Ohio University graduates and students have been on the front lines of the battle against COVID-19 as communities across Ohio and the country work to ensure that their citizens have the resources they need. In this video shared in December by Ohio Governor Mike Dewine, Second Lieutenant Jonnierah “JonJon” Smith, a 2020 graduate of the College of Arts and Sciences and the Army ROTC program at Ohio University, helps distribute food at the Mid-Ohio Foodbank as part of a mission with the Ohio Army National Guard.
For a few months, Smith was a part of the Ohio National Guard effort which placed soldiers in Ohio foodbanks in response to the food insecurity related to the COVID-19 pandemic. mission to serve our state. The Mid-Ohio Foodbank in Grove City, Ohio works to end hunger and provides food for about 140,000 meals each day in 20 counties. “I was proud to serve on this mission and was able to meet hundreds of families while working alongside fellow service members and civilians,” Smith said. As part of the Ohio National Guard mission to support foodbanks, Smith helped with distributing, cooking, and serving food to families in need.
Smith is now in Texas where she is training to become a Medical Service Officer. She is also pursuing a master's degree in forensic mental health counseling at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City.
Graduating during a pandemic presented unique challenges to the class of 2020. Smith had planned to move to New York after graduating to begin her graduate studies and start a job search. Instead, she committed to service with the Ohio National Guard and began her graduate program online. She advises other Bobcats who are planning or embarking on the next steps in their journeys during this challenging time to be patient with themselves and the world around them as they continue to work toward their goals. “As we've all learned, nothing in life is a guarantee,” Smith said. “Don't let the current setbacks of today deter you from achieving what you've set your mind on. Adjust your goals and expectations, know that what you thought was originally achievable still is. We must understand that there is more than one path in life. Step back, take a breath, and push forward. We're all in this together. OU, Oh Yeah!”
Smith said she chose Ohio University for the close-knit community and the feeling of home she felt when she came to Athens for a campus tour. “When I came on my college visit, I had no plans of coming to Ohio University or joining the Army ROTC program, but after learning about the opportunities offered by Army ROTC and Ohio University (training, internships, study abroad programs, tuition assistance, etc.), I could not pass up this once in a lifetime experience," Smith explained.