A Rogers State University senior was among 11 Oklahoma college students named as a 2015 Newman Civic Fellow in recognition for service to the local community.
Austin Jobes, a medical/molecular biology senior from Cushing, has a passion for social change and involvement that is leading him to pursue a master’s in sociology.
He has been an active member of the RSU President’s Leadership Class, serving as vice president and president. In his leadership positions, Jobes has helped restructure the PLC, focusing on applying students’ time to civic engagement and solving social issues. Through the organization’s Go Green Campaign, bikes were supplied for students to rent, and the proceeds were donated in support of the cause.
The Newman Civic Fellows program was established by Campus Compact in honor of co-founder Frank Newman, who dedicated his life to creating opportunities for student civic learning and engagement. The award is designed to recognize college students who have demonstrated an investment in finding solutions for the challenges faced by communities across the nation through service, research and advocacy. Each of Oklahoma’s fellows will receive a $500 scholarship from Oklahoma Campus Compact.
“Growing up in small town rural Oklahoma gave me little insight to common problems facing humanity and challenged little the civic moral duties I now feel obligated to address,” Jobes said. He pointed to his RSU courses, its study-at-large opportunities and his discussions with professors for being catalysts in widening his world view.
As a PLC officer, Jobes said recent efforts sharpened the organization’s focus on civic engagement and solving social issues, which benefits community members and expands self-awareness in relation to the community.
“When discussing and directing volunteer opportunities with the group of 40 students, we are like our own small non-profit organization determined to make a difference,” he said.
RSU President Dr. Larry Rice nominated Jobes for the recognition, noting his exceptional leadership qualities.
“Austin’s efforts this past year as PLC president have helped the organization deepen its focus on improving the community,” Rice said. As a result, the PLC replaced several social events with a series of local volunteer opportunities. Through Jobes’ leadership, PLC students now spend two weekends volunteering, in addition to the 25 hours per semester the group already requires.
“Austin set up a series of such opportunities,” Rice said. “While each other student was asked to choose at least two, Austin volunteered himself at every single one—leading by example as well as by word.”
On announcing the awards, Oklahoma Chancellor Glen D. Johnson said, “The State Regents applaud each of these students for the difference they make in the lives of others by consistently giving back to their communities. Their civic leadership serves as an example of the role that higher education can—and does—play in building a better world. We extend our best wishes to each of the honorees as they complete their higher education and continue to serve their fellow Oklahomans.”