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Employee Spotlight

Mindful Bytes in Making Decisions

Ryan Schuetzler leans on his zeal for lifelong learning to push through big decisions, from being unsure about his major as an undergrad to getting a PhD and moving around the country. Schuetzler’s desire to keep learning has led him to discover his passions and connect with students as an associate professor of information systems at the BYU Marriott School of Business.

Professional headshot of Ryan Schuetzler.
Schuetzler is an associate professor of information systems at BYU Marriott.
Photo courtesy of BYU Marriott.

Schuetzler tries to instill constant learning in his students. “The biggest thing that I try to impress on them is lifelong learning. Tech moves too fast to not learn and not keep up,” Schuetzler shares. He has come to view the world with this perspective through his life experiences.

As an undergraduate student at Brigham Young University, Schuetzler was unsure what to study after serving a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in McAllen, Texas. At first his plan was to study neuroscience on the premed track, but everything changed when he took the introductory information systems class and saw how IS would help him constantly learn and grow in the ever-evolving tech world.

Schuetzler's decision to major in information systems felt like a natural fit. “I decided to try for IS because it was interesting to me,” Schuetzler says.

His passion for IS grew as he advanced further into the program. After his undergraduate degree, he felt inspired to pursue a master’s degree and a PhD in the same field. “I'd worked on research in my master's program. I thought—this is a thing that I can do,” Schuetzler explains. “At the time President Hinckley had encouraged us to get all the education we can, and I hadn't had an internship that I loved in the private sector. So I decided to do five more years of school to get a PhD.”

As a PhD candidate at the University of Arizona, he was introduced to chatbots through a research project—which was a new and emerging technology at the time. “I started working with chatbots in 2013 or 2014 when I was left in charge of a chatbot project. And then I realized, this is kind of cool,” Schuetzler says. “I've been doing it since then.”

Over the years, Schuetzler has observed how changes in technology have improved the interaction between humans and chatbots. “I used to write chatbots in a special programming language. Now that ChatGPT is out, it’s totally different. I can tell the bot to be whatever I want it to be in simple terms, and it's so much easier,” Shuetzler shares.

Upon finishing his degree in Arizona, Schuetzler and his family moved to Omaha, Nebraska, where he worked as an associate professor of information systems for five years. But an email from BYU Marriott IS professor James Gaskin prompted Schuetzler to apply to teach at BYU. After never thinking he would come back to Utah, Shuetzler found himself accepting the position in 2020.

Ryan Schuetzler with his family in Southern Utah.
Ryan Schuetzler and his family in Southern Utah.
Photo courtesy of Ryan Schuetzler.

Even though he felt uncertain about moving back to Utah, Schuetzler has had many experiences confirming that this is the place he needs to be. “I get things like thank-you notes at the end of the semester from students. That never happened in Nebraska, and I am the same person I was there,” Schuetzler says.

Schuetzler encourages his students to be lifelong learners through sharing his experiences and testimony with them. “BYU students are very motivated and engaged with their professors, and BYU provides a unique opportunity to connect with more than just the content of a course,” Schuetzler says.

“I can talk about my own journey, share my challenges, and talk about ways that the Lord has helped me get where I am here at BYU,” he says. “Those are conversations I couldn't have at any other university.'’


Written by Kacee Call