Kyle Conniff juggled his way through four years at St. Norbert College. The Onalaska native was active in student clubs, held a job, and still managed to graduate in May, magna cum laude.
Kyle, a Native American, used his unique ability to juggle to help challenge himself. His time management skills allowed him to take advantage of a variety of academic opportunities. He majored in math and minored in theology & religious studies during his time at St. Norbert.
Kyle’s involvement at St. Norbert went beyond the classroom. He was a math tutor for multicultural students, a resident assistant for student housing, and president of the school’s Math Club. He also spent a great deal of time helping to care for Abbey, the campus dog.
He will now pursue his master’s degree and was able to choose between three institutions that offered him full scholarships. He chose the university that best matched his desired course of study. He plans to study NFL sports-injury patterns and the likeliness of recurrence, with the ultimate goal of making games safer.
“If they learn how much of a risk certain kinds of injury are to players, and what could hurt or help players, it could make an impact overall on sports,” Kyle said.
As a first-generation college student, Kyle said he faced challenges in figuring out ways to fill out college financial aid forms and navigate student loans. Finding the money to afford a college education didn’t come easy, but the Wisconsin Grant sure helped. “The Wisconsin Grant meant a great deal to me because I was at a place where I belonged,” said Kyle. Because of the Wisconsin Grant and financial aid from St. Norbert, he could devote more time to his studies and to the activities that rounded out his college experience.
Kyle spent lots of time engaging with others on the private college campus, where he was able to work closely with professors and instructors, and this helped him see that there is more to benefit from developing strong research skills than future income alone.
Part of his desire to help others comes from time spent researching the correlations between race, poverty, and academic achievement in Brown County.
“I learned pretty much what you would expect – that race and poverty do affect academic achievement – but that it really is more because people of certain races are more likely to be poor, so it has more to do with poverty than what race a person is,” he said. “That taught me there are ways to use research to make the world better, other than just for making money.”
Kyle said his future goals are to live a fulfilling life and help other people along the way.