Jaritza Núñez ’21 has been named as a recipient of the 2020 Newman Civic Fellowship from Campus Compact, a coalition of colleges and universities that builds democracy through civic education and community development.
Núñez, a sociology major, was selected for the fellowship based on her leadership at Colgate and her commitment to addressing the challenges facing her home community in California’s rural central valley.
“Although we were told we were only meant to grow crops under the sun, we could do so much more and contribute to our community,” Núñez said in her personal statement to Campus Compact. “Through my research in sociology and educational studies, I started to unpack the social systems that placed me on a ‘different educational level’ and committed myself to eliminating the barriers that marginalized communities face when pursuing higher education.”
Taking action, Núñez serves as a social justice peer educator. She is a member of We Are Enough and a tour guide in the Office of Admission. Because of her ability to perceive needs and connect with others, she was invited to join the Office of Undergraduate Studies Summer Institute as a teaching/research residential academic coach at the beginning of her junior year in 2019. “For me, planting such seeds allows my community to realize we were made to grow from within,” she said.
Although the traditional Newman conference has been canceled, Núñez will still participate in numerous virtual training and networking opportunities that emphasize personal, professional, and civic growth. She will also be applying for scholarship and post-graduate opportunities available through the Newman Fellowship program.
“This will be a good opportunity to expand who I know, expand my skills, expand my understanding of certain topics,” she said. “I’m excited to meet the other fellows; I want to see what they are doing on their campuses. They seem eager, and I love it when people get excited to do what they do.”
That excitement is no surprise to Jeremy Wattles, director of the Max A. Shacknai Center for Outreach, Volunteerism, and Education (COVE), who shepherded Núñez’s nomination for the fellowship.
“Jari has a track record of sustained service on campus and in her home community,” Wattles said. “She’s thinking about education policy and civic engagement while taking action — the depth of her commitment is remarkable and important.”
The Newman Civic Fellowship is supported by the KPMG Foundation and Newman’s Own Foundation.