University Community

OHIO Chillicothe graduate Seth Bowen contributes to community development

Seth Bowen, a recent graduate of Ohio University Chillicothe, has found his niche in the heart of Chillicothe, helping to guide its development as a clerk in the Planning and Development Department for the City of Chillicothe. 

Born in Blue Ash, Ohio, Bowen moved to Chillicothe with his family in 2008 and now considers Ohio’s first capital his hometown. Bowen chose OHIO Chillicothe for its convenient location. Though he originally planned to relocate to the Athens campus for his junior year, that plan shifted with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, and he stayed at OHIO Chillicothe where he was able to take advantage of affordable tuition close to home.

Like many college students, Bowen started as an undecided major, unsure of what he wanted to study. He said he had always enjoyed history classes in high school and when he took an Introduction to World History Class with Associate Professor of History Dr. John O’Keefe during his sophomore year, everything clicked.

In 2022, Bowen learned from Dr. O’Keefe that the City of Chillicothe was searching for residents to serve on the Choose Chillicothe Steering Committee which would guide the creation of a new comprehensive plan. He volunteered and was selected to serve on the committee, which helped him develop valuable communication skills and form connections with other residents and community leaders. 

“I was able to voice my ideas and thoughts with other residents and stakeholders within our community,” Bowen said. “It was during my involvement with this committee that I was able to network with a few city employees who were guiding the process.”

Bowen leveraged his experience and connections formed as a member of the Choose Chillicothe Steering Committee to secure an internship with Chillicothe’s Planning and Development Department. When a job opening became available in the Planning and Development Department, Bowen was ready and eager to seize the opportunity. 

Chillicothe Mayor Luke Feeney appreciates Bowen for the positive attitude, interpersonal skills, and professionalism he brings to his work. 

"We were fortunate to have Seth intern for us this past summer and are excited to have him on board full-time in our Planning Department,” said Feeney. “During his time with us, Seth has consistently impressed us with his dedication, enthusiasm, and eagerness to learn. Seth approaches tasks and projects with a great attitude, strong work ethic and intellectual curiosity. He also demonstrated strong problem-solving abilities, often proposing innovative solutions to complex problems.”

Bowen earned an associate in arts degree with a social science emphasis at OHIO Chillicothe in 2021. He continued his education, earning a bachelor’s degree in history pre-law in 2023. As a student, he also completed internships with the Ohio Innocence Project and the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas.

“My Ohio University education has prepared me for the career I have now by giving me the confidence to be comfortable with being uncomfortable,” Bowen said. “With each class I took, I had to delve into a topic I was not fully knowledgeable about.”

Despite facing challenges such as the transition to remote learning during the COVID-19 pandemic, Bowen persisted, drawing strength from supportive faculty at OHIO Chillicothe.

“The faculty at Ohio University Chillicothe was very understanding and offered constant advice on how to stay focused, motivated, and keep moving forward as I maneuvered through that period in my education,” Bowen said.

Bowen especially appreciated the opportunity to learn about art, architecture, and history, from O’Keefe and Gwynne Dilbeck.

“With their teachings, I have been able to appreciate local architecture and history in a way I never anticipated,” Bowen said. “I am extremely grateful for both of them.”

O’Keefe said he was glad to see Bowen’s experience in the classroom and the community lead to a post-graduation position with the City of Chillicothe.

“Seth has been passionate about history, and always wanting to get into the details of big historical questions, whether researching Cold War Hollywood or discussing constitutional history,” O’Keefe said. “His engagement with the campus and community has given him a great start to his career and we know he is passionate about building community here in Chillicothe!”

Bowen demonstrates dedication to his community not only through his professional role but also through his involvement with local organizations. He serves as an ambassador for EPIC (Empowering Professionals In Chillicothe), a group committed to giving back to the community.

"My favorite part about EPIC is being surrounded by driven individuals passionate about Chillicothe's well-being," Bowen shares. "It's a chance for me to give back to the place I love."

As Bowen continues to contribute to Chillicothe's growth and prosperity, he offers advice to current and prospective students.

 “OHIO Chillicothe has all the tools a student needs to have a successful education experience in our hometown. Take full advantage of OHIO Chillicothe,” Bowen said.

April 17, 2024
Staff reports