Campus News Student Spotlight

West to East

Commencement student speaker Kyle Huemme poses on the Challenge Course at Lake Herrick.
Commencement student speaker Kyle Huemme poses on the Challenge Course at Lake Herrick. (Photo by Chamberlain Smith/UGA)

Student speaker Kyle Huemme shares his thoughts on growth and perseverance

Growing up in Thousand Oaks, California, a large suburb of Los Angeles, Kyle Huemme didn’t have a clue where he wanted to go to college, only that he wanted to try something new.

Huemme fell for the charm of the Classic City and the University of Georgia after a college advisor encouraged him to tour the campus during his senior year at Westlake High School.

Now, as he prepares to address his peers as the student speaker at the upcoming fall Commencement ceremony, Huemme reflects on a collegiate journey marked by opportunity and service.

Changes abound

While Huemme started his studies as a criminal justice major, he quickly realized his future would be in business.

“That first semester I took a survey of accounting class and had a really great professor who was like, ‘Kyle, if you’re doing super well in this class, you seem to enjoy the material, maybe you should make a switch,'” he said. “So, I was like, ‘Great point, why not?'”

His swap to the Terry College of Business led him to be involved in numerous professional organizations, including the Magellan Program, Delta Sigma Pi and others.

Kyle Huemme leads a college readiness ExperienceUGA workshop for local high school seniors.

Kyle Huemme leads a college readiness Experience UGA workshop for local high school seniors. (Photo by Chamberlain Smith/UGA)

One such organization that he is particularly proud of is Experience UGA, where he has served as a student ambassador since his freshman year. This has allowed him to connect with hundreds of students in the Athens community and share just how special UGA can be.

Huemme emphasized how important it is for the students to know just how many options that they have, from programs to scholarships to interests.

“It’s been a really great opportunity to get a little more connected with the community and learn a little more about the area and the people that make it up,” he said. “That was definitely something my parents instilled in me early on, giving back to the community.”

Off the ground

Huemme values a broad overview in his work, much like the expansive views at the UGA ropes course.

He first got involved through the Institute for Leadership Advancement certificate program during a team building activity held there, which led him to an open job opportunity.

Commencement student speaker Kyle Huemme goes down the zip line on the Challenge Course at Lake Herrick.

Commencement student speaker Kyle Huemme goes down the zip line on the Challenge Course at Lake Herrick. (Photo by Chamberlain Smith/UGA)

Since then, he has helped to lead many of the same leadership courses, from groups of professors to Athens-area offices.

“I’m getting paid to zip line and climb out of trees. Pretty awesome job, so hard to complain,” he said. But the job means much more to him than the connections and climbing.

“When my dad was at UCLA, he essentially helped rebuild their ropes course and worked the ropes course all summer,” he said. “When he found out that I was working a ropes course during college too, that was a cool thing for him, kind of completed the full circle.”

Upward and onward

Even though he feels like he just got here, Huemme has certainly taken every opportunity that he can, from internships at top firms in Atlanta and California, to traveling to Spain and Belgium, to leading student organizations, to soaking in the Athens life that we all love.

The one thing that he says keeps him going? Curiosity.

Whether it’s taking a random class that interests you or introducing yourself to everyone you meet, there are always new experiences to chase.

“I’ve always been curious, and taking advantage of opportunities is definitely something I’ve been very, very blessed to do,” Huemme said, “My grandparents definitely hype me up enough and make it seem like I’ve done a good job taking advantage of opportunities here, so I’ll listen to my grandma and take her word for it that I’ve done a very good job.”

Even though he’s graduating with a major in accounting, a minor in criminal justice and a certificate in personal and organizational leadership, he would love to stick around for another year to pursue a Master of Accountancy next fall.

Until then, he plans on building his resume with two more internships in the Atlanta area.

He also plans on spending some more time with his parents, who just moved to the Athens area a few months ago. It seems that they fell in love with it just like Huemme did on that first visit.

Looking back on his journey, Huemme concluded with a light-hearted observation: “It’s funny how it all kind of just works out.”