Brandy Vargas ’20 has been awarded a Campus Compact Newman Civic Fellowship for 2018. This prestigious honor is given to students who work to find solutions for challenges facing their community. The fellowship, named for Campus Compact founder Frank Newman, provides training and resources that nurture students’ assets and passions and help them develop strategies to achieve social change.
A double major in American studies and Educational studies with a concentration in leadership and organizational studies, Vargas serves the Geneva community through her work as a direct support professional at Lochland School, where she assists residents with intellectual and developmental disabilities and promotes the integration of residents into the Geneva community. She has served as a student tutor with the America Reads program, helping second graders with reading and comprehension, and was a peer counselor in Los Angeles, advising high school juniors and seniors on preparing for higher education.
President Gregory J. Vincent ’83 notes Vargas’ commitment to social justice and her ability to reach out beyond campus. “I’ve been especially impressed with her ability to acclimate to our upstate N.Y. campus and extended community,” Vincent says. “In less than four semesters, she has demonstrated intentionality and a remarkable ability to integrate both campus and Geneva with her studies and co-curricular interests.”
Vargas is also a research assistant for Associate Professor of American Studies Elizabeth Belanger. In her role, Vargas collaborates with Belanger to design a curriculum for Geneva city schools that incorporates local history and ethnic studies into the classroom. “Brandy has impressed me not only with her scholarship but with her commitment to social justice,” says Belanger. “In her work for my traditional classes, Brandy has proven to be an adept student, going above and beyond the work called for in every assignment. However, it is her work in my service learning courses that really sets her apart from other students. The diligence, creativity, and maturity with which Brandy approaches her work with community partners fosters authentic, reciprocal relationships between the colleges and the city. She is an asset to both.”
“Being awarded the Newman Civic Fellowship is an extraordinary opportunity that recognizes one’s collaboration with and contribution to communities across the nation,” Vargas says. “The Newman Civic Fellowship serves as a gateway to expand my network of support, communicate with my mentor for the exchange of ideas, and grow socially and academically while continuing my work of civic engagement.”
Vargas is a Posse Foundation scholar, a TELACU College Success Program scholar, and a resident assistant.