ATU Student Serves on White House Leadership Panel

Hannah Stone in Washington D.C. October 2022
Hannah Stone

Hannah Stone’s personal definition of leadership is rooted in service and humility.

“It’s always been my goal in life to help as many people as possible,” said Stone, who is a junior at Arkansas Tech University. “That’s why I was put on this Earth. I didn’t necessarily want to accept positions of power because I didn’t want to abuse power in any way. Now I realize there are ways you can obtain leadership positions that lift people up and provide them with similar opportunities. Being a leader isn’t about being the one who stands out. It’s about being one among many.”

That’s exactly what Stone was earlier this month when she participated in a student leadership panel facilitated by Vice President Kamala Harris at the White House in Washington, D.C.

The panel provided her the opportunity to sit shoulder-to-shoulder with peers from institutions such as Yale University, Harvard University and Princeton University. Stone was the lone Arkansan in the group.

“When we were participating in the roundtable with Vice President Harris, she said the main reason she wanted to invite us there was so we could meet each other,” said Stone. “It’s important to know you’re not the only person doing the kind of work you’re doing. I have contacts now that I can reach out to across the country. You don’t have to introduce yourself at that point. Everyone there has the same credentials as you, so it’s just first-name basis at that point.”

Stone is vice president for ATU Student Government Association and a member of Do Something, a new ATU registered student organization committed to community service. She is also an active in Alpha Kappa Delta sociology honor society, Phi Mu sorority, student conduct board and new student orientation.

She serves as a youth organizing director for SafeBAE, a youth-led organization that raises awareness about sexual assault.

A native of Clarksville and resident of Russellville, Stone is majoring in sociology, political science and criminal justice at Arkansas Tech.

“I’ve always loved my university,” said Stone. “I’ve loved it from the second my sister (Sydney Stone) came here in 2015. I’ve always known that Arkansas Tech was my home. I wanted to not only represent Arkansas, but also this great university that’s done so much for me and made it possible for me to go on this trip. I don’t think I would be where I am in life without Arkansas Tech. This university provides opportunities to a lot of students who are low income, first generation and all these other factors that make going to college difficult.”

Stone expressed appreciation to Dr. Keegan Nichols, ATU vice president for student affairs, for nominating her for the trip to the White House as well as to her faculty and staff mentors, including Dr. Jeremy Schwehm, Dr. Sean Huss, Dr. James Stobaugh and Angela Black, for their encouragement.

Together, they helped Stone fulfill a dream her family has long held for her.

“Ever since I was little, I was told that one day I would get to the White House,” said Stone, whose only previous visit to Washington, D.C., came at the age of 4. “They told me some day, somehow you’re going to be there. It was really surreal to actually be there. I didn’t think I was going to make it, but my family always did.”

Vice President Kamala Harris participates in a conversation with student leaders on Friday, Oct. 14, 2022, in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building at the White House. (Official White House photo by Lawrence Jackson)