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Spelman College Student Honored as Newman Civic Fellow Share a Spelman College Press Release

ATLANTA (May 2, 2023) — Spelman College student, Naya Welcher, C’2025, was recently selected as one of 154 student civic leaders chosen for the 2023 cohort of Newman Civic Fellows. The Newman Civic Fellowship recognizes students who stand out for their commitment to creating positive change in communities locally and around the world. It is a year-long program that recognizes and supports student public problem solvers at Campus Compact member institutions.

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.

Welcher’s area of focus lies within the relationship between incarceration and economic and financial status, as a cause and outcome of the disproportionate imprisonment of Black people. 

“I first became involved in addressing issues of economic inequality after I toured my county’s jail as high school junior,” said Welcher. “I started volunteering with organizations that provided food and clothing to families in need. I examined the connection between income, access to capital, and life outcomes. I learned that residents of low-income communities had access to fewer resources, like quality grocery stores and college scholarships. Distributing clothing and food was helpful, but I wanted people to not need this kind of help.”

For two years now, Welcher has worked to address social issues that reflect long-term racial disparities requiring a multi-prong approach and solutions. Welcher, a mathematics and pre-law major, utilizes her studies to make an even deeper impact in the community around her. She is currently collaborating with student organizations in the Atlanta University Center (AUC) to host workshops on work culture and financial literacy, in addition to providing financial literacy workshops to seventh graders at a local middle school.

Through the fellowship, Campus Compact will provide students with a year of virtual and in-person learning and networking opportunities that emphasize personal, professional, and civic growth. The fellowship also provides fellows with pathways to apply for exclusive scholarship and post-graduate opportunities.

Media Contact:
Lydia Sermons, 470.898.6451,


About Spelman College
Founded in 1881, Spelman College is a leading liberal arts college widely recognized as the global leader in the education of women of African descent. Located in Atlanta, the College’s picturesque campus is home to 2,100 students. Spelman is the country's leading producer of Black women who complete Ph.D.s in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). The College’s status is confirmed by the U.S. News & World Report, which ranked Spelman No. 51 among all liberal arts colleges, No. 19 for undergraduate teaching, No. 5 for social mobility among liberal arts colleges, and No. 1 for the 16th year among historically Black colleges and universities. The Wall Street Journal has ranked the College No. 3, nationally, in terms of student satisfaction. Recent initiatives include a designation by the Department of Defense as a Center of Excellence for Minority Women in STEM, a Gender and Sexuality Studies Institute, the first endowed queer studies chair at an HBCU, and a program to increase the number of Black women Ph.D.s in economics. New majors have been added, including documentary filmmaking and photography, and collaborations have been established with MIT’s Media Lab, the Broad Institute and the Army Research Lab for artificial intelligence and machine learning.


Outstanding alumnae include Children’s Defense Fund founder Marian Wright Edelman, Walgreens Boots Alliance CEO Rosalind Brewer, political leader Stacey Abrams, former Acting Surgeon General and Spelman’s first alumna president Audrey Forbes Manley, actress and producer Latanya Richardson Jackson, global bioinformatics geneticist Janina Jeff and authors Pearl Cleage and Tayari Jones.

To learn more, please visit and @spelmancollege on social media.


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