The E-T is hosting a contest in which residents are asked to nominate their favorite local Everyday Hero who can be involved in any capacity of everyday life — everything from healthcare workers to community volunteers to grocery store clerks and everything in between — who have made an impact on others. The overall Everyday Hero winner, to be decided by vote of E-T readers, will receive a $100 gift card.

Over the next few weeks, the E-T will be spotlighting nominees. The current Everyday Hero nominee is Julie Howell.

Howell, originally from Ohio, has now lived in Stephenville for 11 years and has already planted her roots here.

She is the director of teacher education and an assistant professor of educational leadership and technology at Tarleton State University.

She has coordinated several kids’ camps, including iKids Tech Camp that brings STEM education and activities in a collaborative environment for kids in grades kindergarten through eighth.

“There’s so many athletic camps and things that are offered in the county which are great, but I wanted to offer something to those kids who are not in athletics or not into some of the team sports. They’re more of our investigators and inventors – those kids that just really dig deep into the STEM activities,” she said.

Howell is a volunteer, putting in several hours with local organizations like Erath County Humane Society, Backpack Buddies of Erath County and CASA.

“[I’ve been involved with CASA] for three years,” she said. “It’s a big part of my life because I love working with those kids who need that advocate and voice, especially when they’re going through court cases or working with CPS and need someone to advocate for them. We’re not there for the judges, parents, attorneys – we’re truly the voice for the child and that's something that really hits home with me, giving those kids a voice when they don’t have one for themselves.”

Howell serves as a chamber ambassador and has helped raise thousands of dollars for multiple community organizations and events like Dancing for the Stars, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Erath County, Meals on Wheels of Erath County and Ragin’ Cajun, an event that raises money for the Cross Timbers Fine Arts Council.

Volunteering has always had a strong place in Howell’s heart, even from a young age.

“I worked with several nonprofits to raise money for kids even as a kid,” she said. “I went through some things as a child that made me want to help other kids not have to go through some of those things...some court issues and custody issues, so I just have a passion for that from a very young age and I really like to help.”

Howell is married to her husband of three years, Kent of Stephenville, and together they raise their four children.