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Lasell University student named Newman Civic Fellow

March 15, 2021

Michael Woo, Lasell University Newman Civic Fellow 2021Michael Woo was named Lasell University’s first Newman Civic Fellow this month, and will join 212 students from 39 states, Washington D.C., and Mexico to form the 2021 cohort.

The Newman Civic Fellowship is a year-long program facilitated by Campus Compact, a Boston-based non-profit organization working to advance the public purposes of higher education. Newman Fellows are chosen for their demonstrated leadership on their campuses and commitment to finding solutions for challenges facing communities locally, nationally, and internationally.

On campus, Woo serves as the chair of Lasell Votes, President of the Class of 2023, and a member of the University’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion steering committee. In the community at-large, he is an active member of the Rotary Club of Newton and of the I AMesbury 2030 Task Force.

“I’m able to connect with so many people through my service to local communities,” said Woo. “I stay true to Rotary’s philosophy of ‘Service Above Self.'”

Through the fellowship, Campus Compact provides Fellows with a variety 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 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.

Michael Woo at the Newton Rotary Club
Woo being recognized at the Newton Rotary Club

The fellowship is named for the late Frank Newman, one of Campus Compact’s founders, who was a tireless advocate for civic engagement in higher education. In the spirit of Dr. Newman’s leadership, Campus Compact member presidents and chancellors nominate student leaders from their campuses to be named Newman Civic Fellows.

“Michael Woo has vision, drive, and unlimited potential for positive impact,” said Lasell University President Michael B. Alexander in his nomination letter. “He is the first to say, ‘Yes, how can we make this happen?’ and is willing to get out front to get it done. His ability to collaborate, organize, and engage with others is a great embodiment of the spirit of engaged citizenship.”

Woo was among three Lasell student nominees for the Fellowship. Kemley Joseph ’23 and Courtney Sobolewski ’22 were recognized in their nominations for their campus and community involvement.

Kemley Joseph at the Goddard School“Kemley has the potential to accomplish strong public service and to make significant contributions towards advancing community-focused priorities and goals,” said Director of Student Activities & Orientation Jennifer Granger-Sullivan.

Joseph’s community engagement has included community cleanup efforts in Mattapan, MA, where she also assisted individuals experiencing homelessness with finding places to sleep. She has continued her community involvement during the pandemic, serving as an assistant teacher at the Goddard School in Watertown, MA. At Lasell, she is a member of the Student Government Association (SGA), Student Alumni Association (SAA), and President of the Long-Distance Lasers, a club for commuter students. She uses her leadership as a platform to elevate student concerns.

Sobolewski, an advocate for young leaders, has volunteered with organizations that focus on creating safe spaces and judgement-free environments for individuals with differing abilities. She has served as a volunteer basketball coach for Special Olympics in New Hampshire, was a major fundraiser for the Ulman Foundation 4k for Cancer 2020, and has facilitated leadership workshops for teens at her local YMCA. At Lasell, she is a member of the Student Alumni Association (SAA), Health Professions Club, and a Varsity Athlete. She focuses her leadership efforts on dismantling social stigmas and demonstrating the power of creating meaningful connections.

“Courtney is a shining example of a scholar who deeply cares about and regularly engages in civic service,” said Professor Marisa Hastie.

Courtney Sobolewski working with young leadersSobolewski working with children at Camp Lincoln

Lasell’s Center for Community-Based Learning (CCBL) will continue to work with Joseph and Sobolewski in the coming year to advance their civic engagement leadership, and will support Woo throughout his fellowship experience.

Learn more about Campus Compact and the Newman Civic Fellowship.