ATU’s Johnson to receive national award for civic engagement

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RUSSELLVILLE, Ark. (News release) — Kara Johnson, coordinator of civic engagement in the Arkansas Tech University Department of Campus Life, has earned the 2020 National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) Rising Star Award in the commitment to civic engagement category.

According to NASPA, the honor recognizes “a new professional, graduate student or undergraduate student who has illustrated commitment to civic learning and democratic engagement.”

Johnson’s efforts have helped engage ATU students in such projects as the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge, the NASPA Lead Initiative, Campus Compact and the Voter Friendly Campus initiative.

“Ms. Johnson is truly an outstanding new professional with real potential to make a difference in the field,” wrote Dr. Keegan Nichols, ATU vice president for student affairs, in a letter recommending Johnson for the NASPA Rising Star Award. “She is a rare professional who has the passion combined with the drive to make a difference. Her strengths include empowering others, teamwork, passion, enthusiasm for learning and developing herself and others. She knows that every person can make a difference and strives to be the person who changes the world, one decision at a time.”

A 2015 graduate of Arkansas Tech, Johnson was among the inaugural class for the ATU 19 of the Last 9 outstanding young alumni award. She is a graduate of the Russellville Regional Leadership Academy and a Red Coat Ambassador for the Russellville Area Chamber of Commerce.

“Kara’s leadership style is one that is very reflective and thoughtful, actively thinking through how our decisions will influence the lives of students,” wrote Dr. Brett Bruner, dean of student engagement in the ATU Division of Student Affairs, in the letter nominating Johnson for the NASPA Rising Star Award. “She is an outstanding team player, willing to volunteer in whatever is needed for the department, the division and the university. Kara has a bright future ahead of her in the student affairs profession and the local community.”

Johnson will be recognized at the 2020 NASPA Annual Conference on March 31 in Austin, Texas.

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