ECP Service Dossier Spotlight Series: Jason Huang, Spring 2023
Engaged Citizen Information
Hometown: Buford, Ga.
Profile: Embraces leadership roles, distinct service & service-learning experiences, GeauxTeach Student
Service-Learning Credits: Seven
Approx. Hours Completed: 105
CCELL: In your own words, what is an Engaged Citizen?
Jason: I feel like an Engaged Citizen is someone who truly immerses himself or herself in the community by providing help where it is needed. An Engaged Citizen is someone who just truly loves what he or she does [to help] with the community needs.
C: How did you get started working with the Engaged Citizens Program?
J: I first found out about service learning by just browsing through LSU’s numerous websites. I was very interested in the different programs that LSU had to offer. I was browsing through the Communication across Curriculum (CxC) site, and discovered I was qualified for CxC so I joined that first. Engaged Citizens was the second program I came across [in my search]. I read into the details a little bit and learned all about service learning and the community service opportunities that Engaged Citizens provides, and I felt that this program really aligns with my worldview and what I believe in so I decided to join.
C: How did you first get involved with volunteering and service?
J: I was actually involved in community service before I joined the [Engaged Citizens] program. I was very active in the LSU Badminton Club, and I was actually the president of the club. We would have a couple of volunteer events every semester and I would participate in those. I am also pretty active in the College of Science, and I volunteered a lot at their events such as science exploration days. A big event I volunteered with was Geaux Science Girls’ Day at the Museum or STEM Story Time. I’d always volunteer for those because they’re just really fun programs to volunteer in and they’re so rewarding.
C: What do you enjoy most about volunteering?
J: I enjoy seeing the progress that I make [in a community]. I think a really good example of this was when I volunteered for a community garden in Baton Rouge where a lot of residents around the area relied on the garden’s seasonal produce items. During the spring, [other students and I] went and planted seeds of numerous produce items and would track the growth over the semester. Come Fall semester, our program manager sent us a picture in a group chat and she was like, “oh my gosh, guys! Look at your vegetables! They’re growing so well!” It’s small things like that that make community service worth it because you’re putting in the work but you’re also seeing how your work can impact people.
C: What would you like service-learning on LSU’s campus to look like in 10 years?
J: I would love to see LSU service-learning be more popular. Right now, when I tell people about the Engaged Citizens Program they don’t know a lot about it or they think that it is new to campus. I feel like a lot more students can know about this program and immerse themselves in it. In 10 years, I want to see more people getting involved in community service, joining the program, and using the program’s resources.
C: What is one of your favorite memories from your time working as an ECP student?
J: Hundred percent my favorite memory is when the Men’s Basketball Final Four was in New Orleans. My buddy and I found out about this [volunteer] opportunity through a sports management friend to volunteer for the NCAA. We went down there and volunteered for the fanfest and the music fest for the Men’s Final Four. It was such a big event, and as volunteers we got event access for the fests. I got to meet Daniel Jones, the quarterback for the New York Giants, and also some head coaches for other universities. I really liked volunteering for that event because there were so many people and they all had happy faces on because they were basketball fans. So, you’re just there volunteering and making them even happier.
C: Why did you choose to take service-learning classes—since your biology curriculum does not require it?
J: I am a part of the GeauxTeach program at LSU, and a lot of times I feel like teaching is a lot like doing [community] service because you are impacting the next generation of people. That is why I contract optioned a couple of my teaching courses because I wanted to go the extra mile of not only teaching the students but also writing more lesson plans so that future teachers can use those lessons as resources to better the community.
C: What did you enjoy about your service-learning experience?
J: I really enjoyed BIOL 4263, which was Marine Communities Lab. For that experience, I saw a correlation between marine communities and the high school biology curriculum. I partnered with the Capital Area STEM Network Center and wrote two lesson plans for not even in-class teaching, but rather an after school informational session. It was not meant to be a part of the Louisiana High School standards curriculum but rather it is meant to be something fun that students can just relax and enjoy after school. This was in connection to EDCI 4500 (Instructional Models for Mathematics and Science), and I want to give a big shout out to [Senior Biological Sciences Instructor] Barry Aronhime because he is a great professor that really knows the nuances of teaching. I feel like he really influenced me to write my lesson plans for the course.
C: Do you think you will continue to implement service learning and volunteering in the future?
J: Oh, of course! I am a biology major with a concentration in pedagogy and am on the pre-dentistry pathway, so after I graduate I will be doing a one year internship at a local high school and during that time I want to take charge of some sort of environmental club or conservation club so that we can have outreach events that improve the ecosystem and promote sustainability efforts. When I get to dental school, I don’t want to stop volunteering and I want to keep giving back to the community because that is what I believe in. I will definitely be volunteering at whatever opportunities they have available.
C: What would you say to incoming LSU students to inspire them to participate in service learning?
J: I would say to try to find the good in yourself and develop a sense of compassion for other people, especially those less fortunate than we are. I would encourage them to just do it because it is so rewarding and nice to see everybody happy at the end of the day.
You can access more information about Jason on his website: https://sites.google.com/view/jason-huang/home.