Nicholas Yund didn't go to college right out of high school. He joined the Army.
So when he left the service in 2008 and enrolled at Community College of Allegheny County's North Campus, he jumped right into his classes and other organizations, "making up for lost time," he said.
He also jumped into helping other veterans on campus and was instrumental in supporting programs for them, according to David Hoovler, CCAC spokesman. In addition, Mr. Yund was president of the Student Government Association and vice president of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society.
For his volunteer work and his involvement in student government, Mr. Yund has been named one of 135 Newman Civic Fellows by Campus Compact, a coalition of college and university presidents across the country.
The Newman Civic Fellow awards recognize college students who demonstrate leadership and help improve life in their community.
Mr. Yund, 25, of Ross, volunteers with the Perrysville Volunteer Fire Company and the Mars Youth Home. He also teaches Sunday School at his church, Faith Lutheran Church in Ross.
Mr. Yund graduated from North Hills High School in June 2004, and in July, he and his twin brother, Brandon, were off to basic training.
Money for college was a big factor in Nick Yund's decision to join the Army.
"Come January of my senior year, I hadn't chosen a college and thought it would be great to have the GI Bill help me out," he said. "So I enlisted."
Both Yund brothers were stationed in Fort Hood, Texas. Then they were deployed to Iraq, and it was the first time would be separated for any length of time.
"I thought I would miss my brother quite a bit, but I was so tight with my platoon, that they were like brothers to me," he said.
After the service, both came back to Ross. Nick Yund enrolled at CCAC, where he began studying for a secondary education degree.
He has finished his studies at CCAC and will attend La Roche College in the fall. He hopes to teach secondary education in the future. "I like teaching kids. That's why I teach Sunday School, and people tell me that I'm really good at it," he said.
Nina Lyons, director of student life at CCAC, nominated Mr. Yund for the Newman Civic Fellow.
"It is always nice to be honored," he said, "but I didn't do any of the activities to win an award."
Kathleen Ganster, freelance writer: firstname.lastname@example.org .