Erica Cherian, a junior from Roswell, Georgia, is among the 2017 recipients of the Newman Civic Fellowship awarded by Campus Compact.
Newman Civic Fellows are student leaders who have demonstrated an investment in finding solutions to challenges that face their communities. They were nominated by their college/university presidents. Through the fellowship, Campus Compact provides learning opportunities focused on the skills fellows need to serve as effective agents of change in addressing public problems and building equitable communities.
Cherian, a biology and psychology major, is a Levine Scholar. According to nomination materials, she has worked at two local clinics serving members of the immigrant community. At one community health clinic, she assisted as an interpreter and worked on program assessment and grant writing, and she continues to work with the clinic to develop a new app designed to disseminate health-related information to Hispanic teens. At a second clinic, she serves as an interpreter, assisting with patient flow and processing.
“Her leadership by example inspires other students to develop the language skills and grounded experience to look beyond abstract numbers and descriptions of health care needs and develop the vision and understanding to serve the needs of the most vulnerable patients,” wrote Chancellor Philip L. Dubois.
An aspiring physician, Cherian noted the disparities that exist in health care are of particular concern. “I have studied data on the disparities that exist between many groups. However, learning about numbers and statistics is nothing compared to the experience of speaking with real people about the trials and hardships that they have faced in accessing care.”
The Newman Civic Fellowship honors Frank Newman, a founder of Campus Compact; he dedicated his life to creating systematic change through education reform.
Campus Compact is a national coalition of more than 1,100 college and university presidents who are committed to fulfilling the public purpose of higher education. As the only national higher education association dedicated solely to campus-based civic engagement, Campus Compact promotes public and community service that develops students’ citizenship skills, helps campuses forge effective community partnerships and provides resources and training for faculty seeking to integrate civic and community-based learning into the curriculum.