Announcing the 2017 Rhode Island Newman Civic Fellows!
The Newman Civic Fellowship recognizes and supports community-committed students who have demonstrated an investment in finding solutions for challenges facing communities throughout the country. The fellowship, named for Campus Compact founder Frank Newman, provides training and resources that nurture students’ assets and passions to help them develop strategies to achieve social change. Through the fellowship, Campus Compact provides learning opportunities focused on the skills fellows need in order to serve as effective agents of change in addressing public problems and building equitable communities.
- The fellowship is a one-year experience for students in which fellows have access to in-person and virtual learning opportunities, networking events, and mentoring.
- While the fellowship experience is limited to one year, participants in the Newman Civic Fellowship are invited to join a national network of community-committed peers and to enter into a long-term community of Newman Civic Fellows.
- Fellows are selected in the spring each year; the fellowship term begins the following academic year.
Learn more about the Newman Civic Fellowship program components here.
Intended concentration is Education Studies: Class of May 2019
“Yamileth Renteria, a sophomore at Brown University, is a student leader active in addressing issues of educational equity. For the last two years, she has worked closely with teachers and administrators at Hope High School and their students to provide in-class and after school tutoring in math and science. She currently co-coordinates this effort, recruiting, training, and leading more than 80 of her Brown student peers to engage with students at Hope High School. Yami is also a developer of Brown’s Bonner Community Fellows program, building a structured, intensive, and intentional leadership development program that is centered around community engagement for Brown students from traditionally underrepresented backgrounds.” –Christina Paxson, President, Brown University
Personal Statement, written 2017
Swearer Tutoring and Enrichment in Math and Sciences (STEMS) is a tutoring program at Hope High School in Providence. Brown University students volunteer in classrooms and afterschool to support Hope in their academics and build peer relationships that extend help beyond the classroom. It wasn’t until I finished high school that I realized the importance of an education. The discrepancies in quality of education, investment of teachers and students, and the goals behind a degree vary across demographics, often limiting students beyond their time in school. Attending Brown, regardless of my experiences as a low-income student from a struggling public school, gave me a new privilege. So when I heard about a need the community had presented and realized I had the resources to help even just one student, I didn’t hesitate to join. In my work as a co-coordinator of STEMS, I strive to work with Hope teachers and administrators to build their capacity and improve resources available for our students.
Access to an education with the best intentions for students is fundamental. I’m committed to doing all I can to ensure everyone has this right fulfilled. I’m honored for the chance to participate in this fellowship and meet others who share goals of social justice and empowerment.
Business Administration/Social Entrepreneurship: Class of May 2019
“Brianna LaGuardia, a member of the class of ’19, exemplifies what Bryant University means when in its slogan, the Character of Success. Brianna has embraced the spirit and energy of social entrepreneurship on campus and beyond organizing events and leading other students to work for positive social change. Always ready to help and to support others, she is developing opportunities to see how all sectors of our social system can be challenged to do better. This includes the government, private industry, the nonprofit community and our universities. She has led a successful effort on campus to put our community in touch with leading social enterprises in our area and beyond, extending the reach and impact of these organizations and informing our students, faculty and staff about social innovations that can make a significant difference in the lives of all of us.” Ronald Machtley, President, Bryant University
Personal Statement, written 2017
I consider myself fortunate to have found my passion at such a young age. Social Entrepreneurship, my major, is something I have devoted my life to. I strive to make the world a better place for people who are not as fortunate and need assistance. Throughout high school, I served as President of Key Club, a 100% student-led organization, which teaches leadership through service to others and as Founder and President of Student Movement Against Cancer. Additionally, I worked with the local food pantry and was involved in addressing issues of economic inequality.
In college, I serve on the executive board of Special Olympics and Love Your Melon. This year I also had the privilege of serving as the Giving for Good Coordinator, a holiday marketplace bringing campus social entrepreneurs to campus who showcase their goods for sale. We are working to bring this model to other campuses. In the future, I plan on starting my own social enterprise and, hope to create a product that will be aimed towards solving important social problems. I have high aspirations in what is achievable; for example, granting every child in third world countries an education.
Health Policy and Management: Class of 05/2019
“Phoebee Jean, a sophomore at Providence College, has demonstrated her capacity as an engaged leader of social change both on and off campus. During her freshman year at Providence College, Phoebee secured a community work-study position with the Smith Hill Library, the community library located in our shared neighborhood of Smith Hill. Her dedication to the staff and youth of the library has grown over time and has transformed into a leadership role. Through thoughtful conversations with various stakeholders, Phoebee has worked to expand the resources shared with the youth of the Smith Hill Library. On campus, Phoebee approaches her coursework with a critically reflective perspective and has proven to be an outspoken and engaged voice in the classroom. As a student leader on campus, Phoebee is actively involved in various student clubs and movements which seek to elevate the voices and experiences of students of color. Phoebee demonstrates the core characteristics of the Newman Civic Fellowship through the collaborative nature of her work at the Smith Hill Library, her involvement and advocacy for issues of equality, and her demonstrated motivation as a civically engaged student. I am proud to nominate Phoebee for such an honor.” Brian J. Shanley O.P., President, Providence College
Personal Statement, written in 2017
My passion for social justice budded in high school when I started to learn more about racial inequality and how low income neighborhoods are constantly being overlooked and underfunded. At Providence College, I quickly joined social justices groups that work for racial equality on campus and in the greater Providence Community. Currently, I serve as the Vice President of the Society Organized Against Racism (SOAR) which is an organization committed to educating students and faculty about institutional racism locally and nationally. We strive to find solutions to diversity issues through weekly open forum meetings. I help to promote inclusion and acceptance at PC. I also serve as the Community Liaison (CL) at the Smith Hill Library. As a CL, I help elementary and middle school students with homework. I also facilitate reflections with the service learning students from PC to help them think critically about their role in the greater Providence community. Together, we become advocates for social change while also building meaningful relationships with young, bright students in the neighborhood. I hope to keep learning more about the assets of the Providence community so I can gain the tools and knowledge needed to help empower young people.
Mary Dinnean (no photo submitted)
Psychology/Public Health: Class of May 2018
Roger Williams University
“Mary Dinnean, a junior double majoring in Psychology and Public Health at Roger Williams University, is a student leader active in addressing public health issues through the Food Recovery Network (FRN). She has actively addressed issues of social justice and public health since her first year at RWU. She has traveled to Jamaica with FIMRC (Foundation for International Medical Relief of Children) to engage in pediatric and prenatal health work. She is also an active member of the RWU health advocacy group HAWE, which has earned national awards for their health awareness presentations and initiatives. In the coming year, Mary will focus on the Food Recovery Network, organization that has experienced exponential growth in 4 years. As their President, Mary will facilitate the expansion of FRN’s capacity and ultimately increase food recovery, serve additional partner organizations, and engage more RWU students.” Donald Farish, President, Roger Williams University
Personal Statement, written in 2017
Health as a human right is an issue that is an integral part of who I am and the evolvement I immerse myself in. I credit my love for health to my mother, who was one of the first nurses in America to agree to treat HIV/AIDS patients in Los Angeles in the early 1980’s. Growing up, I witnessed firsthand her dedication to making our world a better place; it is her spirit that has inspired me engage in all the work I do today. On campus I am a peer Health and Wellness Educator (HAWE), a position that delivers general health programming and information to my campus community. Off campus, I am the president-elect of my university’s’ Food Recovery Network Chapter (FRN). FRN is a movement dedicated to ending food waste and inequality by donating food from my school’s dining hall and delivering it to various shelters around Rhode Island three times a week. I am also currently involved in the planning and organization of a statewide initiative to end food-waste throughout Rhode Island.
Biology: Class of 2018
Salve Regina University
Gabrielle Kuba, a third-year student at Salve Regina University, is a student leader most passionate about environmental issues. Encompassed in this are concerns about water shed, animal protection, and agricultural stresses. For the last three years, she has continually worked with Clean Ocean Access (COA) to push towards providing a future in cleaner and healthier marine environments. She actively takes part in beach cleanups throughout Rhode island and keeping records on the types of pollutants being found. She has also worked on multiple occasions at local gardens and parks in maintenance projects, aiming toward the idea of a cleaner and healthier environment for all. Accompanying these active projects also is her work with a local animal shelter in order to assist in the care for animals not just in the wild, but those who are one step closer to having a home.” Jane Gerety RSM, President, Salve Regina University
Personal Statement, written in 2017
In high school, I got involved with my first campus clean-up through our Environmental Club. However, it wasn’t until I got to college that I actually began to actively learn about the environment and the true impact we as humans have on the environment. The education that I received is what truly shaped my concerns, proving that education is the changing point of the world. I believe that no matter where you are as a sojourn, listening to any kind of information another can provide to you is the beginning to a better tomorrow. At Salve, I am a member of Mercy in Motion, Protect our Wildlife Club and Environment Club. In each of these clubs, I assist in educating our community about related concerns and organizing events in order to get members of the community actively involved and empowering them to feel deeply about certain causes.
This past January I had the opportunity to travel to Nicaragua for a service trip through Salve Regina. Taking part in this trip involved a few major projects that were provided to us through our time with Mustard Seed Communities. These projects included painting the window grates on each of the buildings, cleaning up the land around the property, and digging a ditch for garbage disposal. There are multiple buildings on the Mustard Seed property in Diriamba; these consist of a dining hall, a chapel, a missionary building, an office building, and several cottages for the residents. Each of these buildings have screens over the windows that needed to be repainted due to fading from the sunlight. After the screens were painted, we then went in with gold details on the windows. At the Mustard Seed facility in Managua, we were split into two groups; I specifically worked to clean up the property. We began on the street side and weeded the land, then moved along the side of the property. We cleaned up any debris on the side of the road or on the property and bagged it up. Although these projects seemed small to us, it brightened up their homes and enabled us to work not only together, but with the workers of the Mustard Seed Community.
Undecided: Class of May 2019
University of Rhode Island
“Wila Matos, a second year student at the University of Rhode Island, is a student servant leader active in addressing issues of inequality, equity, justice, and youth and community engagement. Ms. Matos inspires and engages youth in community conversations and action. She leads by example in organizing awareness and engagement programs for the campus and inspiring fellow peers to step up and become part of the solution. Ms. Matos takes advantage of networking and leadership opportunities that will increase her ability to reach vulnerable and disenfranchised populations of our communities in order for us to find sustainable solutions for our society’s most pressing issues. She collaborates with her peers to lead and inspire us all to commit to simple acts of kindness and engagement that will create a more just and equitable society for all.” David Dooley, President, University of Rhode Island
Personal Statement, written 2017
During my high school career, I worked with a non-profit organization called Youth in Action (YIA) which is a partnership between youth and adults to create change in their communities. This is where I felt the most empowered and really enjoyed the work I was doing in social action. I was constantly learning about social issues, systems of oppression, race and ethnicity, police brutality, and related it all back to how this affects black and brown people. I was on a team called Students Constructing Classrooms (SCC) and we would co-facilitate in Rhode Island College youth development classes and teach them about our experiences, what students from inner cities need from their teachers in order to be successful, and the importance pf student-centered learning. This spring break I will be going on an Alternative Spring Break Trip with a group of URI students to Atlanta, Georgia to focus on issues around poverty, homelessness and community revitalization. Currently, at The University of Rhode Island I am an intern for the Feinstein Civic Engagement Program where I am in charge of organizing volunteering opportunities on and off campus in fall 2017 for students who are interested in making change in their communities.