Ball State's Student Ambassador Program: Empowering Students to Make an Impact

<p>Second-year nursing major Titus Hill (left) and fourth-year communication major Charlie Cronin (right) flip third-year elementary education major Aliya Statler (center) in the air during a routine at the home football game Sept. 16 at Scheumann Stadium. Elyse Timpe, Photo provided</p>

Second-year nursing major Titus Hill (left) and fourth-year communication major Charlie Cronin (right) flip third-year elementary education major Aliya Statler (center) in the air during a routine at the home football game Sept. 16 at Scheumann Stadium. Elyse Timpe, Photo provided

Hoping to reshape the future of local workforce attraction and retention for Indiana counties, Ball State has launched a new student ambassador program to help students gain valuable insights to explore career opportunities within their local communities after graduation.

Through this program, Ball State students become ambassadors for their communities, fostering a strong bond between the university and Indiana's 92 counties.

Jeff Eads, Ball State’s director of industry engagement, said the program was created from conversations with state leaders and industry partners about the growing number of counties and regions with employers wanting students to return to their areas. 

Since each county in Indiana has a student at Ball State, Eads said the entry point for the program was to have each county commission a student as their ambassador. In this way, the ambassadors can become storytellers for their peers in Muncie by pitching to them everything happening in their communities back at home. 

According to Eads, these are communities that many students are likely unfamiliar with and can, therefore, learn more about when considering their futures after graduation.

Seventy-eight percent of Ball State’s class of 2022 chose their first career path in Indiana, so we know they’re here; it’s more of a matter of where in the state they go,” Eads said, quoting data from the First Destination survey compiled by Ball State’s Career Center.  “That’s why we are in regular conversation with employers and communities who are saying, ‘Hey, we wanna attract more young people, more college graduates back to our area.’”

The selection criteria for each ambassador is up to the counties themselves. Eads said the counties generally look for someone proud of where they come from and willing to research and share what’s happening at home

“We want the ambassadors to spend time posting on social media when they’re back home, whether it be about their favorite coffee shop or a concert that’s going on,” Eads said. “By doing this, they can become champions of their communities.”

The Muncie and Delaware County Visitors Bureau (MVB) recently selected sophomore nursing major Titus Hill to take on this role. Hill is expected to make his hometown appeal to graduates looking for work in Indiana, sharing with his peers the benefits of living in Delaware County.

Trenton Bush, the marketing director for MVB, said Hill was selected for various reasons. 

“He’s on the dean’s list, he’s an athlete on the cheer team [and] he also has a local job at Menards, which speaks to his time management and responsibility juggling multiple things simultaneously,” Bush said. “Plus, he has a great personality. He’s the kind of guy who can talk to strangers and start conversations with them.”

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Second-year nursing major Titus Hill poses with Rachel Williams during home football game Sept. 16 at Scheumann Stadium. Titus Hill, Photo provided

Hill first wants to start by closing the gap between county schools and Ball State, hoping more Ball State education graduates will try to find work at all Delaware county schools rather than just Muncie Central, which Ball State has ties to.

“Muncie Central gets a lot more attention from Ball State than the [other] county schools,” Hill said. “As an ambassador, I would like to see the county schools getting more involved, especially since Ball State is such a big institution and there’s always so much going on.”

The ambassadors are also welcome to attend events to help pitch their hometown, Eads said, such as breakfasts and meetings with public officials. The most significant is “Ball State’s Day at the Statehouse” on Jan. 30. At this event, the ambassadors are invited to connect with legislatures from each area to discuss important issues.

“I’m excited to visit the statehouse,” Hill said. “ I think it will be interesting to see all the different types of people I’ll be able to talk to about what’s going on in Delaware County, but it also gives me a chance to learn more about stuff that’s going on in other counties, as well.”

The newly-launched ambassador program creates a new way for Ball State to partner with the state of Indiana. Through their efforts in the program, ambassadors are directly working with county and government officials to keep students in the state.

“We prepare our cardinals to ‘fly’ anywhere, but we want to ensure they know there are places for them to land in Indiana,” Eads said. “We don’t want them to transition without knowing there are great opportunities here.”

Although there are already 10 ambassadors selected, Ball State is still looking to fill the rest of the positions for every county in Indiana. If a student hasn’t been chosen to represent their county and wants to become a county ambassador, they can express interest via email at engage@bsu.edu.

Contact Meghan Braddy with comments via email at meghan.braddy@bsu.edu or on X @meghan_braddy.

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