By Maricruz Lucera Cabrera
Odessa Kalathas ‘23, has been named a 2021-2022 Newman Civic Fellow. Kalathas is one of 212 students from 39 states, Washington, D.C., and Mexico who make up this year’s cohort.
The fellowship is offered by Campus Compact, a Boston-based organization aimed at educating college students to be active, engaged citizens that develop creative solutions to current issues affecting local, national, and international communities.
The Newman Civic Fellowship is awarded to students who have shown commitment to community service and problem-solving. Students who have demonstrated potential for leaderships can be nominated by their college president or chancellor.
Kalathas’s commitment to community and problem solving has not gone unnoticed. In her short time at Wilson, she has been a Peer Teacher, an Orientation Leader, held a WCGA officer role, participated in the Phoenix Leadership program, co-led
the Intervarsity Bible Study, and had the opportunity to serve on a hiring committee.
Her passion for serving others extends beyond our campus. Currently, she spends several hours a week at Joy El Camps and Retreats serving as a coordinator for an after-school program with students from James Buchanan Middle School. Kalathas plans on continuing in that line of work as her intended major is English with a Secondary Education certification.
President of Wilson College, Wesley R. Fugate, Ph.D, noted that “over the past two years, her focus both inside and outside of the classroom has been on social justice through constructive dialogue. This is evidenced through her service as a peer teacher in a first-year seminar centered on social justice issues during the fall and spring of her sophomore year, and as a counselor at a Christian camp, Camp Joy El, during the summer months.”
President Fugate also went on to note that Kalathas exemplifies the Wilson College Honor Principle by “demonstrating personal integrity, respecting the dignity of all persons, respecting diversity in people, ideas, and opinions, and demonstrating concern for others, their feelings and their needs for conditions which support their work and development.”
For Kalathas being community-minded is important because she believes that to have a strong and well-rounded community people need to be able and willing to help by “be[ing] part of the process.”
Through the fellowship, Kalathas will be able to receive training and resources that cultivate her passion for being of service to others, as well as give her the tools to develop strategies for promoting social change. Networking and learning opportunities are also an integral part of the fellowship. Kalathas will have the opportunity to network with students and leaders from all around the nation.
We asked Kalathas what advice she would give to students who might be unsure about stepping out of their comfort zone and this was her response: “My biggest advice to students who may be fearful to put themselves out there, is that growth happens only when we place ourselves outside of our comfort zone. Although new activities are always nerve racking, I have yet to regret trying something new. By putting myself out there, I have made lifelong friendships, met wise and impactful mentors, learned useful lessons, and made memories to last a lifetime.”