2022 2022: Political Science student honored as Newman Civic Fellow
Political Science student honored as Newman Civic Fellow

Zoi Burns recognized for commitment to solving public problems

Zoi Burns headshot

Campus Compact, a national coalition of colleges and universities working to advance the public purposes of higher education, has named 173 student civic leaders who will make up the organization’s 2022-2023 cohort of Newman Civic Fellows. Zoi Burns, a sophomore majoring in political science and minoring in leadership and civic engagement, and urban studies at UMass Dartmouth, will join students from 38 states, Washington, D.C., and Mexico.

The Newman Civic Fellowship recognizes students who stand out for their commitment to creating positive change in communities locally and worldwide. 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, fellows are nominated by Campus Compact member presidents and chancellors, who are invited to select one outstanding student from their campus each year.

As a student in her second year, Zoi has distinguished herself as a leader and a scholar. She has a GPA of 3.9 and currently serves as a Peer Mentor for the College of Arts & Science, is a Student Representative in UMass Dartmouth’s ‘Black History 4 Seasons’ Council, a Student Representative in UMass Dartmouth’s Police Oversight Committee, Chair of UMass Dartmouth Diversity, Social Justice & Inclusion Committee, and Senator of the UMass Dartmouth Class of 2024. Last year Zoi served as a grassroots organizer and leader with the UMass Dartmouth Voter Coalition, helping to increase the UMass Dartmouth student voting rate in the General Election.

“I have always wanted to live a life that involved serving and helping others through leadership, even when I did not expect it from myself, and I have taken many steps to grow personally to use these skills for social movements and initiatives currently, and in the future,” said Zoi Burns. “On campus, as a Senate for my class of 2024 and the chair of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Student Government Committee, I am a student leader that focuses on equity, inclusion, and student engagement. I have also taken part in the Vote Coalition, encouraging students to register to vote, our Center for Women, Gender, and Sexuality, and many positions with a focus on improving the inclusive atmosphere of our community.”

Campus Compact will provide these students with a year of learning and networking opportunities that emphasize personal, professional, and civic growth through the fellowship. Each year, fellows participate in numerous virtual training and networking opportunities to help them with the skills and connections they need to create large-scale positive change.

“Zoi has distinguished herself as an activist, leader, and scholar. She is an advocate for diversity, equity, and inclusion and serves on numerous committees from the chair of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Student Government Committee to leading the Voter Coalition that increased student voting rates,” said UMass Dartmouth Chancellor Mark A. Fuller. “She understands the power of her voice and utilizes it to make a difference on campus and in the community. We look forward to what the future holds for Zoi as she continues to inspire others through her servant leadership.”

The cornerstone of the fellowship is the Annual Convening of Fellows, which offers intensive skill-building and networking over two days. The fellowship also provides fellows with pathways to apply for exclusive scholarship and post-graduate opportunities.

“I look forward to using my knowledge to work for and within less fortunate communities in the future. The attributes I gain from my studies and experience working within diverse communities will propel me into the path of social activism and leadership that is meant for me,” said Burns.