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ASU sophomore quadruple major named Newman Civic Fellow

Nathaniel Ross

Sophomore Nathaniel Ross has won the Newman Civic Fellowship.

April 01, 2021

Nathaniel Ross, an Arizona State University sophomore, aspires to work professionally on public policy affecting the disabled community. He recently was awarded the Newman Civic Fellowship, which he believes will help set him on a path to achieve that goal.

Ross is a Flinn Scholar and member of Barrett, The Honors College at ASU who is quadruple majoring in biological sciences, political science, applied quantitative science and history, with a minor in dance and two certificates — one in religion and conflict and another in civic education.

“I am passionate about disability advocacy and I plan to work in public policy within the disability space. Particularly I want to work in the intersections of disability with issues like education, employment and especially the environment. I plan to go to law school to better understand the legal system's role in disability discrimination. My ultimate goal is to be where the policy is made. I am just not sure if that is as a lawyer, a legislative advocate, or an elected official,” he said.

“This fellowship will help equip me with skills and techniques to increase community engagement and organization. I will also have the opportunity to meet incredible students and professionals who will provide insights into what future paths I can follow to make the biggest positive impact.”

He is one of 290 students from the U.S. and Mexico chosen by Campus Compact, a Boston-based nonprofit organization working to advance the public purposes of higher education, to make up the organization’s 2021–22 cohort of Newman Civic Fellows. Campus Compact, a national coalition of colleges and universities committed to the public purposes of higher education, supports institutions in fulfilling their public purposes by deepening their ability to improve community life and to educate students for civic and social responsibility.

The Newman Civic Fellowship is a yearlong program for students from Campus Compact member institutions. The students selected for the fellowship are leaders on their campuses who demonstrate a commitment to finding solutions for challenges facing communities locally, nationally and internationally.

Much of Ross's work centers on community partnerships. Over the last six months, he has worked closely with other students, ASU staff and faculty through Luminosity Lab, a prominent research and development lab that partners with external organizations, to develop and prototype innovative solutions to local and societal challenges.

He serves as vice president for network engagement with ASU's Greenlight Solutions chapter, where he identifies and connects with targeted businesses to develop more environmentally friendly processes and solutions.

He is an intern for Creosote Partners lobbying firm, where he works with clients promoting criminal justice reform, health care access and environmental justice. Nathaniel volunteers as a mentor to children that are dealing with health issues and builds relationships within the community.

“It was such an honor to be chosen to represent ASU in this fellowship. I see my selection as additional motivation to continue the work I have done, as well as to find new ways of improving the lives of the people in my community. I was able to meet some of the people on the selection committee, and hearing how much they believed in me was so encouraging and helped me to believe that I am going in the right direction for my future,” Ross said.

Ross said the best things about being a Newman Fellow are the connections he will make with a network of current and former fellows, the opportunity to attend a conference for fellows next spring to learn about public policy and leadership, and having a mentor throughout the program. 

The fellowship is named for the late Frank Newman, one of Campus Compact’s founders, who was an advocate for civic engagement in higher education. In the spirit of Newman’s leadership, Campus Compact member presidents and chancellors nominate student leaders from their campuses to be named Newman Civic Fellows.

Through the fellowship, Campus Compact provides fellows with a variety of learning and networking opportunities that emphasize personal, professional and civic growth. Each year, fellows participate in numerous virtual training and networking opportunities to help provide them with the skills and connections they need to create large-scale positive change.

The cornerstone of the fellowship is the Annual Convening of Fellows, which offers intensive skill-building and networking over the course of two days. The fellowship also provides fellows with pathways to apply for exclusive scholarship and postgraduate opportunities.

“We are proud to recognize these extraordinary student leaders and thrilled to engage with them,” said Campus Compact President Andrew Seligsohn. “The experience of the last year has driven home to all of us that we need open-minded, innovative, public-spirited thinkers and doers. That is what Campus Compact is about, and the stories of our Newman Civic Fellows demonstrate it's who they are.”

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