Journalism student named Newman Civic Fellow for 2020

LAWRENCE — From across the country, college and university presidents of Campus Compact member institutions have nominated promising student leaders as Newman Civic Fellows. Through service, research and advocacy, these fellows have demonstrated an investment in their community and are working to better understand themselves, the root causes of social issues and effective mechanisms for creating lasting change.

Lauren Spence headshotLauren Spence, a junior in strategic communications and sociology from Springfield, Missouri, is KU’s Newman Civic Fellow for 2020-2021. As a photographer and videographer, Spence strives to shed light on pressing social issues, document meaningful community efforts and tell stories that might not otherwise be told.

“Lauren recognizes the importance of raising awareness for various social problems, as well as documenting through media and communications the efforts that are being supported to foster change and improvement in communities,” KU Chancellor Douglas A. Girod said.

As communications director of KU’s Student United Way chapter, Spence is constructing a communications strategy for the new organization from the ground up.

“Lauren’s dedication to creating a solid foundation from which the organization can effectively communicate their mission and projects will continue to serve the Student United Way and their partners long after she graduates from KU,” said Kate Kemper, assistant director of the Center for Service Learning. Kemper is serving as Spence's Newman mentor throughout her year in the program.

Off-campus, Spence has been very active in Lawrence Humane Society programs and pet adoption promotion activities.

Spence joins a cohort of nearly 300 students from across the country in a yearlong program that includes training, virtual learning opportunities and an annual fellow convening. This fall, each fellow is tasked with hosting a deliberative dialogue about a topic of their choice. Spence's dialogue topic will be “youth and opportunity.”

The opportunities available to the Newman Civic Fellows include attendance at the national Newman Civic Fellows conference, participation in regional and state gatherings of Newman Civic Fellows, engagement with a virtual event series focused on skill development and professional learning, and guidance from a local mentor.

Updated on: 11/20/2020