South Carolina Campus Compact | South Carolina Newman Civic Fellows

The Newman Civic Fellows Award honors inspiring college student leaders who have demonstrated an investment in finding solutions for challenges facing communities throughout the country. Through service, research, and advocacy, Newman Civic Fellows 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. They serve as national examples of the role that higher education can—and does—play in building a better world. For the full list of recipients, click here.

Melissa Cannavo, Columbia College
Melissa Cannavo, a junior at Columbia College, has set her path to use medicine to serve the underserved. She was chosen for the Summer Medical and Dental Education Programs, focusing on health care disparities. She worked with the Director of Service-learning and with faculty in the Department of Family Medicine at the University of South Carolina to mentor minority students. She currently leads a multi-year legacy service-learning project to address the diabetes epidemic in South Carolina. She is the key person linking the Department of Family Medicine, Columbia College pre-med students, and C.A. Johnson High School’s Health Science Magnate program designed to encourage minority students to pursue allied health. The project delineates the health profile of C.A. Johnson High School, including students, faculty, staff and administrator, and develops a program to address changing their health behaviors. The intent is to extend the program to the community and situate C.A. Johnson as viable and working health care resource in the community. Finally, she is organizing a trip by Columbia College students, through International Partners in Service-learning, to spend Summer, 2013 in Guayaquil, Ecuador in medical service-learning. Throughout her undergraduate career she has demonstrate a whole-hearted commitment to serve others.

James Robert Daniell, The Citadel
Cadet James Robert Daniell III, a sophomore Psychology major at The Citadel, is a passionate advocate for youth who need to overcome great obstacles to succeed academically and psychosocially. In spite of heavy academic and military schedule demands Robert has volunteered every semester (as well as in the summer) for school-based and after-school programs serving youth living in poverty and has been singled out by community partners as truly exceptional in the quality of his work. He has demonstrated concern, insight, and commitment to address the pressing needs of literacy, motivation, and well-being in high-risk youth. He is collaborating on the development and application of a new positive psychology-based SMART Strengths curriculum in some of Charleston’s most challenged middle and high schools. As a co-presenter in two peer-reviewed workshops at the 2012 NC Campus Compact PACE conference he shared his passion and knowledge about service learning with other students, faculty, and administrators. He has collaborated on scholarly activities to document the impact of service learning and will present his first program impact research at the Southeastern Psychological Association meeting in March. Robert is well on his way to being a leader who inspires change and opportunity for disadvantaged youth.

Christopher Johnson, University of South Carolina Upstate
Christopher Johnson, a junior at the University of South Carolina Upstate, is deeply involved in the civic health of the Spartanburg community in South Carolina. For the past three years, he has worked diligently with many different non-profits to address social connectedness and philanthropic involvement. Christopher regularly volunteers his time with local voting drives, recycling initiatives, and recruiting volunteers for the non-profits. He is a charismatic leader whom is capable of empowering and mobilizing individuals to make a change in the community. His passion for giving back to the community has enabled him to be a leader both on and off campus, and as he prepares for a career in public relations, his experiences will translate into significant improvements in the community.

Aaron Eichelberger, Winthrop University
Aaron Eichelberger is an excellent example of our next generation’s public problem solvers and civic leaders. A Junior Economics major at Winthrop University, Aaron’s approach to addressing the root cause of social issues is through community empowerment and resource development. Following graduation, Aaron plans to pursue a Master’s Degree in Urban Development and a career in community capacity building. Aaron’s interest in Urban Development and community capacity building stems from his experiences volunteering in college. As a United Way volunteer, Aaron worked with TEAMS, a summer enrichment program designed to prepare at-risk fifth graders for middle school. This experience inspired Aaron to develop his own program, GENTS Academy. GENTS Academy pairs Winthrop male volunteers with at-risk middle school boys for mentorship and life skills education. As director of this successful program, Aaron works with local schools to identify participants (currently 17), collaborates with community partners for space and support, trains and manages volunteers, prepares curriculum, and works with parents. One of Aaron’s many strengths is his ability to educate others on social issues, empowering students to serve. Aaron provides valuable campus student leadership, and has taken on leadership roles with Alternative Spring Break, MLK Day of Service, and Residence Life.

Ari Lindenbaum, The University of South Carolina
Ari Lindenbaum, a junior in the Honor’s College at the University of South Carolina demonstrates a genuine commitment to community involvement and service. Through his servant leadership, Ari has shown that he possesses the initiative and passion necessary to address problems of homelessness and poverty. As a music major and president of Communities in Harmony, Ari has been “instrumental” in sharing his love of music with young people living in transitional housing in Columbia, SC. In his mentoring role, Ari teaches these young people the practical skill of combining instrumental music and lyrics and through music instruction. Ari also mentors these students in their musical journey and fosters their confidence. Ari’s leadership through research goes well beyond showing a slice of the issue; his passion in advocating for the marginalized population that he “studied” has become something that inspires others toward action. Through his leadership in Homelessness and Hunger Week at the University of South Carolina, Ari helped his peers understand the causes of the issue by giving the homeless their own voice and inviting them to share their stories in various venues across campus. He is a true advocate and clearly passionate about caring for those in greatest need.

Davina Najiah Frazier, University of South Carolina Beaufort
Davina Najiah Frazier, a senior at the University of South Carolina Beaufort. She has an impressive record of academic success, civic engagement and leadership. As a Human Service major, Davina has an impressive total of 600 hours of documented internship service. At the Jasper County Boys and Girls Club, she served in the South Carolina Campus Compact’s Healthy Families Project where she helped children improve their nutrition and wellness. She also developed and implement a program called Fit Fridays that include sports activities, dance classes and other exercise opportunities. Davina also became a certified IRS tax preparer and staffed USCB’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program. Davina’s commitment to civic service is further evidenced by her plan to join City Year in Columbia, SC next year. Davina is an exemplary student leader who makes a difference on the USCB campus and in the community. She lives up to her favorite Mark Twain quote: “Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.”