Sophie Ouellette-Wade, Wittenberg class of 2022, is being acknowledged as an inspiring and emerging problem-solver as she was recently named a Campus Compact 2021 Newman Civic Fellow.
Ouellette-Wade joins a group of 212 community-committed students representing the organization’s member colleges and universities from 39 states, Washington, D.C., and Mexico. The Newman Civic Fellowship is a yearlong program for students from Campus Compact member institutions.
“I greatly appreciate the work of Campus Compact and believe it’s an unbelievable opportunity for student leaders on campuses across the nation,” said Ouellette-Wade, from Columbus, Ohio, who is majoring in political science with minors in data science; justice, law and public policy; and computer science.
“I think it is extremely important to have these opportunities for those who are passionate about working on the subjects of inequality and political partisanship as well as providing students with valuable growth opportunities for leadership and community engagement skills,” she added. “As a fellow, I will be working with the Springfield community and other nominated fellows across the nation to develop strategies for social change in the areas that are often overlooked or undervalued. Some of the areas that I’m passionate about are voting rights and affordable housing, which I look forward to addressing in the community.”
Student-leaders selected for the fellowship must demonstrate a commitment to finding solutions for challenges facing communities locally, nationally, and internationally. According to the Campus Compact website, through training and resources, the Newman Civic Fellowship nurtures students and helps them develop strategies for social change while building transformational partnerships between campuses and communities. It also provides virtual training and networking opportunities. Fellows are nominated by their president or chancellor on the basis of their potential for public leadership.
Introduced to Ohio Campus Compact through Ed Hasecke, professor of political science and director of Wittenberg’s Susan Hirt Hagen Center for Civic and Urban Engagement, Ouellette-Wade completed a short leadership profile detailing her style of leadership as well as her passions within the work of Campus Compact and specifically, the Newman Fellowship. She is involved in Gamma Phi Beta as the current New Member Educator and is a French tutor here on campus.
“In the future, I plan on either pursuing higher education in the form of law school and becoming a defense lawyer or working for a nonprofit that focuses on addressing inequality in communities or the legal system,” she said. “This fellowship will greatly aid me in developing my leadership skills in regard to addressing inequality and developing strategies for this social change. I will be provided with new perspectives – especially from fellow students – on how to tackle these issues and come to both possible and sustainable solutions.”
As a senior in high school, Ouellette-Wade was taking a government class where she was first introduced to the details of gerrymandering and felon disenfranchisement.
“The details of these two concepts sparked my interest and passion for voting rights specifically – but also various other types of inequality. From there I was constantly searching for knowledge of new systems around me and how each system impacts individuals and whole communities,” Ouellette-Wade explained. “Wittenberg has provided me with so many amazing and impactful opportunities that have greatly allowed me to grow into who I am as a person as well as my intellectual abilities. I don’t think I can pinpoint one person or experience that has been the most impactful during my time here at Wittenberg – but I rely on the whole of the political science department and am extremely fortunate for the growth I have received.”
She also found the personal, authentic environment at Wittenberg attractive.
“I chose Wittenberg because I was attracted to the premise of a small campus and the claim that students had close relationships with their professors where they could truly benefit professionally, socially, and intellectually throughout their experience. Wittenberg sincerely felt like home as soon as I stepped onto the campus and has continued to feel like home during my time here,” she added.
Campus Compact is a national coalition of 1,000-plus colleges and universities committed to the public purposes of higher education. A Boston-based nonprofit organization that recognizes and supports community-committed students, the fellowship is named in honor of Frank Newman, one of Campus Compact's founders, and is supported by the KPMG Foundation and by the Newman's Own Foundation.
The 2021 Newman Civic Fellows national conference will take place in Boston in the spring of 2022.Visit www.compact.org.