Service and leadership, and the connection between the two, are something Aron Smith has learned all through high school and college.
That commitment to service is why Smith, an OSU Institute of Technology student in the School of Information Technologies, was selected as a 2016 Newman Civic Fellows Award winner.
The Newman Civic Fellows Award, sponsored by the KMPG Foundation and Newman’s Own Foundation, honors college students who have demonstrated an investment in finding solutions for challenges facing communities throughout the country.
Smith, originally from Luther, Okla., earned his associate degree from Rose State College in Midwest City where he now lives and works at Tinker Air Force Base. He’s also taking online courses from OSUIT to earn a Bachelor of Technology in Network Infrastructure.
He said he was surprised he was chosen as a Newman Civic Fellow and initially didn’t realize it was a national honor. He is one of 10 students from Oklahoma selected, and among the 218 students chosen nationally who will each receive a $500 scholarship.
“It was a great experience going to the Oklahoma State Regents of Higher Education meeting to get my award. I got to meet the other Newman Civic Fellows from Oklahoma and other university presidents,” he said.
Smith has volunteered with several Oklahoma nonprofit organizations including Habitat for Humanity, Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma, and the Oklahoma Business Ethics Consortium.
Dr. Bill R. Path, OSUIT president, said Smith is also involved in several student organizations and works to help his fellow students be responsible students.
“He is dedicated to impacting society on a local, state and national level. Through his work with various programs and his willingness to help out classmates, Mr. Smith is a true representative of OSUIT and the spirit of a global technical education,” Path said.
For Smith, volunteering and serving others is just fun. And he hopes he can get more people to see the enjoyment in it as well.
“Young people volunteering their time, it can affect other people and get them volunteering. I’ve gotten other people volunteering,” he said. “I think it’s rewarding.”
Getting a Newman Civic Fellows Award is just a bonus, Smith said.
“It’s not about getting anything out of it, you’re just helping the community. Any little thing you can do to help out, it’s better than doing nothing,” he said. “I wasn’t thinking about scholarships when I was volunteering, but it’s nice to be recognized.”