When Allen Johnson Jr. ’23 thinks about his future, a knowing smile comes over his face. He knows that his career will affect the lives of the next generation of students in more ways than they could ever know, which is why he is this week’s senior spotlight for The Bachelor.
A native of Indianapolis and a soon-to-be master’s student in Ball State University’s Student Affairs Administration in Higher Education (SAAHE) program, Johnson has set his sights on a career in student services, primarily in either admissions or career services, with hopes of being a dean or a president of a college himself one day. And Johnson seems to have known that this was the career path for him for a long time.
“I’ve worked closely with the people over at Career Services [at Wabash] since I was a freshman,” said Johnson. “It’s been really enjoyable to read resumes, talk to students about interview skills and talk about working with internships.”
Along with working with Career Services, Johnson, a Psychology major and Black Studies minor, has been involved all across campus during his tenure at Wabash. He is currently serving as a Membership Co-Chair of the Malcolm X Institute of Black Studies, he is a varsity golfer and also a server for Bon Appetit Catering. Johnson said he also loves to “stay involved with community efforts off campus, whether that’s going to a local food shelter and donating my time there, or trash pickup in the Montgomery County area or in Indianapolis. I try to make sure that I’m invested in making my time [at Wabash] worthwhile.”
But if Johnson had to pick, he wants to utilize his Wabash education to “pay it forward.”
The question is, to pay what forward? Johnson wants to become a resource and an example to young, up-and-coming men of color who may not see people who look like them in positions of power and leadership at educational institutions.
“I think that having people see representation from a black man in those types of jobs is extremely important. You might only see men of color at different colleges and institutions working in the Diversity and Inclusion sector, but not in admissions or working in Career Services” said Johnson, who understands that he has received instruction in leadership from some of the best that Wabash has to offer. “I get the opportunity on a daily basis to work with Dean Steven Jones, Assistant Director Kim King and Coach Clyde Morgan.”
Johnson wants to create a foundation and structure that other men of color can begin to build upon, and this is his way that he believes he can give back to Wabash.
“We get this idea of Wabash being an opportunity,” said Johnson. “An opportunity where alumni pay it forward and give guys internships and a face that they can match with a job so that they can have some type of knowledge of the field before they go into their post-grad plans.”
And Johnson wants to be this opportunity for the future generations of Wabash students.
True to the mission of Wabash, Johnson aspires to leave his college experience “leading effectively.” Whether it be in the classroom, in athletics, or simply trying to “do [his] best to help put smiles on peoples faces,” Johnson has left his mark on Wabash, and will hopefully be marking the Wabash men of the future with his service and “paying it forward.” And who knows, maybe someday in the future we will see Johnson ’s name in Center Hall, next to the title “President of the College.”