College-level soccer took Jamiahus Walton ’13 of Peoria, Ill., by surprise his freshman year. “In high school, I was used to being one of the bigger guys on the team,” he says, “but at Millikin, everyone was about the same. I couldn’t get away with the little stuff I used to, and it was absolutely terrifying.” The learning curve was steep, but Walton came into his own quickly. He was dubbed Rookie MVP for the Big Blue men’s soccer team, went on to start for the team for three years and has aided others both on and off the field. Walton has a big heart for helping children and regularly volunteers at various after-school programs. In one of his most memorable experiences, he met Myshaun Dozier, a disabled child who played soccer on a local youth team. According to Myshaun’s mother, his performance on the field improved dramatically after Walton practiced with him. “Seeing him enjoy that so much gave me a feeling that I don’t think I can measure against any other accomplishment,” Walton says.
Soccer is just one of a myriad of avenues Walton uses to connect with people. Currently, he volunteers at Club 305, an after-school program at Decatur’s First Christian Church. Through the program, he serves as a positive role model for students of Parsons Elementary School and assists fifth-grade students with their mathematics homework. Last year, he served as the resident assistant for his fellow Long-Vanderburg Caterpillar scholars. “They were all brilliant students, and being able to be a leader for them has pushed me in a positive direction,” Walton says. Walton also connects with people through Soul Food Ministries, a part of Millikin’s InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. “It’s called a ministry because we want it to grow into something where people’s lives can change. If it was just a Bible study group, we wouldn’t have to put a name on it. We named it Soul Food because we’re feeding the soul so lives can change.”
Brothers Moving Forward, formerly known as Black Men Incorporated, is another student organization Walton has helped lead during his Millikin career. “Being a part of Brothers Moving Forward has allowed me to encourage young men to be positive role models in the community and not be victims of society’s negativity,” Walton says. His efforts to serve as a role model have been noticed by Dr. Eric Martell, associate professor of physics. “Jamiahus is concerned that younger black males do not lack for role models who express themselves through violence or anger, and he feels compelled to show these young men that there is another way,” Martell says. “But that is only part of what he does that is so noteworthy. Jamiahus has managed to maintain a 3.818 GPA while double majoring in physics and mathematics.” Walton received the Scovill Prize last semester, serves as a lab assistant for the physics department and a peer tutor for the Math Center, and was named 2012 Outstanding Physics Major. He also participated in an engineering internship with Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, working to help design more environmentally friendly car brakes.
He plans to pursue a doctorate in engineering and move into the work force from there. “I want to build something like a pipe connecting a small community to a water source,” he says. “It doesn’t have to be revolutionary, it just has to be useful.”
by Jackson Lewis