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UMES sophomore honored as Newman Civic Fellow

  • Ayotomiwa Fashola recognized for commitment to solving public problems

    Wednesday, March 3, 2021
    Ayotomiwa "Tommi" Fashola

    Ayotomiwa Fashola, a sophomore in the Richard A. Henson Honors Program, will represent the University of Maryland Eastern Shore during the 2021-22 academic year as a Newman Civic Fellow. 

    Known around UMES as Tommi, Fashola is among 211 college students from across the country and Mexico who will participate in the year-long program sponsored by Campus Compact, a Boston-based non-profit organization. 

    Participants “are leaders on their campuses who demonstrate a commitment to finding solutions for challenges facing communities locally, nationally and internationally,” according to Campus Compact, a national coalition of institutions “committed to the public purposes of higher education.” 

    Her reaction when she received the news? “Oh, wow!” she recalled thinking. 

    Fashola is a dean's list student majoring in sociology with a minor in criminal justice. She already is looking to toward graduate school to round out a resume that will enable her to become a counselor working with adolescents. 

    “I would love to be the person I wish I had when I was younger to talk to.” she wrote in a personal statement submitted to program. “I want to be the change of my community, and help people see … there is more good in this world than bad.” 

    “I believe that may be why my drive is so high for community service and leadership activities,” she wrote, “because if you start small, once you do more they'll be more people willing to engage with you.” 

    UMES President Heidi M. Anderson's nomination letter gleaned from faculty and staff input noted Fashola is “trusted and respected by her peers” and “has risen, through progressively important leadership roles, as a force to combat inequity and a voice to advance conversations that lead to positive change.” 

    “Ms. Fashola epitomizes excellence by virtue of her academic prowess, leadership, philanthropy and civic engagement,” Anderson wrote. “She is a reliable and respectful young woman who is present, punctual and at all times professional.” 

    In addition to serving as sophomore class president, Fashola has been a Hawk Ambassador, works as a student assistant in the Office of Residence Life and is the lone student member of the university-wide Food Committee. 

    She is also a member of the campus chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and serves on an advisory panel for Men of Distinction, an organization that empowers male students “to advocate for themselves and to partner to promote their personal and professional success.” Back home in Upper Marlboro, Md., Fashola volunteers as an usher and with the food bank of her church, Tower of Praise. 

    The Newman Civic Fellowship is named for the late Frank Newman, one of Campus Compact's founders, who the organization describes as a tireless advocate for civic engagement in higher education. Inspired by that legacy, Campus Compact member presidents and chancellors nominate student leaders from their campuses to be named Newman Civic Fellows. 

    Campus Compact provides Fellows with a variety of learning and networking opportunities that emphasize personal, professional, and civic growth. Fellows participate in virtual training and networking opportunities to develop the skills and connections they need to create large-scale, positive change. 

    The fellowship experience culminates with 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 post-graduate opportunities.” 

    “We are proud to recognize these extraordinary student leaders and thrilled to engage with them,” Campus Compact President Andrew Seligsohn said. “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.”

    Learn more at www.compact.org/newman-civic-fellowship