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OHIO student Maya Meade awarded Newman Civic Fellowship

Published: April 25, 2022 Author: Macklin Caruso

Ohio University junior Maya Meade has been awarded the prestigious 2022 Newman Civic Fellowship.

A journalism major and political science minor, Meade is also pursuing certificates in women’s, gender, and sexuality studies, and political communication. She was nominated to the fellowship by President Hugh Sherman because of her social activism and academic achievements.

“With the resources and support of the Newman Civic Fellowship, Maya will continue to develop her vision for her mission and work,” Sherman wrote in his letter nominating Meade. “Again, I proudly nominate her for this opportunity on behalf of Ohio University.”

The Newman Civic Fellowship is a national year-long program that recognizes and supports community-committed students who have demonstrated an investment in finding solutions for challenges facing communities throughout the country. The fellowship is part of Campus Compact, a national coalition of colleges and universities committed to the public purposes of higher education. Meade will be among a cohort of 173 students from 38 states, Washington, D.C., and Mexico.

The fellowship is designed to provide a civic engagement learning opportunity, where the fellow identifies a problem in their community and works to create a solution. Meade has yet to decide on a civic issue, but she is considering projects that would make Athens more accessible to people with disabilities or a program that could help prevent gun violence.

Due in part to its aging infrastructure, Athens lacks accessibility for people with disabilities, according to Meade. “That is an issue that I identified,” she said. “Having a disability doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have friends or be able to do things on campus.” This is a longstanding issue for Meade who, while at OHIO, started the University’s chapter of Best Buddies, an organization that provides opportunities for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

She is also considering creating a local chapter of Everytown for Gun Safety, the largest gun violence prevention organization in the country. Though Meade has not personally experienced gun violence, it is still an issue that is of utmost importance to her.

“It’s not if you will be involved in a shooting but when,” she said. “I know that is horrible, but it’s scary for me.”

Meade will choose a faculty member for the fellowship to implement the project.

This is the second time an Ohio University student has received this recognition. The current fellow is Micaela Beatham-García, a senior studying pre-law and director of the ACLU of Ohio University, the only ACLU chapter in Southeast Ohio.

Campus Compact is hoping to convene the 2022 Newman Civic Fellows at a national conference in Boston, Mass., this fall.

Campus Compact also operates a statewide chapter, which recently awarded the Charles J. Ping Award, which recognizes and honors students’ leadership and contributions to community service. The award was given to Ohio University Lancaster student McKenzie Taylor, among other undergraduate student leaders across Ohio.