By Sara Plummer,
OSU Institute of Technology

Cody McPherson is working to earn his teaching degree, but his real job seems to be helping others. His enthusiasm for service is a reason he was selected as a Campus Compact Newman Civic Fellow.


McPherson is one of 15 students in Oklahoma to receive the $500 scholarship, and one of 196 in the country named Newman Civic Fellows.


“It was a really humbling experience. It’s something I’m proud of, and I’m excited to be chosen,” he said.


While working toward an Associate in Science in Secondary Pre-Education from OSU Institute of Technology, McPherson is also an instructor at Sapulpa’s Central Technology Center working with students with disabilities.


Teaching was always what McPherson wanted to do, but he originally thought he would be an agriculture teacher, until he started working with the students at Central Tech.


“Until two years ago I never thought I could work with students with disabilities. Now I can see the impact that I can make on students,” he said.


McPherson graduated from Drummond High School in 2009 with only nine other students.


“That’s where I got my roots and passion for helping others, giving back to community,” he said.


That’s also when he became heavily involved with SkillsUSA, a technical and vocational student organization that serves more than 320,000 high school, college and professional members.


For the last four years, McPherson said he’s dedicated a lot of his time to SkillsUSA on the state and national level, even starting an alumni association in Oklahoma.


“I really got to see the impact the organization has on students. How it helps them with their career choices and leadership skills,” said McPherson, who is a third generation SkillsUSA member.


Other enterprises he volunteers with include the March of Dimes, Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma and the Caring Community Food Bank in Sapulpa.


“It blew my mind that one in four kids in Oklahoma goes to bed hungry. I couldn’t believe it,” he said. “You hear about the needs around the world, but we’ve got this problem in our own back yard.”


McPherson will graduate from OSUIT in August and then complete his bachelor’s degree from OSU in December.