Public service leaders poised to affect change

student speaking at podium during luncheon

Imelda Ojeda plans to address the unique needs of the Southwest population by developing policies and advocacy for children’s access to quality health care and education. Emily Fritcke will contribute to the improvement of international relations and the advancement of women’s rights. Anika Larson sees herself developing federal policy in public and environmental health.

Ojeda, Fritcke and Larson are among the 15 dynamic student leaders chosen as 2014 Spirit of Service Scholars, recognizing their demonstrated commitment to public service and promise as transformational leaders.

“These students are not waiting to graduate to put their ideas to work,” says Jonathan Koppell, dean of the College of Public Programs at Arizona State University. “They embrace the complex challenges facing us, and are actively moving forward with solutions that strengthen our communities locally and globally.”

The scholars will be honored at a breakfast with local leaders and community partners on Oct. 14 at the A. E. England building on ASU's Downtown Phoenix campus.

“The scholars chosen for this program bring a mix of talents, experience and knowledge. They are a great complement to each other, and together they help high school students succeed. They produce an exciting mix of intellect and community involvement. Hopefully, the Spirit of Service Scholars program will give them that added impetus to serve their communities, nation and world,” says Rick DeGraw, executive vice president and chief administrative officer of CopperPoint Mutual Insurance and chairman of the Spirit of Service Scholars Leadership Committee.

Now in its fifth year, the program helps prepare these young professionals to take leadership roles in public and private nonprofit sectors through scholarships, mentoring and real-world experiences. The Spirit of Service Scholars program is offered through the College of Public Programs, but the students represent colleges from across the university, from freshmen to doctoral students.

The program also includes junior scholars, representing five area high schools. High school students selected for the program based on their interest in public service are mentored by their university counterparts in the program.

The 2014-2015 scholars include students from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the College of Public Programs, the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, the School of Letters and Sciences, and the W. P. Carey School of Business.

Scholars receive a $5,000 scholarship award, hands-on learning, mentorship and networking opportunities. Two scholarships are named in memory of Gabe Zimmerman, one of six people killed in the Tucson shootings on Jan. 8, 2011. This year, an additional scholarship has been established in the name of Debra Friedman, former dean of the college and ASU vice president.

Since its inception, the Spirit of Service Scholars program has been strongly supported by CopperPoint Mutual Insurance Company, Helios Education Foundation, Cox Communications, APS, HighGround and many other corporate and foundation partners.

The 2014-2015 Spirit of Service Scholars

• Lauren Bacon, junior, English linguistics with minors in philosophy, Italian and TESOL

• German Cadenas, fourth year, Ph.D., counseling psychology

• Courtney Carter, senior, urban and metropolitan studies, and urban planning

• Katie Curiel, second year, master of science, global technology and development

• Steve Elliott, fifth year, Ph.D., biology and society

• Leah Fiacco, senior, economics and political science

• Emily Fritcke, senior, English literature and history with a minor in Arabic studies

• John Gallagher, fourth year, Ph.D., social work

• Anika Larson, senior, biological sciences and global studies

• Devin Oakes, senior, nonprofit leadership and management

• Imelda Ojeda, second year, master of social work and master of public administration

• Jeffrey Ong, first year, master of public administration

• Katherine Richard, senior, economics with minors in French and mathematics

• Lauren Twigg, second year, master of public administration

• Cory Tyszka, third year, J.D. law with a certificate in law, science and technology