OSU Institute of Technology Culinary Arts student Tricia Bear finds that community service allows her to help fellow veterans and college students who need it the most.
"Giving back and assisting others is my connection to the community by improving it and making it a better place for all of us to live a quality life," said Bear.
This type of outlook qualified this Henryetta native to be named one of the 2021 Newman Civic Fellows Award winners. The 2021 cohort comprises 212 students from 39 states, Washington D.C., and Mexico.
"It's truly an honor to be named a Newman Civic Fellow," said Bear. The training that Campus Compact provides through the Newman Civic Fellowship training will give me the knowledge required to successfully make a significant impact on social issues within our community."
The students selected for the yearlong fellowship are leaders on their campuses who demonstrate a commitment to finding solutions for challenges facing communities locally, nationally, and internationally.
"I had gotten to know Tricia on a personal level since she started volunteering in Pete's Pantry, and she is an exceptional human," said OSUIT President Bill R. Path. "OSUIT is lucky to have such a fine individual who has a heart so full of kindness and compassion for others. She has personally purchased clothing for our clothing closet because she is very aware of the need and wants to make sure students know they do not have to go without. She is an inspiration to her fellow classmates as well as to faculty and staff. Tricia demonstrates leadership in and out of the classroom on a daily basis and thrives in the community."
Bear served in the United States military for 21 years and currently volunteers as a Veteran Service Officer for the Veteran of Foreign Wars Post 539. There she helps with the VFW feed the vets program, delivers and sets up hospital beds for disabled veterans and completes VA claims paperwork for veterans and their dependents.
She is also a member of the Disabled American Veterans and an ambassador for Mission 22, a non-profit organization fighting in the war against veteran suicide.
Bear is determined to make a difference in the lives of others, all while pursuing her education. On campus, she volunteers at and donates to Pete's Pantry and works the OSUIT Culinary Arts events, including providing meals to the women's shelter. She is also a member of the OSUIT Future Chefs Association and National Society of Leadership and Success honor society.
"In addition to helping others, community service allows me to improve important workplace skills such as communication, organization, teamwork, planning, problem-solving and task management," she said.
After graduating from OSUIT with her Culinary Arts degrees, Bear plans to continue her education and pursue an additional Business degree at OSUIT, which will help her one day open and manage a gourmet, buffet-style restaurant.
Bear also plans to write a book about her life and military service to compliment the song "March on Soldiers" that she wrote to encourage all soldiers never to give up hope. Bear's poetry and songs, published in three poetry books, can be viewed on her website theamericansoldier.org.
Through the fellowship, Campus Compact provides Fellows with a variety of learning and networking opportunities that emphasize personal, professional, and civic growth. Each year, fellows participate in numerous virtual training and networking opportunities to help provide them with the skills and connections they need to create large-scale positive change. The cornerstone of the fellowship is the Annual Convening of Fellows, which offers intensive skill-building and networking over the course of two days. The fellowship also provides fellows with pathways to apply for exclusive scholarship and post-graduate opportunities.