Newman Civic Fellows

The Newman Civic Fellows Award honors inspiring college student leaders who have demonstrated an investment in finding solutions for challenges facing communities throughout the country. Through service, research, and advocacy, Newman Civic Fellows are making the most of their college experiences to better understand themselves, the root causes of social issues, and effective mechanisms for creating lasting change. These students represent the next generation of public problem solvers and civic leaders. They serve as national examples of the role that higher education can—and does—play in building a better world.

Newman Civic Fellow 2023-2024

Sanya Dhama, PZ’ 24
Human Biology

Sanya Dhama, a second year in Pitzer College’s BA/DO Medical Program, is a leader driven by her passion for health equity with a commitment to her community. She engages in dialogue with local health organizations, inquiring about the needs of populations to inform medical practices. However, during clinics and presentations to the community, she found a bombardment of information on prevention against illness and issues that was matched by a disproportionately small amount of support for people to advocate for themselves in such incidents. She worked to draft, pitch, mobilize, and ultimately pass AB-2683 to increase localized training and resources for survivors of incidences of sexual violence and sexual harassment (SVSH) on college campuses. She went on to lead marches and open public forums regarding violence against women and girls with LA’s UN Women chapter. On campus, she presented on SVSH as a public health concern during a health symposium and is currently collaborating with the Title IX office and students to bring forth disability, LGBTQ+, and racial/ethnic minority inclusive resources. She is working to develop and pilot a high school health curriculum addendum focused on vaccinations to further empower students to make informed decisions and pursue wellbeing.

Newman Civic Fellow 2021-2022

Malaya Caligtan-Tran, PZ’22
Community Health and Indigenous Studies

Malaya Caligtan-Tran, a third year student at Pitzer College, is a student leader with a wide range of experience with non-profit organizations, labor organizing and leadership. Malaya has worked on creating change and awareness about issues through being a part of CAPAS, Robert Redford Conservancy, Writing Center fellow, and IPMP. During her first year at Pitzer, she co-organized a series of informational posters with the Indigenous Peer Mentoring Program (IPMP) to bring awareness to Native Hawaiian Independence Day. As active in IPMP as a person whose maternal ancestry is from the Kankana-ey Igorot, an indigenous group of the Philippines. Currently Malaya has been working to build more programs for Indigenous students with efforts to establish an Indigenous Studies

Newman Civic Fellow 2020-2021

Melanie Andrea, PZ’22
Chicano/a Latino/a Studies and Sociology

Melanie Andreo is a second year student at Pitzer College, and local organizer from Pomona, California. Melanie organizes with local youth to bring resources to schools in the area and the community. She is currently working with community members on providing stable housing, education and protection for undocumented families.

Newman Civic Fellow 2019-2020

Hannah Zuckerberg, PZ’20
Organizational Studies

Hannah Zuckerberg’s commitment to create arable more inclusive Pitzer community where people from very different backgrounds and perspectives can engage in critical, healthy, and pluralistic dialog with one another is one of the many things that makes Hannah deserving of the Newman Civic Fellow title.  Hannah’s dialogic leadership style and determination to bridge communities together through her advocacy work at Pitzer and within her community, Hannah continues to be an inspiration to students at the College. Her intentionally dialogic approach to community building comes out in the weekly dinners that she organizes with students; in the way that she restructured management practices at The Shakedown, the student-run food coop at the college; and in her ongoing planning for a campus-wide student activist conference that she is organizing with our Native Program. Her experience leading and organizing has taught her that the way to change culture is to bring people into a meaningful and lasting community with one another.

Newman Civic Fellow 2018-2019

Laila Alvarez, PZ’18
Human Biology

Laila Alvarez’s dedication and commitment towards her advocacy work on immigrant rights began in high school, where a large number of her community was undocumented. It was during that time that she developed a better understanding of the complexities of social inequality and the need to advocate for immigrant rights and policy reform.  During her time as a student her, dedication towards advocacy work and her participation in working with grassroots organizations and Pitzer have made an immense impact for those communities.  Her work with Encuentros; a Pitzer club designed to facilitate and forge conversation and relationships between local workers , community members and college students, her work on the Sanctuary Working Group Committee and as a First Generation Program Intern builds relationship and support between various communities. Pitzer College is grateful for Laila’s contributions and continuing advocacy work towards immigrant rights and policy reform. We consider her an example to students seeking to create change.

Applications for the Newman Civic Fellowship are open beginning each fall semester. To apply check out our Award and Fellowships page. For more information about the Newman Civic Fellowship, please visit :