Nifemi Olugbemiga ’20 honored as Newman Civic Fellow
Nifemi Olugbemiga ’20, a psychology and Africana studies double major and Posse scholar from Chicago, Illinois, has been named a 2019 Newman Civic Fellow by Campus Compact, a Boston-based, non-profit organization working to advance the public purposes of higher education.
The Newman Civic Fellowship, named for Campus Compact co-founder Frank Newman, is a one-year experience emphasizing personal, professional and civic growth for students who have demonstrated a capacity for leadership and an investment in solving public problems. Through the fellowship, Campus Compact provides a variety of learning and networking opportunities, including a national conference of Newman Civic Fellows in partnership with the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate. The fellowship also provides fellows with access to apply for exclusive scholarship and post-graduate opportunities.
Olugbemiga is a student leader and activist for racial justice and racial healing who exemplifies the old African philosophy of Ubuntu,“I am because we are.”
“This belief embraces the fact that humans cannot exist in isolation. This philosophy is the foundation of my commitment to self- and collective-care, activism and artistic expression as ways of promoting mental health and engaging in resistance for young people like me who face discrimination due to different aspects of their identity,” she said.
At Conn, Olugbemiga is a leader in Umoja, the black student union, and in the Center for the Critical Study of Race and Ethnicity. She created an inclusive program, "Volume," which provides space for students of color and underrepresented students to express their own narratives through various art forms in an annual performance. She is a State of Connecticut Domestic Violence Crisis Counselor with Safe Futures in New London, has served as an academic tutor on and off campus, and has helped support the creation of a Latinx mental health alliance. As a scholar, she is researching the experience of race-based trauma in young adults of color and plans to complete an honors thesis on racial identity development and mental health.
“She is the very definition of engaged scholar,” President Katherine Bergeron said of Olugbemiga.
“This remarkable young woman is a powerhouse: a change-maker; an engaged citizen; and a person who we all believe will have significant public impact in the future.”
As a 2019 fellow, Olugbemiga joins a group of extraordinary student leaders, Campus Compact President Andrew Seligsohn said.
“The stories of this year’s Newman Civic Fellows make clear that they are committed to finding solutions to pressing problems in their communities and beyond. That is what Campus Compact is about, and it's what our country and our world desperately need.”