Kevin Albert is proud of his latest medal.
“I was very surprised and truly honored to have been selected for the medallion,” he says.
This medal isn’t for his work to support victim service organizations. It isn’t for his military service either. Yet both of those played into him receiving his latest accolade.
Kevin is one of six O’Neill students to be awarded the William M. Plater Medallion for Civic Engagement. The honor is reserved for graduating students who have shown a deep and lasting commitment to making the world a better place by serving their communities.
“This award is definitely a highlight during my graduate career,” he says.
Kevin is working on his Master of Public Affairs degree and plans to complete that mission in May 2022 before heading out on another later this year.
But his academic work in the classroom hasn’t been his only focus during the past two years. Kevin has dedicated his professional life to helping others.
He works for the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute where he helps fund and support victim service agencies like domestic violence shelters, Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASAs), Child Advocacy Centers, and more.
“With this job, I help bring awareness to issues of domestic violence and sexual assault,” he explains. “I’m able to help provide resources to support these groups because of the grants I manage.”
It’s his way to do what he can where he can no matter where he is.
His service extends well beyond Indianapolis. Kevin also is a First Lieutenant in the U.S. Army and serves as an Infantry Officer in the Army National Guard.
“While I was at O’Neill, I was activated with the Army National Guard as part of the COVID-19 response,” he says. “I oversaw and managed missions at the Indiana Army National Guard Joint Operations Center as a liaison officer and helped with the planning for the vaccine distributions.”
Civic engagement is woven through every aspect of Kevin’s life. And for good reason. He says he enjoys serving others and that doing so allows him to show pride in his home state and have a positive impact right where he lives.
“I gain my greatest satisfaction in public service when I am being a soldier and serving my community,” he says. “It truly feels like a great calling.”
That calling is what brought him to O’Neill. He wanted somewhere that would incorporate community engagement and service into each lesson plan.
“I have really enjoyed the practical knowledge I’ve gained from the faculty and staff at O’Neill,” he says. “I’ve been able to take the knowledge I’ve learned from my courses and directly apply it in my civilian job and in my military service.”
He says those lessons learned within O’Neill have impacted his education and future opportunities. They’ve also fueled his drive to serve—one that cannot be contained to this community or even this country.
After commencement in May, Kevin says he will put his education to work as he heads overseas with the U.S. Army. His focus will be to partner with NATO allies on efforts to ensure safety and stability in developing nations around the world.
“Whether it’s on the local, national, or international level, being engaged and serving others are the best ways to make a real and positive difference in our world,” he says.