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Salem State Student Honored as Newman Civic Fellow

Brenna Kristiansen recognized for commitment to solving public problems

June 1, 2022

Campus Compact, a national coalition of colleges and universities working to advance the public purposes of higher education, has named 173 student civic leaders who will make up the organization’s 2022-2023 cohort of Newman Civic Fellows. Salem State University student Brenna Kristiansen, of Medford, will join students from 38 states, Washington, D.C., and Mexico to form the cohort. 

The Newman Civic Fellowship recognizes students who stand out for their commitment to creating positive change in communities locally and around the world. The fellowship is named for the late Frank Newman, one of Campus Compact’s founders, who was a tireless advocate for civic engagement in higher education. In the spirit of Dr. Newman’s leadership, fellows are nominated by Campus Compact member presidents and chancellors, who are invited to select one outstanding student from their campus each year. 

Kristiansen is a sophomore studying business and public policy and administration. Currently she serves as a part-time staff member at the Medford Recreation Department, and she is also actively involved with the Medford Youth Girls Softball Program as the head junior varsity softball coach for Medford High School. Kristiansen began her advocacy work as a freshman in high school when she worked on reimplementing a peer mediation justice program to help students resolve conflict. In her senior year, she took part in a local after-school program where she worked with city officials to raise wages for municipal employees. These experiences led Kristiansen to her dream internship in the office of Medford Mayor Breanna Lungo-Koehn.  

Through the fellowship, Campus Compact will provide these students with a year of learning and networking opportunities that emphasize personal, professional, and civic growth. Each year, fellows participate in numerous virtual training and networking opportunities to help provide them with the skills and connections they need to create large-scale positive change. The cornerstone of the fellowship is the Annual Convening of Fellows, which offers intensive skill-building and networking over the course of two days. The fellowship also provides fellows with pathways to apply for exclusive scholarship and post-graduate opportunities. 

“Brenna led a successful advocacy campaign at Salem State, which brought awareness to the Hunger Free Campus bill while showing her tremendous leadership skills and ability to engage her fellow students,” said Salem State President John D. Keenan. “She has made great contributions to our community and I look forward to her continued advocacy work on campus and beyond.” 

“My passion is making positive change in my communities. My friends know that twice a week I am unavailable as I am deeply invested in watching school committee and city council meetings to stay informed on local decision making. It has been my privilege to coach youth and high school softball and witness talented athletes reach their goals, develop confidence, and excel on the field. It is a great honor to currently intern with the Recreation Department and being able to work with youth of all abilities and learn from the department’s highly dedicated employees,” said Kristiansen. “As a 2020 graduate during the pandemic, my eyes were truly opened to the powerful strength of community. I will tirelessly advocate for developing a community that is inclusive, fair, welcoming and has opportunities for all in my hometown or on my college campus. “ 

“We are proud to name such an outstanding and diverse group of students Newman Civic Fellows,” said Campus Compact President Bobbie Laur. “Their passion and resolve to take action on the wide range of issues challenging our neighborhoods and communities is inspiring and deeply needed. We cannot wait to engage with them through this transformative experience.” 

The Newman Civic Fellowship program is supported by the KPMG Foundation. Learn more at You can read more about each of the student leaders selected for this year’s cohort at 


Nicole Giambusso
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