Miami Dade College (MDC) student Kenmel Guzman has been named a Campus Compact 2020-21 Newman Civic Fellow, a prestigious national distinction that recognizes and supports community-committed students who have demonstrated an investment in finding solutions for challenges facing communities locally, nationally, and internationally.
Campus Compact is a Boston-based nonprofit working to advance the public purposes of higher education.
Guzman is a second-year Political Science and Government student who has overcome significant adversity. His path to success started in 2010, at 10-years-old, when he fled his native Honduras where he grew up surrounded by violence and poverty. Making a treacherous 3,000-mile journey through Guatemala and Mexico alone to be reunited with his mother in the United States, he turned fear into impetus to keep him going and a source of inspiration to help others.
At MDC, where he has served as the Student Government Association president of the Wolfson Campus, he has dedicated himself to social advocacy and to create a more inclusive and collaborative environment. As such, he leads college-wide initiatives like BeKind21, a campaign to encourage kindness and connection in partnership with the Born This Way Foundation.
He is an advocate for immigration reform and has been the recipient of the President’s Volunteer Service Award in recognition of hundreds of hours dedicated to the campus and the community, which include leading relief efforts for the Bahamas after Hurricane Dorian and helping manage an on-campus food pantry. He is also a Point Scholar, a prestigious award for LGBTQ leaders transitioning from community college to four-year universities.
After he completes his degree at MDC, Guzman aspires to become an immigration rights attorney and maybe even run for office to better serve the immigrant and LGBTQ communities, which he proudly represents. He wants to inspire others to follow their dreams no matter what hardships life may have in store.
“Kenmel is a shining example of our student body, overcoming adversity and barriers to be both a scholar and engaged citizen,” said Dr. Rolando Montoya, MDC’s interim president.
“He has made service and civic leadership his passion. There is no doubt that his is a lifelong commitment to building a better world for all,”
The Newman Civic Fellowship, named for Campus Compact co-founder, the late 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 the students with a variety of learning and networking opportunities that emphasize personal, professional, and civic growth.
Each year, Fellows are invited to a national, in-person conference of Newman Civic Fellows and participate in numerous virtual training and networking opportunities. The fellowship also provides fellows with pathways to apply for exclusive scholarship and post-graduate opportunities.
“We are proud to recognize each of these extraordinary student leaders and thrilled to have the opportunity to engage with them,” added Campus Compact president Andrew Seligsohn. “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.”
The Newman Civic Fellowship is supported by the KPMG Foundation and Newman’s Own Foundation.
For a complete list of the 2020-2021 Newman Civic Fellows, visit https://compact.org/newman-civic-fellowship/2020-2021-newman-civic-fellows/.