Mount Wachusett Community College Student Jana Murphy has been recognized for her dedication and commitment to serving others by being named one of Campus Compact’s national 2017 Newman Civic Fellows Award winners.
The Newman Civic Fellowship is a one-year fellowship for community-committed college students from Campus Compact member institutions. Honorees are chosen for their leadership and ability to take action in pursuit of long-term, positive social change. This year, 273 students were selected to receive the award.
Through the fellowship, Campus Compact provides a variety of learning and networking opportunities, including a national conference of Newman Civic Fellows in partnership with the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate. The fellowship also provides fellows with pathways to exclusive scholarship and post-graduate opportunities.
Murphy, a resident of Ayer, said she was most excited to be a part of this year’s cohort and learn from them how they handled situations and challenges and helped improve their schools.
“It will be interesting to see what the other fellows did at their campuses and what we can do here. Because I will be an AmeriCorps VISTA here again, I will be able to put into action what I learn as a Newman Fellow back here at the college,” said Murphy.
Each year, Campus Compact member presidents and chancellors nominate one community-committed student from their institution for the fellowship. That is no guarantee that the nominee will receive the fellowship, said Shelley Nicholson who is the Director of the Senator Stephen M. Brewer Center for Civic Learning and Community Engagement at Mount Wachusett Community College and has worked closely with Murphy during her time as a student volunteer and AmeriCorps VISTA. Murphy’s selection reflects all the hard work she has put in during her time at MWCC.
“Jana is truly dedicated to improving her community and helping her fellow students. She has a yearning to prove herself as a scholar and a citizen and for that I greatly admire her,” said Nicholson. “She was nominated for this honor based on the work she has done to embed civic engagement into the fabric of the college as much as for the recognition that this is a life-long commitment for Jana. She will continue to inspire others to be civically engaged as she moves forward with her career.”
Murphy has been engaged with the Mount Wachusett Community College community since her first semester serving as an S.O.S. (Students Serving Our Students) Peer Mentor, member of the Parents Support Club and a 2015-2016 Student Leader in Civic Engagement. In addition, Jana is now serving a term of service as an AmeriCorps VISTA dedicated to increasing student volunteerism in relation to hunger through a partnership with the Gardner Community Action Committee. In this capacity, she coordinated the United Way Day of Caring where over 44,000 meals were packaged by MWCC student, faculty, staff and alumni volunteers, beating all previous records. These meals were distributed to area food banks and our own students in need. Working in collaborating with community partners, she will be continuing to explore the social justice issues behind food insecurity and working hard to eliminate that barrier to educational success in the next year of her AmeriCorps *VISTA service.