Student Spotlight1

Student Spotlight: Joe Johnson

We all have a million things on our plate, but, the way we handle them is always the way people will remember us.

The way Joe Johnson, a senior criminal justice student with a minor in sociology, handles his workload and still manages to give back to the Monmouth University community is how he’ll be remembered.

Johnson remembers, “I only applied to three schools, Rowan University, Montclair State University and Monmouth. As I started receiving acceptance letters, the only school who offered me the most scholarship money was Monmouth.So, I chose Monmouth to begin my journey and have loved it ever since.”

Originally from Edison, NJ, he has been an influential figure to remember at the University. He said, “The first club/organization that I got involved with at Monmouth was African American Student Union (AASU)…it was extremely difficult to look around campus and not see many people of color. In my high school, I was accustomed to people of different cultural and ethnic backgrounds, but when I came here it was hard finding people of my same race that I could connect with. So, I took it upon myself to join the club and see if there were people who had the same thoughts and interests as me.”

Student Spotlight2Now, as the Vice President of the AASU, he has been getting involved in the things that interest him ever since and making an impact on the community including: President of National Council of Negro Women, Public Relations position for the Guardian’s Club, member of the Mock Trial Team, he’s a Resident Assistant, and was recently an Orientation Leader over the summer. The involvement most certainly does not stop there, he just went on the Alternative Break trip to Haiti, he is an executive board member of the Club Basketball team, he interns at the General Counsel of Monmouth University, and is a member of the President’s Advisory Council for Equity and Diversity.

His list of commitments and obligations is more than a mouthful. The hyper-involved senior is always looking to make a difference in people’s lives and to make someone smile.

Siobhan McLoughlin, a junior psychology student and yellow squad partner with Johnson said, “Working with Joe this past summer during New Student Orientation was an amazing experience. As his partner, I was able to see Joe in his element. Joe is someone who gives everything his all and has such a positive outlook on life. Joe’s energy is infectious and that would show when working with the first years.”

She explained, “When we would get our new session of students, right off the bat Joe was cracking jokes and making the students laugh and feel comfortable. By ten minutes of having our squad any session, he would know everyone’s name and know something about them. Joe was able to make meaningful connections with the first year students that carried into the academic year. During a session, I never saw Joe not talking to a student or hanging out with the students.”

Katherine Browna, Coordinator for Transitions and Leadership Programs said, “Joe is a very enthusiastic and passionate student leader.  His pride for Monmouth and enthusiasm for making all students feel welcome here made him a great asset to the New Student Orientation team this summer.  Joe is definitely someone the incoming students could look up to and was a great example of what it means to be a Monmouth Hawk!”

Although it may seem that simply by his resume and list of responsibilities, Johnson must be a professional public speaker, but, he said, “Many people do not know this but, I have struggled with public speaking for quite some time due to my speech impediment and those two organizations challenged me to step out of my comfort zone and speak in front of crowds. They made me realize that it is acceptable to be yourself and never conform to what others may think of you. Orientation specifically was a great experience because waking up every day and being able to see all the incoming first year students and knowing that they are about to start their journey here at Monmouth was something special.”

As Johnson reflects on all of the things he has accomplished and became connected with, he said, “Some things that Monmouth has to offer that other universities do not have is a real sense of community. At Monmouth, you are more than just a number. When you start to get involved, and take risks in different clubs/organizations you begin to expand your social network. I have met some of my closest friends by joining clubs/organizations.” He continues, “The faculty at Monmouth has a strong attachment to academic success. Professors genuinely care about students’ progress and needs.”

Michael Fazzino, a sophomore communication student and orange squad leader from New Student Orientation said, “Joe’s a great guy, he always brings so much enthusiasm and energy into everything he does and it rubs off on everyone working around him.”

On being a student leader, Johnson said, “It is being a resource for students who may not know where to find their class or those who need advice with a relationship, or those who’ve had a stressful day and just want to talk. I enjoy taking leadership positions because I want to be the person that is able to answer any question a student may have. My advice is for everyone to take up a leadership role even if it is small because opportunities open up soon after.”

Looking to the future, Johnson says that he is ready and believes that Monmouth will always be with him. “I still have professors and other students who will continue to guide me even after my time here at Monmouth has ended. It is a joy to know that people have your back no matter which direction life may take you.”