2019 Kentucky Newman Civic Fellows
Major: Business Administration with a concentration in Accounting
Class of 2021
The importance, impact, and historical reference Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) have on the community, Students, and history had been circulating around me since my senior year of High School. I went to a Historically Black College fair and there is where I learned about a whole other group of post-secondary educational school systems. Even then I did not know the grave historical impact these universities had, I still chose to attend Kentucky State University. Following my first year, I learned and realized how important these institutions are for not only the students within them, but the community as well. These Universities provide Students the ability to learn about the history and culture of the black people and their communities in a more in-depth way. Students at HBCU’s actually experience the culture of our ancestors in today’s society. The beginning of my Sophomore year is when I took the initiative to educate High School students on the topic of HBCU’s. To first inform them that Historically Black Colleges exist, and then to further educate them on their history and impact. HBCU’s are more than relics of the past. They can shape the present and future.
At Kentucky State University, students are encouraged to “Enter to Learn and Go Out to Serve” and Alexus Loyd, a sophomore in the Whitney Young Honors Program adopted this motto as her personal mantra long ago. She is a student leader who not only actively participates in multiple student organizations, but also strives to educate and emulate the importance and impact of Historically Black Colleges and Universities on the community, students, and history. Alexus has volunteered well over one hundred hours this year, mentoring and inspiring others to reach their academic and personal goals. Doing so by working in accordance with her University and utilizing their resources to engage in opportunities to speak and educate High School students. She serves her community in multiple ways, one of which through participating in youth mentoring programs in which she bonds and builds a positive and supportive relationship with the youth in the community. Alexus emulates academic excellence, commitment to serving her community, and Leadership through her involvement in multiple student organizations, community service projects and her rigorous course study. She is committed to being an agent for change for at-risk students while developing her skills as a dedicated servant leader.
M. Christopher Brown II
President, Kentucky State University
I first became involved in addressing issues of food security two years ago when an Alternative Spring Break trip to Charleston, South Carolina ignited my passion to fight the systemic issue. It was here where I met the most passionate community members who continue to have impact on my life today. The idea for a project on my campus that would address the issues surrounding food security came to me. I initiated the polling of my classmates’ food insecurity and saw the same trends in national statistics. This eventually led to the opening of the first food pantry at Bellarmine University that provides food to our students at no cost. Opening the first food pantry on my campus has allowed me the opportunity to create and maintain a community partnership with our local food bank, Dare to Care, one of the largest organizations of its kind. Opening the food pantry has also allowed me to oversee pantry operations at the student director level along with overseeing marketing and promotions. My experience with this project has allowed me to become an advocate for food security on campus and in my community through connections I have made in the surrounding community.
Becca Broda, a Class of 2020 Bellarmine University student, is a leader on campus whose experiences are preparing her to be a problem-solver and change-maker in her community. In the fall 2018 semester, Bellarmine opened Knights Pantry, a no-cost food pantry for any student experiencing food insecurity. As the Student Director of the pantry, Becca was instrumental in this project. She put an incredible amount of work into creating surveys to measure need, benchmarking, writing the grant, and is the primary person responsible for pantry operations. Becca displays the unique disposition of being extremely stable, yet always adaptable. She is mature beyond her years in her work ethic and performance. She embraces change, and seeks out collaboration.
I have always been passionate about immigrant rights. My sophomore year of high school I joined the youth activism chapter of the Tennessee Immigrant Refugee Rights Coalition (TIRRC) in hopes of advocating for the Tuition Equality bill which would grant undocumented students in-state tuition rates at public colleges and universities in Tennessee. As a DACA recipient, I have participated in United We Dream’s D.C based actions demanding a clean Dream Act for a permanent solution and pathway to citizenship for undocumented youth. Once at Centre I began working with Centro Latino, a local Danville immigrant organization, aiding the immigrant community in accessing healthcare programs. Noting the need for free and accessible English lessons in the community, I began teaching introductory English lessons in spring 2018. I hope to continue them this spring. On campus, alongside some of my peers, I founded and developed the first ever Centre UndocuPeers training focused on detailing undocumented student needs to students, faculty and staff.
Katherine is a second year Bonner Leader at Centre College who intends to major in sociology. She is a consistent volunteer at Centro Latino and builds capacity at this local organization through fundraising and interpreting for ESL families so that they can gain access to resources that are often obstructed by language barriers. Although she recognizes the importance of service in addressing the roots of injustice for ESL and immigrant communities, Katherine understands that political advocacy carries an equal weight. She was instrumental in developing and facilitating the UndocuPeers trainings on Centre’s campus in the Spring and Fall of 2018. These trainings educated the campus community on immigration issues, particularly the undocumented identity, and what role students, faculty, and staff can play as allies. She also created the student organization Refugees and Immigrants Speaking up for Equality (RISE) and led them in forming committees to help plan the Fall 2018 training. Outside of the UndocuPeers training, RISE meets consistently to discuss issues of injustice for refugee and immigrant groups and to plan further initiatives for fundraising and training. Through her work, Katherine has cultivated recognition of the humanity inherent in marginalized groups that is so often ignored.Dr.
I first became interested in analyzing and studying gender and sexuality when I was in high school and I realized I had never been taught anything about women in my history classes, how gender is viewed and interpreted in today’s society, or even a basic sexual health class. When I got to college, I learned that I could study these areas that had been glazed over in my high school education. In my Gender and Women’s Studies courses, I learn about how the patriarchal norms that shape society affect women as well as men, and how we as students can educate others and combat these norms. I participate in the Gender and Women’s Studies Conference every year by presenting different topics relating to feminist perspectives and presenting solutions to problems that our society faces because of the stereotypes we place on men and women. I also lead open dialogues on campus in regards to current issues so that my fellow students can practice giving voice to their opinions while respectfully listening to the opinions of others. In the future, I hope to become a political advocate for issues relating to gender in public education as well as higher education.
Kennedy Selbe, a third-year student at Lindsey Wilson College, is passionate about learning from the lessons of history, specifically in regards to how humanity has treated minority groups. Throughout her college experience thus far, she has delved into issues of gender and sexuality and how women, LGBTQ+, and other minority groups are represented in both history and current culture. She is a leader on campus who facilitates biweekly Special Topic Dinners for students to break down misunderstandings about current issues and build bridges of communication between groups of diverse opinions. She is also a leader in the community who serves in the local school system to build programming for children and parents while removing barriers to education for primary school children. Kennedy believes that education and dialogue are the cornerstones of building dynamic and effective solutions to social justice issues and that we cannot help others or craft solutions to public problems until we see, hear, and strive to understand those who are most affected.
From adolescence, I have been hyper-aware of the schism of rights between cisgender, heterosexual people, and those of varying gender identities and sexual orientations. During high school, I took an active leadership role in my gender and sexuality alliance, challenging the administration to move forward on LGBTQ issues. I was determined to continue my work on behalf of the community here at my university. I discovered the Office of LGBTQ Programs and Services and their Ambassadors. Since being appointed as an ambassador of this organization, I have worked on multiple projects to oppose those who walk onto Northern Kentucky University’s campus to spread hate. Three years later, I hold numerous leadership positions where I try to champion inclusive excellence in all things, highlighting the successes of minority status students. I firmly believe that through collaborative leadership we can make our community, commonwealth, and country a better place.
Jarett Lopez is a third year student at Northern Kentucky University who is an advocate for the rights of LGBTQ students at NKU. For the past three years, he has created public programing that celebrates inclusive excellence across campus and hosted forums for the broader NKU community where he encourages collaborative problem solving. He is currently working on revising a series of advocacy workshops that involve on- and off-campus speakers who will teach students to communicate policy proposals effectively with government officials and their staff.
I have always had the desire to serve others before serving myself. This innate passion inside myself has driven me to countless opportunities that I could never have thought possible. What I have learned most from these opportunities and the passion I have is to take others circumstances into consideration. With this consideration I could potentially help them to a greater extent by meeting their specific. I believe the possible root cause for the majority of our societies social issues stems from individuals not taking others’ lives into consideration. Through my work with children as an elementary education major and summer camp volunteer I have observed one way we could solve this problem. In our school system we can help foster the youths to develop the same spark I have for charity work by having them participate in volunteer opportunities in their own community. In helping others’ students will see what a difference they can make in someone’s life just through a simple act of kindness. To motivate our youth to be the change we need in the world we must also take initiative to help others and be leaders in our community.
Jessica Shelton has been an outstanding student leader during her time at Wesleyan. She is currently the vice president of Philanthropy and Keeper of Ritual for AOII, the secretary for Panhellenic, the chair of philanthropy for the Student Government Association, and an active member of multiple other campus organizations and clubs, including Campus Ministries.
An Elementary Education major, Jessica has volunteered with multiple organizations since 2016, including vacation bible school, summer camps, and prayer teams. In 2017, she volunteered a week at Give Kids the World Village, with other Wesleyan students. Jessica has a passion for children and volunteerism.
For much of my existence, I’ve resided in communities often deficient in resources, but rich with compassion. Volunteerism and adopting a life of selfless service were values instilled in me at a young age, and I recall volunteering; however, I realized my efforts were acute, temporary solutions to the systemic issues that plagued my community and others across the globe. So, I began seeking methods for transformative action. At Berea College, I was selected as a Bonner Scholar, a service and leadership program empowering students to become solution-seekers. To further enhance my capacities as an agent of social change, I sought out a diversity and inclusion organization, the Diversity Peer Education Team (DPET). I am now the student coordinator for DPET, and we cultivate a safe space for individuals to engage in critical dialogue. Our T.R.U.T.H. (True Racial Understanding through Honest) Talk series is not aimed at providing concrete solutions for issues in the world, but at promoting ongoing discussion among students, faculty, staff, and community members. As I grow and mature as a pre-service teacher and practitioner of transformative change, I hope to continue building a repository of techniques that will aid in establishing a foundation for understanding.
Shyeila “Shy” Bowers, a junior at Berea College, is a hard-working and proactive, positive student leader and undergraduate scholar. Shy uses her skills, knowledge, and positive, community-building approaches to promote dialogue and action to address pressing social issues. As a Diversity Peer Education Team (DPET) team member, Shy collaborates with peers and mentors to prepare, deliver, and evaluate inclusive peer education workshops, called TRUTH (True Racial Understanding through Honest) Talks. TRUTH Talks are programs facilitated by students for members of the campus and broader community, during which participants are invited to participate in critical dialogue about controversial topics. Shy’s work as a Bonner Scholar and member of the Diversity Peer Education Team reflects her commitment to build community, promote understanding, and address pressing social issues. Shy reflects an attitude of kindness in her interpersonal reactions, while remaining committed to empowering herself and others to discuss challenging social topics in a productive way, ultimately working to take action for positive social change.