Barry University student leader Paola Montenegro has been named a Newman Civic Fellow by Campus Compact. She is one of 273 community-committed college students receiving national recognition by being awarded the one-year fellowship.
A junior majoring in political science, Montenegro is originally from Maracaibo, Venezuela. She has been engaged in addressing social issues such as environmental sustainability and human rights and has contributed to the development of university partnerships with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, Church World Service, EcoTech Visions, and Urban GreenWorks.
Montenegro also helped to launch Barry FairShare, a community-supported agriculture project, as an outgrowth of the partnership with Urban GreenWorks. The project supports food-access programs in Liberty City, one of Miami’s economically disadvantaged neighborhoods.
As a Barry Service Corps Fellow, Montenegro participates in a civic learning and leadership initiative designed to foster civic-mindedness and to prepare students for future roles as agents of positive social change. She also serves on the executive board of Barry's Alternative Breaks student organization and has facilitated service trips to communities in Florida, Louisiana, and Texas as well as to Port-de-Paix, Haiti.
“Paola’s leadership of human rights campaigns has invigorated social justice-focused engagement among Barry students,” said University President Sister Linda Bevilacqua, OP, PhD. “After participating in a Coalition of Immokalee Workers training session on Community Organizing, Paola helped to recruit and coordinate the participation of more than 300 students in several peaceful demonstrations to advocate for farmworkers’ rights.”
In 2016, while attending an international conference in Washington, D.C., Montenegro was among a select group of student leaders who lobbied lawmakers to support programs aimed at ending extreme poverty and preventable diseases, particularly in Africa.
Montenegro is a 2017 winner of the Community Impact Award, presented by Barry’s Center for Community Service Initiatives. The university president nominated her for Campus Compact’s Newman Civic Fellowship on the recommendation of the CCSI.
In 2016, Montenegro was among a select group of student leaders who lobbied lawmakers on Capitol Hill to support programs aimed at ending extreme poverty and preventable diseases, particularly in Africa.
“My involvement in civic engagement programs at Barry has influenced me to become a more conscious global citizen and to take action to help build a more just world,” Montenegro said.
Campus Compact is a national coalition of approximately 1,000 colleges and universities committed to the public purposes of higher education. The fellowship honors the late Frank Newman, one of Campus Compact’s founders, described as “a tireless advocate for civic engagement in higher education.”
The fellowship experience will emphasize personal, professional, and civic growth, Campus Compact said in a statement. Through the fellowship, the organization will provide a variety of learning and networking opportunities for the Newman Civic Fellows. These include a national conference offered in partnership with the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate.