This month, SPEA IUPUI is sponsoring two teams at the 15th Beyond the Badge 5k Run and Walk. Proceeds from the event benefit SPEA undergraduate students through the Jason Baker Public Safety Scholarship fund. The annual 5k honors public safety heroes and Marion County Sheriff’s Deputy Jason M. Baker, who lost his life by gunfire on September 17, 2001.
SPEA sat down with one of last year’s scholarship winners, Zach McClure BSCJ’16, to talk about the impact the scholarship had on him as an undergraduate student at SPEA.
Q: How did the Jason M. Baker Public Safety Scholarship allow you to focus more on your SPEA education and become more involved in student involvement programs?
A: Receiving the scholarship really pushed me to better myself and took some financial pressure off. I took on a leadership role as president of SPEA’s Student Council where I actively worked with the SPEA Ambassador’s president to create a team effort. Together we hosted, volunteered, and participated in around 60 events throughout the year. As I refined my leadership skills, I took on more responsibilities in other groups on campus, like being a Senator in IUPUI Undergraduate Student Government and a member of Alpha Phi Sigma, the National Criminal Justice Honor Society. I was also able maintain high levels of academic achievement. During my last semester at SPEA, I was recognized as a William M. Plater Medallion Recipient and a Top 100 student.
Q: How has Jason M. Baker’s story influenced your view of public safety and those who serve our community?
A: His drive to uphold the law even to the point of laying his life down is a true inspiration. It gave me an understanding of how important the public safety field is. Now, I probably won’t ever be in a situation where my life is put on the line, but this field impacts lives. Each decision could change the life of people in the community, my family, and even myself. Jason Baker is the type of person I hope to be someday. I’m thankful to even be associated with the Baker family because they are such genuine people who even in a tragedy decided to help someone else. These are the people who serve in the field, and I will continue to strive to serve my community like they do.
Q: What inspired you to apply to the Jason M. Baker Public Safety Scholarship?
A: I was encouraged by SPEA staff to apply because they believed I had the abilities and qualifications to represent this prestigious scholarship.
Q: What was your favorite experience at SPEA?
A: My favorite experience was participating in SPEA’s student organizations throughout my four years, especially during my senior year. I had the opportunity to empower others to pursue their passions and put them into action. For example, my friend Sawyer Knuteson and I grew really close my senior year while planning the Haughville Trick or Treat event and the Indy Recycle Ride. Watching him take those events on and blow them out of the park was so much fun for me.
Q: What SPEA professor has had the biggest impact on you while at SPEA?
A: Professor Jim White was there for me from the very minute I started my journey with SPEA. He was my Bridge instructor and my SPEA Capstone professor. He also oversaw my internship experience at the Indiana State Police. He taught me the importance of making decisions and planning two, three, four steps ahead. My other favorite SPEA faculty were Dr. Kenna Quinet, Dr. Abdul-Akeem Sadiq and Drew Klacik, who taught my Urban Structure and Policy class.
Support SPEA scholarships by signing up for the Beyond the Badge 5K Run and Walk, which takes place 9 a.m. Sunday, September 18, 2016 at Crown Hill Cementary, 700 West 38th Street, Indianapolis, IN 46208. Click here to register online.