5 NRIs named activists for Social Change Civic Fellows

The UNN - Universal News Network

Anisha Sukumaran, Jaslin Kaur, Sahar Rajput, Erica Cherian and Akshaya Chittibabu have been named Campus Compact Newman Civic Fellows, named after Campus Compact founder Frank Newman, recognizes and supports community-committed students who have demonstrated an investment in finding solutions for challenges facing communities throughout the country.

The fellowship provides training and resources that nurture students’ assets and passions to help them develop strategies to achieve social change. Through the one-year 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.

Sukumaran, a junior Health and Biomedical Sciences student at Adventist University of Health Sciences, is a dedicated student leader who is involved, both on campus and in the local community, in the process of affecting positive social change, according to the university’s founding president and chief executive David Greenlaw. “It is my joy to help others, and I value the opportunity civic work provides me to gain a greater perspective on the needs of the individuals who, someday, will be my patients,” she said.

Kaur is a student at Nassau Community College. According to college president W. Hubert Keen, Kaur is a self-motivated, committed student activist who advocates for women’s rights with a focus on preventing violence against women.

She champions women’s empowerment and leadership, and is currently developing a campaign called South Asian Women Against Domestic Abuse and has worked with AF3IRM NYC on the Purple Rose Campaign to end sex trafficking, Keen added.

Rajput, a senior at the State University of New York at Oswego has put forth a deep commitment to civic and community engagement throughout her life, SUNY Oswego president Deborah Stanley said. At SUNY Oswego, Rajput has served as a mentor and tutor, as well as a leader in developinew community partnerships.

Cherian, a junior at UNC Charlotte, has devoted herself to addressing issues of healthcare access and utilization by the local citizens, UNC Charlotte chancellor Philip Dubois said.

Cherian has worked at local clinics to serve members of the immigrant community since she began at UNC Charlotte. “Erica continues to work with the clinic to develop a new app designed to disseminate health related information to Hispanic teens,” Dubois said.

Chittibabu is a sophomore at the University of Connecticut. She is an aspiring physician with an abiding interest in addressing the enduring disparities in access to healthcare, university president Susan Herbst said. Her interest was inspired by volunteer work she did in Tamil Nadu, India, where she witnessed first-hand the lack of healthcare, Herbst noted.

Through the UConn Office of Community Outreach and UConn Global Medical Brigades, Chittibabu has volunteered in healthcare settings ranging from Philadelphia to Ecuador and Panama. She currently volunteers with the UConn Collegiate Health Service Corps, where she works with underserved populations in surrounding communities to create and deliver health education lessons in both English and Spanish.

“Doing medical service in rural Panama, India and Ecuador, as well as domestically, has exposed me to many of the problems caused by lack of healthcare access and made me want to work towards solving them,” Chittibabu said.

Newman Civic Fellows are nominated by college and university presidents and chancellors to acknowledge motivation and potential in public leadership. Fellows are nominated based on their demonstrated commitment to finding solutions for challenges facing communities throughout the country. These students represent the next generation of public problem solvers and civic leaders, Campus Compact said. They serve as national exemplars of the role that higher education can — and does — play in building a better world, it added.

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