The McKendrean Magazine for McKendree Univeristy - Summer 2023

Bearcats Serving Our Nation: Hayden Schaefer '21

Hayden Schaefer Secret ServiceHayden Schaefer ’21 has always had a desire to make a positive impact on the country and help people, and going into public service seemed like the best way he could accomplish his goals. Hayden set his sights on joining the United States Secret Service – a job that always greatly interested him and would allow him to easily see the difference he was making each day.

A native of O’Fallon, Ill., Hayden decided to stay close to home for his college career and became a Bearcat. While at McKendree, he was a member of the baseball team for all four years and participated in the Student Athlete Advisor Committee for two years. As a sociology major emphasizing in criminal justice, Hayden was able to apply the communication skills and discipline that he developed at McKendree to his everyday life as a member of the Secret Service.

“Managing a full class schedule and playing baseball took up a ton of time, especially when the motivation was to be successful at both,” Hayden said. “I was far from perfect at managing both at times; however, these experiences allowed me to learn from my mistakes.”

From the intensive training Hayden received before donning his uniform to the long working hours, Hayden has experienced many exciting things and has faced numerous challenges along the way. While working 60 hours a week is a regular occurrence in the Secret Service, he has had the chance to be a part of or witness history. Of course, traveling is always on the docket for people in the Secret Service; however, Hayden is still new to it.

“I’d say the coolest place thus far has been the president’s residence in Wilmington, Del.,” he said.

Perhaps the most gratifying experience Hayden has had so far is the meaningful journey that the Service has allowed him to take.

“I lived in the St. Louis area all my life. Joining the Secret Service meant moving to Washington D.C. It was a new place, and I really had no connections,” Hayden said. “Ever since I joined, I have grown tremendously as a person, although I still have a long way to go, and I’ve made networks and friendships that I never expected and have seen places I never thought I would. In all, the most gratifying part is the adventure it has allowed me to take.”

Hayden encourages students who want to join the Secret Service to apply – and to do it early, if possible. Just keep in mind, however, that what you might see in movies is often wrong.

“People think you have to have former military training or prior law enforcement experience to join – this is not the case,” he said. “Go in with the expectation that you will work a lot. In addition, every day won’t be like the movies. The job isn’t always the most glorious, but you’re helping protect our nation’s leaders. I would recommend the Service to anyone coming out of college. It’s a great first job and opens some incredible career opportunities in the future!”