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Program Coordinator Senior,
ASU Lodestar Center
"The few, the proud..." Okay, okay — I stole this slogan from the U.S. Marine Corps. So, sue me! But I think it fits the graduating class of American Humanics (AH) students, all 18 of them.
The 18 students being recognized at the annual graduation celebration will have completed all requirements during the spring, summer, and fall semesters of 2011. Requirements not only include courses towards their degree program, but also 30 additional hours of coursework and 200 Career Field Exploration (CFE) hours — designed to assist students in "trying out" different nonprofit organizations and the jobs within them before they make any decisions about full-time employment. Once students complete the AH certification, which also includes a full-time, 600-hour semester as an intern, they have the tools and confidence necessary to begin working for a nonprofit organization and immediately make a significant contribution.
We held the American Humanics Senior Recognition Dinner on Monday, April 25th at the George Washington Carver Museum and Community Center, led by a first-generation AH alumna, Princess Crump. This year's theme, "Remember our Past, Recognize our Successes, Rediscover our Passion," was designed to highlight the successes of over 400 ASU/AH alumni working in the community to make a positive change. Princess exemplifies the work of a successful community leader with her help in renovating the Museum and her efforts over the last 10 years to develop a true community center in the Central Neighborhood. Her words to the graduates were, "You never know where your skills will take you, so learn all you can about whatever you are interested in doing." She is proud that she now understands how to read blue prints (and even has her very own hard hat and steel-toed boots)!
Dr. Bob Long, Distinguished Visiting Professor in Youth and Nonprofit Leadership from Murray State University, delivered an inspirational keynote address to graduates. He noted the importance of listening and shared his philosophy on being a good leader. Dr. Long joined Don Lindner (Chair of the ASU Lodestar Center's Advisory Council) and Dr. Robert Ashcraft (Director of the American Humanics program at ASU and Executive Director of the ASU Lodestar Center) in congratulating the graduates. Friends, family, ASU faculty, and AH students also attended in the recognition of the following graduates:
Brittany Fasnacht, Laura Bedrick, Sarah Amaral, Molly Strange, Kasarah Brown, Joe Petinatto, Justin Hoffman, Kelly Shingleton, Annalisa Jaquez, Mary Whattcot, Lorenzo Salgado, Brittany Statt, Emma Hockenberg, Kathleen Smith, David Heyward, Adam Brown, Megan Vrooman, and Amanda Nikolic.
As part of the dinner tradition, AH student leaders, Justin Hoffman, Chief Executive Officer of the AH Student Association, and Torrie Yerkovich, Senior Dinner Chair, planned and hosted the event. Leadership opportunities such as these are the hallmark of the AH program and serve as valuable training for future employment in the sector. They did a terrific job and kept the evening light-hearted and, most importantly, heartfelt.
Additionally, many of the graduates were selected for various awards and scholarships. (Click here to access the full list of recipients.)
On a personal note, this being my first year as coordinator for the program, I struggled seeing the 18 students before me. I wondered, had I done enough, given the right advice, been a successful coach and mentor? Many of these students worked part and full-time jobs, parented children, volunteered their time, and much more while fulfilling their coursework and requirements. These students struggled in many ways and, somehow, completed what they started out to accomplish with passion and fierce commitment. I wonder, will their hard work create a better life for others? Will they make any difference to the world? I truly believe they will. With or without my direction, as well as the direction and support of faculty, staff, and all that ASU has to offer, they are ready to make their own path. In fact, they are now "certified to change the world."