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Tom Capps

During his time at Columbus State, Thomas Capps received the Legacy Award and the MAN of the Year Award. He was nominated for the Student Employee of the Year and the Society of the Compass awards. He was a member of MAN Initiative, a facilitator for SafeZone and served on many planning committees including PONO Diversity Learning Community and Columbus State’s Day of Service . Here, he tells his story in his own words.

The experiences I had as a student at Columbus State have shaped my life – and my career choice. I relocated to Columbus from the Dayton area. When I arrived in Columbus, I was ready for a career change, but didn’t know what I wanted to do.

From my first campus visit, I could tell Columbus State places a high value on students. I was nervous about returning to school after being out for many years, and didn’t know what I wanted to get my degree in. I was in search of a degree, a passion and a dream – and the staff and faculty at Columbus State helped me find them.

I have a passion for helping others, so I wanted to get involved at Columbus State. With the suggestion and guidance of my Economics Professor, Selloane Asiamah, I was instrumental in helping to build Columbus State's student volunteer organization, Cougars for the Community. There were just six members at the first meeting. None of us knew one another and none of us knew at that time that this organization would have such an impact on our lives as well as so many others.

Over the course of five semesters, we have had a total of 282 members, 79 being current members and 203 being alumni participants. We completed a total of 76 community service projects, over 3,500 combined community service hours, created more than 50 new community partnerships with diverse organizations all over the City of Columbus, and won many awards for our service.

At Cougars for the Community’s very first event, I met someone else who would shape my life - Sarah Baker, a specialist in the Global Diversity and Inclusion department. Sarah said she was amazed by our work and dedication and told me that I should apply to be the Marketing Assistant in the Global Diversity and Inclusion department. I did, and shortly after, I was hired. In fall 2014, Global Diversity and Inclusion created the DPE (Diversity Peer Educator) leadership program and at that time, I became a part of this life-changing student employee program.

Through this program, I learned about marketing, leadership, event planning and so much more. I was able to help coordinate and lead amazing events such as the Brother’s Keeper Panel. The DPE program and everyone in the Global Diversity and Inclusion department are amazing and I was lucky to be a part of it.

Columbus State has provided me with so many platforms to succeed both in and outside the classroom and, through that, I found my passion. I love to serve others through programs and events, and I love non-profit work and service. I graduated in spring 2015 with my Associate of Arts from Columbus State and will transfer to The Ohio State University where I will earn my bachelor's degree in Human Development and Family Sciences. I will minor in Non-Profit Management and later get my Masters in Higher Education. With these degrees and the tools I have learned while at Columbus State, I know that I will continue to serve others while also realizing my passions.