CSB, SJU students receive Newman Civic Fellow awards

April 1, 2013

Maria Anderson '14
Kody Williams '13

College of Saint Benedict junior Maria Anderson and Saint John's University senior Kody Williams were recently named 2013 Newman Civic Fellows by Campus Compact, a national coalition of approximately 1,200 college and university presidents committed to fulfilling the civic purposes of higher education.

Anderson, a nutrition-dietetics major from St. Cloud, Minn., participates in the Bonner Leader Scholarship program and has interned for CentraCare's Better Living: Exercise and Nutrition Daily (BLEND) program, where she educated the public about living a healthy lifestyle. She has also taught nutrition classes for students at local elementary schools and for senior citizens. Anderson, who graduated from Cathedral High School, St. Cloud, is currently helping to prepare applications for the federal Safe Routes to School grant.

"She believes that the nutrition, physical activity and health of an individual have significant impact of the strength of society," said CSB President MaryAnn Baenninger in her nominating letter for Anderson. "She clearly sees health and health disparities as a social justice issue, and she strives to solve it by partnering with community members, policy makers, educators and advocates."

Anderson hopes to earn a master's degree in public health nutrition and become a registered dietician following her graduation.

Williams, a biology major from St. Paul, Minn., also participates in the Bonner Leader Scholarship program. During his time at SJU, he has been committed to promoting awareness of healthcare disparities throughout the world through service projects with Habitat for Humanity, Kids Against Hunger, United Cerebral Palsy of Central Minnesota and Hope for the Holiday, as well as working with youth. He is a graduate of Cretin-Derham Hall High School, St. Paul.

"Kody sees the disparity in healthcare availability in the world as a significant social justice issue," said SJU President Michael Hemesath in his nominating letter for Williams. "He has worked to both raise awareness about this issue and to partner with local agencies to improve the lives of those in need." 

After graduation, Williams plans to volunteer in a year-long program, and then attend dental school.

Campus Compact honored 181 students from 36 states with the 2013 Newman Civic Fellow awards. These students were nominated by their college and university presidents as students who are making the most of their college experiences to better understand themselves, the root causes of social issues and effective mechanisms for creating lasting change.

"These students represent the next generation of public problem solvers and civic leaders," said Maureen Curley, president of Campus Compact. "They serve as national examples of the role that higher education can - and does - play in building stronger communities."

Newman Civic Fellow awards are presented in honor of Frank Newman, a former president of the University of Rhode Island and one of the founders of Campus Compact. The awards are sponsored by the KPMG Foundation.