PARKERSBURG - Brittany Johnk, a junior English literature and sociology major and education and honors minor from Parkersburg, was named a 2013 Newman Civic Fellow by Campus Compact. Newman Civic Fellows are recommended by college and university presidents to acknowledge motivation and ability in public leadership. Johnk is committed to education and social justice issues locally, nationally, and internationally. As a W.E. L.E.A.D. peer council member through the Center for Community Engagement & Leadership Development, Johnk has coordinated projects resulting in more than 3,000 non-perishable items being collected for local food pantries, as well as raising awareness of food insecurity both in Upshur County and abroad by leading a hunger banquet with more than 100 student attendees in her sophomore year.
"During my time at Wesleyan, I have gained a deeper understanding of service, leadership, and myself," stated Johnk. "My involvement with the CCE provides me with opportunities to address social issues while developing leadership skills and gaining valuable experiences. I am honored to be selected as a Newman Civic Fellow, and I know I would not have received this award were it not for the growth and knowledge I have experienced through my campus involvement. The faculty and staff have supported me in my efforts to strive for social justice as well as in my personal development. I am grateful for their commitment to my education, my efforts, and me as an individual."
When Johnk learned of the local high school dropout rate, she decided to take action by beginning a mentoring program at the middle school entitled D.O. I.T., Decisions and Opportunities Impact Tomorrow. She built a relationship with the administration at the middle school, recruited and trained college mentors, and reached out to parents of identified 'at-risk' youth.
"Brittany is an exceptional student leader who has combined her passion for helping others and leadership skills to great outcomes in the community," Katie Loudin, coordinator of outreach and leadership development, said. "I know Brittany will lead an extraordinary life as a force for positive social change, transforming the lives of all who know her."
Johnk is a student coordinator of W.E. L.E.A.D., a member of the Wesleyan Service Scholars program, and has held several key positions in her sorority, Alpha Gamma Delta. She volunteered at Buckhannon Academy Elementary School through their afterschool program, Project I.S.A.A.C., as a Wesleyan Service Scholar her freshman year. After joining W.E. L.E.A.D. in her sophomore year and growing her leadership skills, she has become a remarkable young change agent in her junior year. She is someone who lives Wesleyan's mission to "demonstrate local and world citizenship through service."