BGSU student honored as Newman Civic Fellow for commitment to creating positive change

BOWLING GREEN, Ohio – A Bowling Green State University Honors College student and Obama-Chesky scholar has been named a Newman Civic Fellow by Campus Compact. The fellowship recognizes students who stand out for their commitment to creating positive change in communities locally and around the world.

Senior Kaylee Ries is one of 154 student civic leaders who will make up the organization’s 2023-24 cohort of Newman Civic Fellows. Ries will join students from 38 states, Washington, D.C., and Mexico to form the cohort. Ries is the third BGSU student since 2021 to be selected for the prestigious fellowship.

“I am motivated by empathy and equity. I have led a life of struggles through poverty, substance abuse, and am a childhood trauma survivor. These parts of my identity are what make me strong and motivated toward enacting change in the world around me,” Ries said in her personal statement as a Newman Civic Fellow.

The Newman Civic Fellowship is named for the late Dr. Frank Newman, one of Campus Compact’s founders, who was a tireless advocate for civic engagement in higher education. In the spirit of Newman’s leadership, fellows are nominated by Campus Compact member presidents and chancellors, who are invited to select one outstanding student from their campus each year. Campus Compact is a national coalition of colleges and universities working to advance the public purposes of higher education.

Hailed for her advocacy work aiding sexual and domestic violence survivors as well as serving as a crisis counselor and peer advisor at BGSU, Ries is a first-generation college student who plans to pursue a doctorate in clinical psychology and is deeply passionate about helping others. She also is a Thompson Working Families Scholar and McNair Scholar. Ries participated in the BGSU College Credit Plus Program as a student at Edison High School in Milan, Ohio.

In addition to the Newman Civic Fellowship, Ries has been recognized for her advocacy and public service both in Bowling Green and nationwide. In 2022, she was selected as one of only 100 college students across America - and one of only three in Ohio - to receive the inaugural Obama-Chesky Voyager Scholarship for Public Service.

Through the Newman Civic Fellowship, Campus Compact will provide these students with a year of learning and networking opportunities that emphasize personal, professional and civic growth. Each year, fellows participate in numerous virtual training and networking opportunities to help provide them with the skills and connections they need to create large-scale positive change. The cornerstone of the fellowship is the Annual Convening of Fellows, which offers intensive in-person 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.

Kaylee is a psychology major with a minor in neuroscience and human development and family studies, reflecting her desire to serve a high-need population, while also developing knowledge around critical social issues.

"Kaylee absolutely exemplifies public good through her leadership and service," said BGSU President Rodney K. Rogers. "She is driven to create change in community-based settings that impact the lived experiences of those most at risk and we look forward to all the ways this opportunity will allow her to further broaden her knowledge and skills."

“We are honored to recognize such an outstanding group of community-committed students,” said Campus Compact President Bobbie Laur. “One of the best parts of the Newman Civic Fellowships is the richness of students’ perspectives, experiences and backgrounds — and how these varied stories all led to their passionate engagement with the social, political and environmental issues impacting our world. These students will be the catalysts for change on many levels, and we are privileged to help empower them to create that change.”

Ries aims to tap into her passion for people and work with her Newman Civic Fellows cohort to create change and foster a world in which survivors can thrive.

“Alongside others, I hope to continue to make steps to create a world in which people are able to overcome disadvantages to achieve and thrive. I hope to become the first in my family to receive an education to continue to advocate for survivors like me,” Ries said. “In order to create the best world around me, I cannot work alone. Change takes power found within people, together, creating ideas that are not restricted to a single viewpoint.”

Updated: 05/22/2023 11:05AM