Breaking the mold on a journey of leadership and purpose


University of Akron student Reese Walter.

Student Reese Walter

Picture it — you're an engineering student, and everyone thinks you should be a shy brainiac who’s often deep in study mode. Not hard to imagine, right?

But then there's University of Akron (UA) student Reese Walter, a true contradiction to that stereotype as he pursues a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering.

“I find that often times people kind of put engineers in this box of just wanting to get their schoolwork done and then go home at the end of the day,” Reese said about his own friendly observation. “I feel like I broke that mold where I’m really involved in student leadership opportunities, I’m really involved and try to be as outspoken and as lively as possible.”

Reese, from Stow, Ohio, is more than a computer engineering major at UA; he's a living testament to the transformative power of involvement, leadership and a dash of stepping outside the norm. Reese embraced the idea of surrounding himself with driven individuals at UA as he kickstarted his college journey in the Emerging Leaders program. As a new student, he found himself in the company of peers who were able to foster leadership and civic engagement skills, and his foray into campus involvement proved to be a trailblazer.

Becoming leadership driven

Reese takes on various leadership roles at UA, guiding incoming freshmen through their New Roo Experience and serving as a resourceful First Year Forefront mentor with the Office of New Student Orientation. And in the Emerging Leaders program, he served on the Major Events Committee. Beyond his leadership commitments, Reese enjoys pursuing his passion for lacrosse as an active member of the Zips Men’s Lacrosse Club, one of UA's 300 student organizations.

“I’ve been able to expand myself, become leadership driven, and group driven, to the point where I work better in groups,” said Reese. “That is incredibly important because most of the time as an engineer, you’re not working by yourself on a project all alone. You’re going to be working with people from all different walks of life.”

Diversity and multicultural development also take center stage in Reese's college story. Proud of his Jewish heritage, he champions the appreciation and care for all cultures. And when it comes to discussing mental health, he dives into the conversation with a personal touch.

“I think multicultural development is super important,” Reese said. “Being able to not only accept but appreciate people of all cultures is so important and I think it’s incredibly important to appreciate and care for all cultures and share that amongst people.

“I think there are so many people that struggle with mental health, I know I have, and I know a lot of my friends have, so knowing that there are resources for people and being able to let people know that it’s OK to not be OK and find those resources for everyone would be incredible.”

But Reese doesn't stop at just campus life; he's on a mission to make a real-world impact. For him, it's about creating personal connections and being a friend first.

“I want to be a friend that is a resource, not a resource that is a friend,” Reese said. “I’ve made multiple friends who’ve come to me and felt that trust, so they’re willing to ask questions – ‘How do I get more involved on campus? Where do I go for this specific thing?’”

Finding a career to help others

Reese envisions a future that goes beyond engineering, driven by a simple yet profound goal: to help others. This aspiration is inspired by his role as a supervisor at a local grocery store, where he regularly assists a blind customer by guiding her through the store and collecting her groceries. Through these interactions, a natural connection has formed between them, sparking conversations that include discussions about Reese's future aspirations.

“The customer brought up the idea of working in assisted technology and it just felt like a perfect fit for me,” Reese recalled. “Being able to hopefully work with the deaf and blind on assisted technology, I know that I can be the person that can make the difference and being able to see that change firsthand, it feels like my purpose in life.”

As he reflects on his time at UA, Reese is overflowing with gratitude for the opportunities and sense of community the university has provided.

“The University of Akron has led to so many opportunities for me,” Reese said. “And I feel like for anybody coming in, there is a large sense of community. I feel like UA has all of the opportunities and resources to allow you to flourish. I think The University of Akron has allowed me to grow so much more than I was ever expecting.”

Media contact: Cristine Boyd, 330-972-6476 or