Growing up in Valliant, a town of almost 800 people, Katie Hardin saw firsthand how important service to those in your community can be.
When the 7-year-old sister of one of her best friends died in a car crash, she said the community came together to support the family with anything they needed.
She saw it again after her uncle, a fixture in the community, passed away, and the people of Valliant came to the aid of her aunt.
“I’ve seen what my community at home can do. It blew me away,” said Hardin, a student in the Business program at OSU Institute of Technology’s School of Arts & Sciences.
She herself has helped organize blood drives and canned food drives around the holidays.
“I loved doing that because it helped our community,” she said. “I try to help out anywhere I can, anywhere that’s needed.”
Hardin, who is finishing up her second semester at OSUIT, was recently announced as a 2018 Newman Civic Fellows Award winner.
“I was really honored. I was so happy, and it’s very humbling,” Hardin said.
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.
Hardin is working toward her Associate in Science in Business and then plans to transfer to East Central University to earn a bachelor’s degree before starting a career in event planning.
“I feel like it would be a lot of fun. I’m a really social person,” she said.
Hardin came to OSUIT to follow in the footsteps of her mother, who also attended the university, but admits her first semester wasn’t always smooth sailing.
“It’s a whole other transition. Luckily my mom prepared me for this,” she said. “I’m thankful for my mom for teaching me to be independent.”
Now she’s made some good friends and is looking to make a difference at OSUIT. Serving others in your community is important because those people are your community, she said.
“They’re struggling, and if you can do your hardest to help, you should. You never know what’s going on in someone else’s life and you never know the impact that can have. Just one small task can make a big difference,” Hardin said. “You’re nothing without your community, so why not give back?”