Jacob Schmidt

Music Technology (BS)

Environmental Studies Minor

What would you say has been the most surprising thing you learned at Columbia? 

LIFE IS WHAT YOU MAKE IT!! Columbia has taught me that the institutions and corporations that comprise our society are more tangible than we may realize, meaning that changing this world is a likely story for those who want it. Whatever situation you may find yourself in, you can be the one to make the most of it. 

What experiences or courses at Columbia do you feel have been most beneficial? 

As an environmental acoustician, Chicago was my field laboratory and Columbia provided me with all the equipment and guidance I needed. The classroom readied me with the technical knowledge I needed to enter my field however, it is what is outside of the classroom that teaches you how to be a prolific member of your community. Working with student leaders and organizations showed me that regardless of what field I may enter, they all have one common aspect and that is people. The way we interact and treat those within and out of our community defines us and shapes how society will treat us back. Columbia taught me how to be a person of the people!  

I'm currently working on a project that will be showcased during Manifest. It's a Climate Data Sonification and Visualization project entitled, (Y)ears of Change! I am using my field recordings from Chicago and data from around the world! 

What are your plans for after graduation? 

I have a job lined up as a Biological Science Technician with the United States Forest Service in the Rocky Mountain National Park of Colorado! After, I plan to apply to graduate school and continue working in environmental acoustics through field work and sound art production.  

Do you have any advice for current students? 

My advice to current students is to make the most of it. Even if you find your classes difficult or dull, ask questions, not only of your professor but of your institution. Nothing is immune to change. Involve your community! Nothing you do will be greater than what you can create with your peers so, bring on the collaborators! Open yourself up to your peers as well, from your creative process to your day to day happenings, showing vulnerability allows others to be a part of the process. HAVE FUN and Go Renegades!!!