Students recognized for their leadership

April 20, 2020
Three students receive the 2020 Lee Johnston Leadership Awards.

The Lee Johnston Leadership Award recipients are School of Environment and Natural Resources (SENR) undergraduate students who demonstrate outstanding student leadership and involvement in the SENR.  Each of our recipients receives a framed certificate recognizing their achievements and a scholarship award.  We are very excited to recognize and honor our undergraduate student leaders in the School of Environment and Natural Resources.

2020 Lee Johnston Leadership Award Recipients

2020 Lee Johnston Leadership Award Winner

Johnathan King

Forestry, Fisheries, and Wildlife major

Jonathan King has been an exceptional SENR undergraduate student leader during his time here at Ohio State.  Jonathan has been a member of the SENR Student Ambassadors team from 2017-2020 and has served as the team’s President from 2018-2020.  He also is a member of The Mountaineers Club at The Ohio State University from 2016-2020 serving as their Trips Coordinator from 2018-2019 and as its President from 2019-2020.  Johnathan has also served as a SENR Peer Mentor from 2018-2020 and on the Sustainability Council from 2018-2020.

The SENR Student Ambassadors program is the premier leadership opportunity for students in the School.  Johnathan was a highly contributing member of the Ambassador team and was selected to serve as their President of the Ambassadors for both his junior and senior years.  In his role as the SENR Ambassador President, Johnathan coordinated campus visits for prospective students, led retreats and leadership development workshops for fellow Ambassadors, and managed the recruitment of two highly capable classes onto the Ambassador team.  The SENR Ambassadors serve as a resource for prospective students, hosting campus visits and information sessions, as well as engaging in community building and professional development within the SENR community.  In his past three years as an Ambassador, Johnathan has presented to hundreds of prospective students and family members, served on panels representing SENR to the Exploration classes, and manages the ENR Buckeyes Instagram account sharing stories about his fellow SENR students.  Students have shared their experiences of hearing his stories or how during their Experience Ohio State for a Day visits to campus, Johnathan has helped sway their decisions to attend Ohio State.  Jonathan has also planned and coordinated the SENR Seasonal Hikes since the Earth Day 2019 hike providing opportunities for students, faculty, and staff to get into nature, learn from professionals, and build community.

As a Peer Mentor for both the 2018 and 2019 fall Survey classes, Johnathan has served as a direct resource to dozens of incoming students, getting them connected to community and resources to help them thrive.

The Mountaineers at Ohio State is one of the largest outdoor recreation student organization in the United States.  Johnathan has led this organization as President from 2019-2020 and was the Trips Coordinator for 2018-2019. He has been pivotal in the growth of the organization over the past two years.  In his role, he has made diversity and inclusion a foundation of the organization, creating trainings and a new leadership position to ensure that all members of the Ohio State community are able to engage in outdoor adventures.  This year he cultivated a new partnership with the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS).  Not only is NOLS now sponsoring The Mountaineers; NOLS is providing Wilderness First Aid training to all of the trip leaders to ensure that student leaders are providing a safe environment for their peers to engage in the outdoors.

2020 Lee Johnston Leadership Award Winner

Hailey Hayes

Environmental Science major

Hailey Hayes has been an outstanding undergraduate student leader for the School of Environment and Natural Resources.  She has served as the President of the SENR Student Leadership Board Peer Mentors from Spring Semester 2019 to present.  She also served as the President of Students for Recycling from Spring Semester 2018 to the present and was the Treasurer of Sustainability Council from autumn semester 2018 to autumn semester 2019.  Hailey also served as the Sustainability Lead in the Office of Student Life Energy Management and Sustainability from autumn semester 2018 to present.  She was active on the Time for Change Week Planning Committee from spring semester 2019 to present and served as the Student Lead for the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education Conference held in October 2019.  Hailey was also a presenter at the Community Engagement Conference held in spring semester 2019 and currently serves as a research assistant to Dr. Andrea Grottoli.

As the standing President of the SENR Student Leadership Board Peer Mentors, Hailey  led a Peer Mentor team of 16 students, which is four times as many mentors as the previous year’s team.  This was a big change for the Peer Mentor role in the SENR survey class. The Peer Mentors attend some of the freshmen survey class to enhance class content and discussion. The Peer Mentors serve as a resource for their mentees and are there to help adjust to college life and ease the anxiety of choosing a major as well as coming to college for the first time. Feedback from the survey class expressed student gratitude for their Peer Mentors and how their Mentors went out of their way to build a personal connection with their mentees.

Hailey also helped create a community within the Student Leadership Board to break boundaries of formality between mentors and mentees and worked to create a more personal relationship between each other.  As part of her duties as President of the Student Leadership Board, she worked the SENR help desk located in the Kottman Hall lobby where she was a resource to students needing resumes reviewed and providing career resources to SENR students.

As President of Students for Recycling for the past two years, Hailey provided leadership to the organization’s annual events to help divert waste around campus and teach students how to recycle properly.  Through the annual Dump & Run event, the student organization helped the university divert 39.5 tons of waste from landfill by placing collection bins in each residence hall for items that students did not want or could not travel with when they were moving out. With the help of Goodwill, items were stored so they could sell them back to students for a discounted price during the first Friday of the Fall Semester. This program not only reduces waste, but also encourages the purchase of second-hand products and allows access to afford small furniture/household items that students may not be able to afford otherwise. Students for Recycling also host the annual Bottle Exchange Event during the Time for Change Week. During this event, the club gave away reusable water bottles in exchange for plastic bottles and participation in our recycling games. This event educates students on how to recycle properly and allows people access to sustainable habits/lifestyles. Hailey also served as Sustainability Lead in the Office of Student Life Energy Management and Sustainability. She led a cohort of five students who are a part of the Residence Hall Advisory Council in their dorms acting as Sustainability Chairs leading students to host sustainability events in their dorms to spread awareness about the importance of sustainability.

2020 Lee Johnston Leadership Award Winner

Elliot Smith

Forestry, Fisheries, and Wildlife major

Elliot Smith is our third recipient of the 2020 Lee Johnston Leadership Award.  Elliot has served as Vice President of Forestry Forum at The Ohio State University.  He is also the Chair Elect of the Student Executive Committee of the Society of American Foresters (SAF) as a non-voting board member position for the Society of American Foresters (SAF).  Elliot is also the District 9 student SAF representative and the newsletter editor of the Ohio Chapter of the Society of American Foresters.

Elliot has been engaged in the fundraising process for the Forum Forum by partnering with the Ohio State Mansfield campus on the Sugar Bush operation with the long term plan to buy maple syrup from Mansfield's sugar bush operation, age it in used bourbon barrels that he helped get donated.  Working with Dr. Karns from the School of Environment and Natural Resources, the Forestry Forum was engaged to bottle, market, and sell this bourbon maple syrup product, all with the Block "O" Ohio State logo.  The funds raised go to Forestry Forum for their professional and educational activities.  Elliot’s work has also started a partnership with the sugar bush operation and the Forestry Forum to perform timber stand improvement (TSI).

Being active with the club's professional organization, the Society of American Foresters (SAF), Elliot was able to rally a group of students to go to the national SAF convention last November in Louisville and plans for students from the organization to attend next year’s conference in Rhode Island.  Elliot is actively working with club leaders of the Society of Ecological Restoration (SER) and OSU Extension to remove invasive species and performing TSI on the woodlot at Waterman Farms and on the Ohio State Mansfield campus.  These projects will provide even more opportunities for students, giving practical experience in the field of forestry. 

Congratulations to our honoured students on behalf of the School of Environment and Natural Resources and the Environment and Natural Resources Alumni Society!


This good news was shared by Mark Giese.