Curtis Meyer reporter
Trinity Davis and Jack Johnson were both selected this year as recipients of the Kenneth K. Bateman Outstanding Alumni Award, presented each year to those who have earned a degree from Pitt State and go on to accomplish outstanding feats.
“So, we have an awards selection committee that gets together once a year, and it’s made up of members of the alumni association, board of directors, faculty and staff at Pittsburg State. It’s a rotating committee so it’s never the same group, and so we get together once a year and review the individuals that have been nominated, and just try the folks who we think are the best individuals to honor,” said Jon Bartlow, Director of Alumni and Consultant Relations.
Both Davis and Johnson have had outstanding careers after graduating from Pitt State. Getting her bachelors in elementary education from PSU, Davis has worked as an elementary teacher, worked at Pitt State as a associate professor, and was an assistant superintendent with the Kansas City School District.
She currently is the founder and president of Teachers Like Me, an organization dedicated to recruiting, developing, and retaining black teachers in Kansas City and the surrounding areas. The goal is to increase numbers of black teachers in the workforce today and surrounding those already in teaching with support and help.
For Davis, Pittsburg was a special time in her life and this award is just another way that Pitt State has paid her back for deciding to graduate here.
“To be called outstanding is unbelievable, but I feel very humbled and very honored. It was foundational to be here at Pitt. Literally being a student here taught me about life, taught me about connections, I still have most of my friends from Pitt State. It was just really a good foundation for growing up, and they put me on my journey to education,” said Davis.
Johnson graduated from Pittsburg with two bachelor degrees, one in mechanical engineering technology and one in automotive technology. Founder and current CTO of Volta Power Systems, as well as the founder and chief engineer Jolt-Energy Storage Technologies, he was very emotional about the award.
“Humbling, just overwhelming, emotional moment. Just saying hey, you’re representing your university, at the same time seeing all the people you got to do all this with, and they helped you get there, it’s just a privilege, there’s not a really good word, there’s so many emotions. It’s exciting, as you can see emotional from a breathtaking standpoint, but overall just humble,” said Johnson.
Jolt-Energy and Volta were both founded in 2014. Jolt-Energy researches advanced organic compounds to better traditional lithium-ion batteries and next generation flow batteries. Volta seeks to give small and medium equipment manufacturers in the RV, Marine, Specialty Vehicles and Ground Storage markets access to automotive based storage technology not readily available due to their small market sizes.
Many professors and friends gathered at the Alumni Center to celebrate both Davis and Johnsons being given this award. Both Davis and Johnson and really enjoyed their time at Pitt and were overjoyed to return to campus for such a joyous occasion.
“Some of the best times of my life, definitely. Pitt State has that where anything over 10 hours you don’t have to pay anymore, so I thought hey, if I could do 20 hours, cut my cost in half, so I started doing 18, 20 hours. I worked hard, but I loved it. To do what they allowed us to do and looking back I wish I could go to school again. I’ve done some amazing things, but it was the time here that was some of the best memories,” said Johnson.