KALAMAZOO, Mich.—In April, a triple major from Western Michigan University who has devoted countless hours to community engagement and service was named a 2017 Newman Civic Fellow and in May, she was named a Leadership and the American Presidency scholarship winner.
Senior Alexis Lenderman, of Oxford, is one of 273 students who were selected as fellows from higher education institutions in 39 states and Washington, D.C., that are members of Campus Compact. Presidents and chancellors of the compact's member institutions annually nominate one community-committed student from their schools for the one-year Newman fellowship. Nominees are individuals who have demonstrated an investment in finding solutions for challenges facing communities throughout the country and abroad.
Lenderman is one of only five 2017 fellows to also receive a scholarship from the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute's fall 2017 Leadership and the American Presidency program. The program is designed to develop the next generation of citizen leaders and selects its scholarship winners from Newman Civic Fellows for their demonstrated commitment to public service and civic engagement.
Lenderman is majoring in entrepreneurship, food service administration and global international studies and minoring in nonprofit leadership. She has been a part of 10 different student organizations, all of which are centered on using business or entrepreneurship to bring about positive change.
"Alexis Lenderman...is a committed student regularly engaging in anything that gives her the opportunity to bring about equality for all people," WMU President John M. Dunn wrote in nominating her for the fellowship. "She is regularly advocating for change by joining in on events and/or creating her own. Alexis is constantly thinking of ways to change the world around her, and she is quick to act on many of them."
A former foster-care youth, Lenderman received a scholarship from WMU's Seita Scholars Program, which goes to students at the University who have experienced foster care in their teen years. And she subsequently has worked closely with the program to bring awareness and help to other foster-care youth.
"As a first-generation college student who aged out of the foster care system, I have seen the power of advocacy on behalf of marginalized populations firsthand," Lenderman wrote in a personal statement associated with the fellowship. "I spent years feeling as if I did not have a voice, so I am determined to use my voice to address social issues affecting those that have also felt unheard."
Understanding that social change does not happen alone, she has initiated several campus projects and activities to assist or better inform her fellow students. In addition, she routinely takes advantage of opportunities to support positive social change, such as by attending Black Lives Matter teach-ins, advocacy summits and Model United Nations conferences.
"I am also passionate about worldwide change. I have studied abroad five different times, and I serve as a [WMU] Study Abroad alumni ambassador to make others aware of the opportunity," Lenderman wrote. "Through this experience, I realized that finances can present a barrier to students receiving the best education they can. As a result, I created a business called The Scholarship Expert, where I assist students in accessing needed funds."
To learn more about Lenderman, visit compact.org/newman-civic-fellow.
Newman Civic Fellowship
Campus Compact is a national coalition of more than 1,000 colleges and universities. The organization advances the public purposes of its members by deepening their ability to improve community life and to educate students for civic and social responsibility. Its Newman Civic Fellowship provides a variety of learning and networking opportunities to students as well as pathways to exclusive scholarship and postgraduate opportunities.
Leadership and the American Presidency program
The Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to the promotion of individual liberty, economic opportunity, global democracy, and national pride. It sustains the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum, the Center for Public Affairs, the Presidential Learning Center and The Air Force One Pavilion.
That organization's Leadership and the American Presidency program provides an accredited course grounded in real history where students critically examine the leadership journeys of presidents in relation to their own lives. Students hear from leaders in the fields of business, government and the nonprofit sectors, learning lessons on leadership while simultaneously applying all of their skills in the real world in an internship setting and in authentic course assignments.
For more WMU news, arts and events, visit wmich.edu/news.