Last month, Campus Compact named University of Connecticut fourth-semester student Michael Hernández as one of the 2020 cohort of Newman Civic Fellows, making him the fifth UConn student ever to receive this award.
The Newman Award honors college students across the country for taking action about civic issues in their communities, and provides them with a year-long program including training and networking opportunities. Each recipient is nominated by their school’s president or chancellor, and selected by Campus Compact, a non-profit organization based in Boston with the goal of enhancing public engagement in college.
In his nomination of Hernández to the fellowship, President Thomas Katsouleas said a few words, outlining some of the projects he has taken part in.
“He worked as a Campaign Fellow for Connecticut Students for a Dream, where he lobbied for the eventual passage of the Afford to Dream Act, which gives undocumented students in Connecticut access to financial aid at state colleges and universities,” said Katsouleas. “And he is currently spearheading a project in Stamford that seeks to increase enrollment in Advanced Placement (AP) classes among high school students who self-identify as Black or Latino.”
Hernández is a double major in political science and economics at the Stamford campus, and he is the president of the UConn Undergraduate Political Science Association.
In his personal statement on the Campus Compact website, he explained what he hopes to do with the fellowship opportunity.
“I believe that the inherently entrepreneurial spirit of immigrants like me, channeled through the power of public policy, can help solve social issues,” Hernández said. “I hope to bring this perspective and experience to the Newman Civic Fellowship program, and I look forward to engaging in dialogue and collaborative work with other young leaders who care about these and similar issues.”
The fellowship includes an in-person conference for all of the 2020-21 fellows, virtual training experiences and numerous other opportunities for support in pursuing their goals.
Sam Zelin is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.