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Experiential Learning: Insights from Brianna and Max

By Logan Goldenberg 
Welcome to Alvernia University’s O’Pake Institute for Economic Development & Entrepreneurship blog! We pride ourselves on being a student-run business consulting firm that not only aids local businesses but also nurtures the future leaders of tomorrow. Today, we’re excited to share insights from two of our dedicated team members: Brianna Schneider, an MBA Candidate and current graduate assistant, and Max Horn, MBA a former graduate assistant who continues to make significant contributions to our community. 

Brianna Schneider: Cultivating Future Leaders 

Brianna Schneider serves as the graduate assistant of student services at the O’Pake Institute. Before joining O’Pake, she worked—and still works—in the Office of Institutional Advancement as a graduate assistant of annual giving. Her dual roles highlight her dedication and ability to juggle multiple responsibilities effectively. 

Daily Responsibilities and Recruitment Process 

Schneider’s day-to-day activities involve overseeing a group of Fellows, providing them with project plans, and checking in with them weekly. She is also deeply involved in recruitment, assessing candidates based on their performance, leadership qualities, and other factors. “We look at a variety of things, including performance inside and outside of the classroom, and leadership,” she explains, detailing the meticulous process of narrowing down candidates through interviews. 

Challenges and Triumphs 

One of Schneider’s significant achievements is the Fellow reflection project, launched at the year-in-review event. This project helps fellows track their experiences and skills gained during the program. Coordinating event posters showcasing clients, skills, and favorite projects was a monumental task. “It was a large challenge to coordinate every poster for the event,” Schneider recalls. 

Work-Life Balance and Inspiration 

Balancing her workload and personal life is something Schneider manages through effective time management. “I utilize the Outlook Calendar to block out time for personal time, working hours, and homework,” she shares. Her brother, a combat engineer in the military, is her source of inspiration, reminding her of the value of perseverance and dedication. 

Max Horn, MBA: From graduate assistant to experiential learning specialist 

Max Horn’s journey at O’Pake began as a graduate assistant. Now, as the Student Experiential Learning Specialist and Admissions Counselor, Horn’s new role allows him to foster relationships with prospective students and guide them through their educational journey at Alvernia. 

A Day in the Life 

Horn’s responsibilities vary with the seasons. During travel season, he spends much time visiting high schools and attending college fairs. His favorite part of the job? “Seeing the beginning to the end, the storytelling of telling future students my story,” Horn says. He also enjoys advocating for Alvernia, a place that significantly shaped his own academic and personal development. 

Balancing Multiple Roles and Overcoming Challenges 

Maintaining a work-life balance involves engaging in activities outside of work. Horn enjoys walking, hiking, and coaching an ice hockey team. “Coaching is something that I can bring value to outside of my life. Inspiring the youth is an outlet for me,” he shares. 

Horn’s journey wasn’t without its hurdles. Growing up with dyslexia, school was challenging, but it also made his achievements more rewarding. “People label it as a learning disability, but I see it as that I can do what I do. It’s an extra challenge that makes overcoming something tough much more rewarding,” Horn explains. 

Sources of Inspiration 

Horn draws inspiration from his parents and younger sister, whose support and drive motivate him. Additionally, he credits Michelle Conway for imparting a crucial piece of wisdom: “Try not to live in the past or the future, keep your feet planted in the soil of the present as here is where you’ll grow.” This advice has helped Horn stay focused on the present, enhancing his personal and professional growth. 

The stories of Brianna Schneider and Max Horn exemplify the dedication and passion that drive the O’Pake Institute. Their experiences highlight the importance of mentorship, resilience, and the value of real-world experience in shaping future business leaders. As we continue to support our fellows and the local business community, we remain committed to fostering an environment where our team can thrive and make a meaningful impact. 


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