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Recognizing Talent

cyyfzmaueaavbbcThe reason we go to college is to fulfill our lifelong dreams. And that’s exactly what Will Schnabel ’14 (communication) did when he chose to attend the University of Indianapolis. He had set his sights on a career in television, and the UIndy experience delivered much more than he ever imagined. In fact, the talents he developed in college have led to him scouting for talent at NBC.

Inspiring mentors and a diverse experience have made him who he is today. “Although there’s no shortage of great professors at UIndy, there was one specific class that triggered a realization that this is what I wanted to do,” recalled Schnabel. That class was TV Programming taught by Professor of Communication Scott Uecker.

It was an eye-opening class for him. This was also around the time that Will had interned at the Conan O’Brien Show, which he scored through ambitious networking efforts, and he was just beginning to realize that these were real jobs that actually existed. It made him want to venture out and find those opportunities. Uecker encouraged Schnabel, and this fueled his drive.

“He was always willing to sit down with me outside of class and help me work through some things that were not necessarily a part of the class, but were more advanced, deeper level industry topics that piqued my interest.”

“UIndy drove me to learn more about the world in general, Not just the things I was interested in. And I got that from Day One.”

conanHe now works at NBC Universal in Los Angeles in Diversity Programming & Talent Development. His team finds talent to pitch for opportunities both in front of and behind the camera. They run a number of directing, writing, and acting programs that seek out talent that the network may not otherwise find.

It’s a role that requires a solid background in communications, but rewarding careers with innovative employers always demand more than just book smarts. Companies like NBC look for people who also have a curious mind, a strong drive and a creative spirit. UIndy provided Schnabel with plenty of courses and experiences outside of his major. That drove him to learn more about how to learn and the world, in general. It made him not only qualified for the job of his dreams, it also made him unique. And that’s why NBC hired him.

Schnabel’s appreciation for his alma mater extends well beyond his education and career. It’s also personal. In fact, he and his wife, Kelbi, met at UIndy and were recently married on campus, hosting their reception at the Stierwalt Alumni House. Kelbi also graduated from UIndy with a Communication degree in December 2014. She works for a nonprofit in the anti-human trafficking space called Thorn. It’s Ashton Kutcher’s start-up, which builds technology to defend against child predatory activity on the Internet.

Will and Kelbi, two genuine people who chose to study communication at UIndy and ended up accomplishing so much more than what they ever imagined from that experience. It’s led them to the other end of the continent, where they have each found happiness and their dream job. And they’re both crushing it.