Madyson Smith’s helping nature extends to people and animals. At ONU, the Kokomo, Indiana native is majoring in pharmacy and training service dogs.
“ONU was the best fit for me because my sister was already a student at ONU and I knew how much she loved it,” said Madyson. “When I came for a visit, the campus already felt like home to me.”
Once on campus, Madyson learned about Polar Paws, a campus affiliate of the nonprofit 4 Paws for Ability. ONU students who join Polar Paws can train service dogs that will be matched with either military veterans or children with disabilities.
“I’ve always loved dogs,” she said, “so when I heard about this club, I was instantly hooked. And then, when I learned more about what these dogs are trained for and how they help people, it hooked me even more.”
Madyson is president of Polar Paws club and she also plays on the ONU golf team. Additionally, she’s involved with Kappa Alpha Theta, Kappa Epsilon, and Polar Pediatrics.
Since being at ONU, she’s trained two puppies—Roosevelt and Harbor, who both qualified for advanced training. Rosevelt is now paired with a child who has autism to serve as a tracking dog.
Madyson will never forget Roosevelt’s graduation ceremony. The mother of the child profusely thanked her, and told her that because of Roosevelt, her family was able to go out to eat together for the first time in three years.
“It felt so rewarding,” said Madyson. “I was so excited for Roosevelt and the family. It felt so good to be able to say ‘I helped with that.’”
In the future, Madyson hopes to continue to make an impact as a pharmacist. “The pharmacy program pushes me every day and I feel I have grown so much in my time here.”