Where Are They Now?
Aukeem Ballard BA ’11
Hailing from Tacoma, Washington, Aukeem Ballard ’11 used to joke about how funny it would be if he one day became a teacher. A few years and college degrees later, Aukeem changed his tune. After receiving his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Lewis & Clark, this Woodrow Wilson Rockefeller Brothers Fund Fellow can be found teaching at Summit Prep in Redwood City, California.
What is your fondest memory of Student Leadership and Service (SLS) and/or the Center for Career and Community Engagement (3CE)?
Building out SLI (student leadership institute) and leading the GOLD retreat, of which Spring Into Action was a product.
What inspired your involvement with SLS and/or 3CE?
I felt a longing for service. I walked into Kelly Hoover’s office and she immediately had multiple concrete ways for me to get involved. At the conclusion of that year I was awarded the student life internship for what was then called Leadership and Service.
Did your experience with SLS and/or 3CE shape your career goals and prepare you for life after graduation? If so, how?
Absolutely. It gave me the support and guidance to achieve such audacious goals as creating a mentorship program for youth (DUO). I had visions, and they had wisdom. As an intern, they treated me as an equal. I went to all staff meetings and operated on behalf of the office. I now work in education and nonprofit work. I help lead a nonprofit dedicated to empowering young teens in being difference makers in their community and globally.
What professional skills or connections did you gain from your involvement in SLS and/or 3CE?
Through 3CE I got connected with a varied of networks. Most notably is Emily Gilliland’s, who is the current CEO and President of Campfire Columbia. I also gained immeasurable skills in development, event planning, navigating hierarchical structures, grant writing, fundraising, media, advertising, bringing groups together, and facilitation.
What advice would you give to current students about leadership, service, and community engagement?
Be bold. There are no limits. Operate as if money is not a concern. There is always money to be used somewhere. We got $7,000.00 from the President’s office. And lastly, leadership and service should be synonymous.
In one sentence, what do leadership and service mean to you?
The intersection of needs and progress are often seen most accurately through the eyes of the humble.