Service mindset leads student to prestigious American University program

by Matt Overing

Centre College News
Aidan Isaac '24

Aidan Isaac has always held service close to heart. 

Even before his service as a Bonner Scholar at Centre College, the senior and Lexington, Kentucky, native earned the rank of Eagle Scout and served his local community. 

He highlighted his service as a Bonner Scholar at Centre College and a lifetime of community involvement in his application to the American University School of International Service, a top-10 program for international affairs. 

“The Bonner program appealed to me because of the service aspect — that’s the core of it,” Isaac said. “In Boy Scouts, I really got the passion for volunteer work and service, then Bonner really broadened my horizons because of the opportunities to do what you want with service.” 

In his application to American, Isaac noted his work with the Boyle County Farmers Market, helping vendors accept food stamps and other government-funded programs and thereby aiding lower-income residents in accessing fresh food. 

He also listed a Bonner Program trip to Caretta, West Virginia, where students helped a woman who had suffered a stroke. The group visited just weeks after flooding in the area, so he and fellow Bonners assisted with the cleanup and provided food and other items. 

He had plenty of opportunities for service in the Danville area as well, from working at the Primate Rescue Center in Jessamine County to healthcare and the arts. 

“The service and training that students engage in over their four years in Bonner give them an opportunity to build leadership skills and to apply what they are learning in their classes,” said Jessie Weasner, director of civic and community engagement and the Bonner Program at Centre. “Our weekly meetings focus on our common commitments, one of which is International Perspective. Bonners like Aidan explore and develop international and intercultural understanding that enables them to participate successfully in a global society.” 

Isaac will graduate in May with degrees in history and international studies. He’ll then enroll in the International Affairs Policy and Analysis (IAPA) degree program at American. 

“The history program here is really good. The first history class I took with Dr. (Amos) Tubb really helped steer my track toward history,” Isaac said. “The professors here teach you great critical thinking and writing skills — that definitely helped in my application.” 

Isaac said that he hopes to put his IAPA degree to use in foreign service or in service-related nonprofits. "I think Centre is very good at preparing you for life — the whole liberal arts and sciences experience is perfected here,” he said. “No matter your major, you’re going to get a good education, have good writing and critical thinking skills.” 

 Isaac also noted, that he wouldn’t be where he is today without the Bonner Program. 

“The Bonner Program has deep connections in Danville with businesses and nonprofits, and we have added educational experiences — diversity in education, neurodiversity, topics that you might not learn about in class.”