This fall, Jeremy Holloway, a Ph.D. student in education with a focus in curriculum and instruction, was selected as one of Toledo's 20 Under 40.
As stated on the program’s website, 20 young community leaders have received the prestigious award each year since 1996. The program showcases dynamic leaders from Northwest Ohio and Southeast Michigan who are under the age of 40. These individuals have distinguished themselves in their careers and/or in the community.
Holloway was nominated and won the award for his involvement in the community and in programs at the University of Toledo, such as the Graduate Student Association, Student Government, Narrow Gate Community, Kappa Delta Pi, Brothers on the Rise, Big Brother Big Sister and the Multicultural Emerging Scholars Program.
Many people are nominated for the prestigious award, and Holloway said that when he was nominated, he was just appreciative of the chance to be a part of the event.
“It’s nice to go; there’s some good food there and the chance to meet some people,” Holloway said, "so I just took it at that.”
Holloway said winning this award has led him to reflect and remember how he got here.
“I’m just grateful for the University of Toledo, thankful for the organizations on campus and thankful that we have students that really care and want to be the best that they can be,” he said.
Holloway’s story at the University of Toledo doesn’t actually start with him; instead, it starts with his father.
“My father went here to the University of Toledo, and he couldn’t find a job,” Holloway said. “He came back to the University of Toledo, not as a doctor or a professor, but as a janitor and he worked for 10 years here… he retired here.”
Holloway said UT is a place of legacy, especially for him personally.
“The reason why I’m here is because of him [my dad],” Holloway said. “I walk and I teach in classrooms that he swept. He swept classrooms in the middle of the night for me.”
Holloway took his legacy to heart when he arrived on UT's campus for undergrad. When he was a freshman, he said he remembers being solely determined in going to his classes after taking a semester off.
“When I came back, I was like, ‘You know, I’m going to do this,’” Holloway said. “I happened just to meet a couple of people on campus that invited me to different things. And I just got involved and I started to really like it.”
Holloway said from joining groups, he got the unexpected perk of a rise in his grades. In the organizations he joined, Holloway started to learn more about who he was as a person.
“I learned a lot about who I am and the things I gravitate towards, like what are my talents and my abilities that can be used most to help other people,” Holloway said.
Holloway got involved with UT Student Government during his senior year. He said he really wanted to go all in and make an impact.
“I wanted to really be present on campus,” Holloway said. “I wanted to be a present person, I wanted to be accessible too. I wanted people to have access to me so I could help in some kind of way.”
In SG, Holloway earned the position of community relations director. At first, Holloway wasn’t too sure of his new role and wondered exactly how important it was. But his opinion soon changed.
“Wow, that was the perfect role for me,” Holloway said, “and it was big. It was connecting off-campus residents with on-campus residents. It was a great and powerful experience.”
Just like with other organizations on campus, Holloway’s involvement soon led to other opportunities on campus. Recommendations from the then-president of SG helped Holloway to sing the national anthem for several events, including women’s basketball games.
Holloway’s senior year was one of his busiest. As an education major, he started student teaching while still being involved in multiple campus groups.
“I’ll tell you what I know now,” Holloway said. “Now I can say that I work better when my schedule is a little full… For me, the fuller my schedule is, the more I’m able to take everything I’m doing seriously and really buckle down.”
Holloway said that it was a challenge sometimes, but he had to learn to schedule his time well and sometimes delegate. When asked if he’d recommend students to get involved as soon as they step foot on campus, Holloway responded with a resounding “yes.”
“The cool things about organizations is that if you don’t like it, you don’t have to go… if you don’t limit yourself and get involved with everything you can, then maybe at the end of the semester for example, you can say, ‘I really like this and this and this organization and I’m going to stay with these,’” Holloway said.
Holloway is now a public speaker, which he says is a way for him to connect. He says this way, he can help people to learn about who they are so they can make an impact themselves.
“I won this award, not because of just me, but because I got involved,” Holloway said. “I want to speak to as many places as I can to share that message as well.”
Holloway said with public speaking, he has found a deeper way to connect with his students and what’s going on in their lives.
“It’s helped me learn about what message am I actually carrying to people,” Holloway said. “What‘s my interacting actually doing to other people? Is it helping them or not? Public speaking has helped me more aware about myself and my community and how I can contribute.”
Even though he’s still involved with plenty, Holloway said he is looking for more opportunities to teach on leadership. He still has a year and a half left before he completes his Ph.D. program in education.
“I plan to keep building and connecting with others,” Holloway said, “to make an impact and to help others make an impact in their community.”