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Drew University Junior Receives Fellowship for Civic Engagement

“It makes me feel like my work is being seen and appreciated,” said Chekwube Okunowo C’24

April 2023 – Drew University student Chekwube Okunowo C’24 was recently awarded a 2023-24 Campus Compact Newman Civic Fellowship.

The one-year fellowship provides Okunowo the opportunity to network and problem solve with students from across the United States who share a passion for civic engagement. She was one of 154 students selected.

Okunowo will participate in professional development training, leadership development mentoring, present and publish her work, and have scholarship and career advancement opportunities.

“Receiving this honor definitely feels extremely rewarding!” said Okunowo, an Action Scholar, Chair of the Student Government Racial Justice Committee, and former Chief of Staff of Student Government.

“It makes me feel like my work is being seen and appreciated. Across the board with the organizations and initiatives I’m a part of, I seek to contribute meaningfully to my society and I am fortunate to be a part of this cohort of like-minded individuals. I can’t wait to connect with other students, learn how they carry out their own civic engagement, and learn from mentors to contribute to my community more effectively.”

In addition to her roles on campus, Okunowo also works with the Writing Wrongs advocacy journalism program and founded the HastagDearYouth Movement in Nigeria.

She pointed to her collaboration with Drew’s Jonathan Golden, director of the Center on Religion, Culture & Conflict (CRCC); Sean Hewitt, assistant director of Civic Engagement; Monica Madera, coordinator of Drew’s Diversity Program; and Susan Rosenbloom, associate professor of sociology and Civic Engagement, as having helped her achieve this recognition.

“They have been incredibly helpful in providing me support and guidance whenever I encountered obstacles in my advocacy. From proofreading letters and proposals to giving me advice and making meaningful connections, they have made me feel supported and aided my professional development.”

After Drew, the international relations major and economics and law, justice, and society double minor plans on pursuing a masters degree in foreign affairs and eventually working for a think tank or international organization that addresses inequality.

“Because of the courses I’ve taken and those I’ll take in my final year at Drew, I am confident in my ability to tackle post-graduation situations. My experiences have broadened my knowledge and comprehension of inequality and equipped me with the skills required to navigate advocacy situations.”

Through the Newman Civic Fellowship, Okunowo will have one more impactful experience to help her navigate the road ahead.

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