Florida Campus Compact congratulates the 2018 Newman Civic Fellows from Florida. The Newman Civic Fellowship is a one-year fellowship for community-committed college students. The 2018 Florida Fellows include:
DANIELA ALVAREZ - Miami Dade College
Daniela Alvarez, a sophomore at Miami Dade College (MDC), is an exemplary student civic leader and changemaker. As is true for many, Daniela's road was not mapped out for her. Having emigrated from Cuba as a child, she relentlessly endeavored to chart her path here in Miami. Fueled by her drive to build a more inclusive, engaged society, she has created spaces for students to learn, research, act, discuss, listen, and question in order to foster a more empowered, aware, and active community. In her short two years with MDC, she has served as an Andrew Goodman Foundation Democracy Fellow, founded MDC's Integrated Law and Ethics Society, served as a leader for the Model United Nations and Political Science Clubs, as well as a Student Government Senator, and she has taught civic engagement and sustainable development through the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals Program, among other accomplishments. In all of her roles, her focus was addressing the root causes of civic disengagement through education and empowerment.
FAITH BOONE - University of Miami
Faith Boone is a junior at the University of Miami studying Health Sector Management and Policy and minoring in Public Health and Finance. As a student leader at the University of Miami, Faith has demonstrated a passion for serving local youth through mentorship and early childhood education. In her first year at the university, Faith developed the Canes ConqHER service event to empower young elementary-aged girls through workshops on self-esteem, personal development and self-expression. She currently serves as the president of a student organization dedicated to helping kindergarten and first-grade youth improve their literacy capabilities on a weekly basis.
JASMINE MCKEE - Barry University
Jasmine McKee is deeply involved in Barry University's Campus Democracy Project, a nonpartisan initiative aimed at promoting civic learning and democratic engagement through voter education, registration, and mobilization. In the months leading up to the 2016 presidential election, she could be found between classes in the student union, monitoring the simulated voting booth she created to familiarize students with the voting process. On Election Day, she shuttled many of her peers from campus to nearby polls. Additionally, this first-generation college student has been a mentor to middle-school students at the Lillie C. Evans K-8 Center in Liberty City, one of Miami's underserved neighborhoods, where she has encouraged early interest in civic engagement through political institutions and processes. Currently a Barry Service Corps Fellow, Jasmine participates in a program designed to cultivate civic-mindedness and to prepare students for future roles as agents of positive social change. As part of this program, based in the Center for Community Service Initiatives, she serves on a team of student leaders who support the work of Miami's PACT (People Acting for Community Together). She has also supported the efforts of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers to improve the quality of life for farm workers.
JASMINE WALTON - Seminole State College of Florida
Jasmin Walton is finishing her first year at Seminole State College after completing her GED in our adult high school. From the beginning, Jasmin became actively involved at the college by joining the Student Government Association, the Seminole State Volunteers, and serving as president of the Student Connection club. As a minority majority campus, creating a sense of community and building fellowship among her peers are important to her. She has put in great efforts to develop relationships and friendships so all students have an equal opportunity for access and education. Through Seminole State Volunteers, Jasmin coordinated several service projects to engage students within Seminole County and increase their awareness of our community issues. Jasmin is admired by her peers for her perseverance and her commitment to making a difference in our community.
JUDSON CRAWFORD - Palm Beach Atlantic University
Judson has been involved in the wider West Palm Beach community since his first year on campus. In his first few weeks on campus, Judson began volunteering with the Rosemary Village after-school program. Rosemary Village is an underserved low income community two miles from our main campus. Judson became a regular presence in the after school program. In addition to his work in the after school program, Judson chose to remain in West Palm Beach this past summer instead of returning home to Georgia. Judson became a camp counselor at the Salvation Army, in the Rosemary neighborhood. Judson was able to continue mentoring many of the elementary and middle school children that he had come to know through the after school program. Working in the community and mentoring young people is often a slow process that requires persistence and patience. Judson exemplifies these qualities not only in the Rosemary community but on our campus, as well. Judson is a role model for service, which is why I have nominated him to be a 2018 Newman Civic Fellow.
KATHERINE RASMUSSEN - University of North Florida
Katie Rasmussen is sophomore psychology major who focuses on issues of mental health in marginalized communities. She was raised in a family who taught her that service is, indeed, the "rent we pay for living." As a teen, she worked on international and national service projects in five different states. These experiences taught her that the root causes of social problems can best be resolved when those engaged in service collaborate with members of the community who live those problems. Her experience as a high school student in the Philippines, for instance, taught her that important service opportunities rarely see an entire solution come to fruition, but that service allows others to assist in the small steps vital to successful transformation in a community. From those experiences she saw community organization as a practical approach to solving social problems. For Katie, service is about "lending a hand to a greater purpose." As such she is collaborating with faculty and staff on projects such as a co-curricular event between UNF's LGBT Resource Center and JASMYN, a Jacksonville non-profit that supports young people from 13-23 to create a safer, more affirming community.
KRISTA SMITH - University of Florida
Krista Smith, a third year Psychology and International Studies major within the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, is committed to finding solutions for challenges facing communities and demonstrates this through her leadership as Executive Director of MentorGNV, a student site leader within Florida Alternative Breaks, and as an officer for the student organization Health the World. In the last two years, she has served as a mentor, site coordinator, and executive director for MentorGNV. Krista has assisted in placing hundreds of UF students to serve as mentors with students in the Alachua County school system who often come from low socioeconomic backgrounds. Krista has also served in a number of leadership roles across campus in facilitating her peers' service experiences. Krista has served as a student site leader for a winter service immersion experience for Florida Alternative Breaks, a site leader for UF's Day of Service program. Krista has also serves on the leadership team for Heal the World and works to support efforts to educate children who lack access to affordable education. Krista has also participated in service mission experiences in Peru and the Bahamas.
MADELINE MILLS - University of Central Florida
Madeline has showcased her leadership skills at UCF and in the community. She was recognized for her efforts with Green Greeks as a Clinton Global Initiative University student in October, 2017. She represented UCF at the annual meeting at Northeastern University, hosted by the Clinton Family. Madeline is also an active student leader at the university. She is the Mentorship Program Coordinator for the Student Government Association where she assists new students in learning about student government policies and leadership opportunities. Madeline is enrolled in UCF's LEAD Scholars Academy which "provides a selective, two-year academic leadership development program for first-time-in-college students. LEAD Scholars are committed to academic excellence and making a difference in the world around them, guiding and inspiring their peers in a variety of ways on campus" (https://lead.sdes.ucf.edu/). She is a dedicated student with a 3.6 GPA (out of 4.0). She continues to develop strong leadership skills and understands that working well with others to find common ground helps to keep her service projects moving forward.
MATTHEW HUDSON - Eastern Florida State College
Matthew Hudson is a non-traditional student with a physical disability working toward the completion of his Associate's degree at EFSC as an engaged student volunteer addressing numerous community needs. His contribution of over 600 hours of service and cumulative 4.0 GPA identify him as a candidate to graduate with the prestigious Citizen Scholar distinction. Matt serves as the President of the EFSC's Titusville campus Rotaract club, where he coordinates projects that address community needs that include poverty, hunger, disability awareness and outreach, and environmental conservation. Matt's contributions as a peer tutor and academic intern for the liberal arts department have inspired his fellow students to complete and present their independent research at both the state and national level. Additionally, Matt makes a lasting impact in the lives of students with disabilities through workshop presentations to both high school and college students. Drawing on his own experience of living with a disability, Matt promotes awareness of the devastating effects of bullying and exclusion on students with disabilities. Matt is currently engaged in writing a book on the topic in an effort to bring his message of strength and tolerance to a wider audience.
MEESHA TRIVEDI - Florida Atlantic University
Meesha Trivedi, a junior at Florida Atlantic University, serves the community both on- and off-campus in a variety of capacities. Among these roles are: director of the Student Government program SAVI, and Vice President for Service with the Omicron Delta Kappa National Leadership Honor Society. She is especially passionate about advocating for quality healthcare for impoverished young adults in the United States and abroad, where she collected over 2,500 articles of clothing to donate to patients' families after returning from a trip to India. She serves the FAU community as the Boca Raton campus SAVI (Students Advocating Volunteer Involvement) director; where she is able to create programs and services that create a spark that drives other students to discover their passion. Most recently, Meesha presided over the MLK Day of Service that featured over 200 students from the Boca Raton, Broward, and Jupiter campuses of Florida Atlantic University across eight sites and a variety of social issues.
NATHAN BODGER - Stetson University
Nathan Bodger, a third-year Religious Studies major and Environmental Science minor at Stetson University, is a committed campus and community leader in the issues of environmental sustainability and public policy. As a first-year student, Nathan served as a campus Environmental Fellow, through which he coordinated recycling and food waste reductions programs while educating local youth on environmental sustainability. During his second and third years at Stetson, Nathan helped create a community garden in a local food desert, led environmental policy lobbying efforts through campus and community campaigns, and initiated the Stetson Revolving Green Fund (RGF), a fund for sustainability projects that is student-funded through a $5/semester "Green Fee" - the first of it's kind at a college or university. Nathan has also completed environmental fieldwork across the world, including reforestation and agriculture education efforts in rural Guatemala. Upon graduation, Nathan intends to pursue a J.D., as well as a doctorate in political philosophy, through which he will focus on international human rights and environmental law.
SKYLAR KNIGHT - Rollins College
Skylar Knight is a junior at Rollins College, with majors in philosophy and political science, and a minor in German studies. As a member of our Bonner Leaders Program, he has demonstrated his dedication to social justice, diversity, community building, spiritual exploration, civic engagement, and international perspective through his work with children experiencing physical, intellectual, and emotional challenges. His empathetic example of selfless service has helped mobilize their dreams. On campus, Skylar is a central force in our Democracy Project, which provides resources for students to become active participants in the democratic process. He recognizes that civic participation is critical to fulfilling the purposes and obligations of global citizenship and responsible leadership that we embrace in our institution mission. Skylar's courageous pursuit of challenges encourages others to find their voices and join him as active agents of change.
VANESSA RATZLAFF - Adventist University of Health Sciences
Vanessa Ratzlaff, a recent graduate in Health and Biomedical Sciences, and a graduate student enrolled in the Masters in Physician Assistant Studies program at Adventist University of Health Sciences (ADU), is a determined student leader who strives to make a difference in her community. During her undergraduate studies at ADU, Vanessa participated in initiatives developed to address an array of needs related to homelessness and poverty. She served as the President of the ADU Pre-PA Club and will be involved in the PA Society this summer when she enters ADU's MSPA program. Vanessa is currently working with professors at ADU to implement the Camden Initiative, a program that pairs students and physicians together to provide care to the indigent population. Vanessa has been instrumental in connecting this initiative to Adventist Health System. She is committed to seeing true social change in healthcare access of the most vulnerable individuals in her community. Vanessa is a strong student, and steadfast servant leader. She is compelled to use her education and skills to heal and help others. Her organizational abilities, positive outlook and encouragement of her peers, and compassion to serve, render her an exemplary candidate for the Newman Civic Fellows Award.
ZACHARY EICHHOLZ - Florida Institute of Technology
Zachary Eichholz is a student leader was a passion for sustainability and he shines in is his commitment to Florida Tech through his many leadership accomplishments. He has served as a Resident Assistant and Resident Director to the university's Residence Life Office, initiated a residence hall energy conservation challenge, and spearheaded the founding of Florida Tech's first community garden. This garden has gone on to inspire two other sister gardens in our local community of Satellite Beach and Cocoa Beach built in its image and with student collaboration. His other co-curricular activities include but are not limited to being a member of the Students for Sustainability Action Club, working as a student liaison between Florida Tech and the City of Satellite Beach on multiple sustainability-based projects, and publishing a series environmental fiction works to increase public understanding of environmental issues.