ASU’s Public Service Academy graduates its first-ever cohort

Arizona State University’s Public Service Academy (PSA), part of Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions, saw its first graduating class of the Next Generation Service Corps at its medallion ceremony May 4, 2019.

The 86 students were recognized for their hard work, dedication, and selflessness in their commitment to public service.

The PSA’s Next Generation Service Corps (NGSC) launched in 2015 and now in its fourth year, is a collaborative leadership development program that trains undergraduates to positively impact society by working across sectors — military, government, private and nonprofit.

The PSA’s Next Generation Service Corps (NGSC) brings to life founding author Tom Brokaw’s vision for a national network of public service academies that provide citizens with an opportunity to serve our country. It was made possible under the leadership of its executive director, Brett Hunt, and collaboration with ASU’s Office of University Initiatives and Watts College leadership.

The 556-member Corps answers the nation’s call for a new type of leader: a character-driven leader armed with the courage to cross sectors, connect networks and ignite action for the greater good. 

Lt. Gen. Benjamin Freakley presents graduate Steven Sawtelle with the values award for integrity. Lt. Gen. Benjamin Freakley presents
graduate Steven Sawtelle with the values
award for integrity. 


Its members hail from 39 different states, six foreign countries, more than 150 different majors. First-generation college students comprise 19% of the Corps. Also represented are participants in student government, Flinn Scholars, Leadership Scholars Program participants and ROTC members.

As part of its cross-sector and impact focus, Corps members work closely with both ROTC cadets and with partner organizations in the community.

It aims to foster collaboration between those two groups — military and civil service — that work together in the field. They learn how to communicate and work together, how to navigate the different structures of each group and how to leverage and combine military and civilian experiences.

NGSC students choose a social mission in addition to their academic major. This mission drives their internships and experiences throughout the program.

One team of Corps members developed a marketing and fundraising campaign for the Million Dollar Teacher Project, assisting them in their goal of promoting the teaching profession. Corps members developed and then fielded the campaign, bringing both attention and funds to the community partner.

Working directly with the Arizona Department of Emergency Management, Corps members and cadets simulated a wildfire scenario where they played different roles and made decisions on their next steps as the crisis escalated. Partners included the Arizona National Guard as well as state and local emergency management agencies and nonprofits.

The graduates will be going onto national service, military service, pursuing higher education and entering the public, private and nonprofit sectors.

You can watch the complete ceremony at