Early in his college career, John became involved in EMPOWER, a program at Miami that encourages students to learn about and explore issues in social justice and service. John’s experience with EMPOWER led him to take a position working closely with several Honors Program staff members as a community service associate for the program. In this role, he helped plan, coordinate, and execute a number of service-based learning opportunities for his Miami peers, including trail clean-ups around campus, urban plunges, a program to help create disaster relief kits for families in the Oxford community, and the Earned Income Tax Credit program which trained students to help low-income families file their income tax returns.
In addition, John worked at Miami University’s Bell Tower Place as a Student Manager for two years. He also helped facilitate an honors course called “Allies, Advocates and Action” during his senior year, which helped him to take his passion for service and use it to help first-year Honors students explore social issues and community involvement. Through experiences like these, Miami helped John discover his interest in student affairs. His experience at Miami University culminated when he received the President’s Distinguished Service Award and the Senior Service Leadership Award in May 2010.
John is now a graduate student in Ohio University’s College Student Personnel program, a program he chose because it offers him the opportunity to use his assistantship in Off-Campus Living to work with student leaders at Ohio University and to connect OU’s off-campus students with the university and the city of Athens. In his assistantship, John is able to work with the student leaders in his office to help them put their passions into action in a variety of ways that help improve OU’s relations within the Athens, Ohio community.
John enjoys every aspect of the CSP program: exploring values and philosophy on student affairs, finance and budgeting in higher education, counseling, research methods, and student development theory. He has also had the opportunity to work closely with Bob Young, a well-known scholar in the student affairs field, and to complete two practicum experiences, one advising at-risk Ohio University students, and another in assessment with OU’s Residential Housing department. He has also been involved with Ohio University’s Student Personnel Association as well as Graduate Student Senate, most recently serving as Chair of GSS’s Board of Elections.
But John has not forgotten his Miami roots, saying that “even though I love Ohio University, I still think about my Miami experience at least three times a day.” This is partly helped, he says, by the fact that everywhere he’s gone since he graduated, he’s met fellow Miami alumni: “It’s really cool to see Miami people pretty much anywhere I go.” He also stays in touch with many of the mentors he met at Miami, who continue to support him in his current endeavors.
In the future, John would like get involved in a civic engagement or residence life office or in assessment to help improve the college experience for students. He is confident he’ll find himself in the college/university setting, and ideally at a school where he can one day pursue his PhD.