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Sophomore social work major Michelle Baptista named Newman Civic Fellow for 2016

Michelle Baptista of Pawtucket, a sophomore social work major at Salve Regina University, has been named a Newman Civic Fellow for 2016 by Campus Compact, a coalition of 1,100 colleges and universities committed to civic engagement. Baptista was chosen as a result of her community-involved leadership and ability to make substantial contributions toward public problem solving.

At Salve Regina, Baptista serves as a mentor in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program, and as a Service Advocate, she has committed to completing 100 hours of service at Child and Family Services by the end of her sophomore year. Since enrolling at Salve Regina, she has completed many hours of service throughout Aquidneck Island, including volunteering at Fort Adams, Trinity Church and the McKinney Shelter.

While a student in Pawtucket, Baptista volunteered for two months of the summer in the primary care center of Memorial Hospital. She also spent many hours volunteering in her local library, the local soup kitchen and her church. She said she became interested in community service as a result of living in a strong, diverse and close-knit community.

“After so many years, community service has just become such a regular part of my life that it really doesn’t even feel like service,” Baptista said. “When it comes down to it, the reason I commit myself to serving my community is because I would like to think that I can make a change in the community around me and even if it is only one person, that feeling in itself is so worth it.”

Baptista, a biology minor, hopes to pursue a career in either health care, social work or child and family welfare.

Newman Civic Fellows are recommended for the award by college and university presidents to acknowledge motivation and ability in public leadership. The awards are made in memory of Frank Newman, who dedicated his life to creating systemic change through education reform.