Gage Smith is a senior majoring in community leadership, with a specialization in community and extension education, from Racine, Ohio.
He saw the impact that community based development has on people who need empowerment, and chose to major in community leadership. He became a Buckeye because he knew Ohio State would allow him to pursue his dream of working alongside diverse communities and that CFAES believed in him and his abilities.
Now, as his time as a Buckeye comes to a close, Smith has been selected by faculty in the Department of Agricultural Communication, Education, and Leadership as one of 10 students to be named an ACEL Distinguished Senior.
“Gage has been involved in Ohio State life and academics at many levels,” said ACEL faculty in his nomination. “He is a program assistant in OSU Extension at the Community Development state office and is the founding President of the new student organization Cultivating Change whose mission is to value and elevate LGBTQ agriculturalists through advocacy, education, and community. He is making positive change in our college.”
Throughout his time as a student, Smith has been actively engaged in student organizations on campus. He served as president of the Ohio State chapter of Cultivating Change, member and social media chair of Voyagers, treasurer and fundraising chair for Collegiate FFA at Ohio State ATI and founded the Ohio State Wooster Campus Food Pantry.
During his summers throughout college, Smith interned with an international non-profit in Ghana, West Africa. “The experiences working with subsistence farm women to promote gender equity in micro-loans and savings has guided my career goals post-graduation to pursue a career in international development and community based program planning,” he said.
One experience during his internship has become his favorite college memory, caravanning alongside bull-elephants in the Guinea Savanna in Ghana, West Africa.
In the classroom, Smith enjoyed the classes that promoted learning outside of the classroom by offering volunteer opportunities at local nonprofits in the Columbus community.
“Community leadership graduates are skilled in diverse areas of community based engagement to solve the most wicked problems effecting communities across the world,” said Smith. “ If you are passionate about equity for all, progressive social change through science-based education, and creating positive change for entire communities – then community leadership is the major for you.”
Following graduation, Smith will be pursuing a graduate degree in international development.