high school, I attended the Singing Quakers’ Symphony of Spring Concerts in April,” he said. “I was always impressed with the prestige of the program. My senior year of high school, the football coach contacted me about the possibility of playing college football for Friends. Being able to attend a school that allowed me to pursue my love of singing and football while maintaining a Christian culture seemed like a dream come true.”
While attending Friends, Schaefer has taken full advantage of the opportunities available to him. He sings with the Singing Quakers, played football, acted as vice president of both the Sigma Delta Pi Spanish honor society and the IIASC accounting organization, and has participated in the study abroad program at the University of La Salle in Cancun, Mexico. He’s also been able to continue his mission work and served as a finance intern for the Via Christi Regional Medical Center.
“My experience at Friends has been unmatchable,” Schaefer said. “The in-class education has been immeasurable, but the true knowledge I have gained didn’t come from textbooks and pop quizzes.”
Schaefer says the lessons he has learned outside the classroom have been the most important.
“I have firsthand experience with other cultures,” he said. “I have formed relationships with students and teachers that helped further my education and will continue to do so throughout my career. And I have learned how to live a life in the world and still maintain my character and my relationship with Christ.”