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Mariam Muhammad ’24 Named Newman Civic Fellow

Person in red coat stands in front of green bushes

Mariam Muhammad ’24 has received a Newman Civic Fellowship, in recognition of her service to and engagement with the College community and beyond.

The fellowship recognizes and supports community-committed students who are changemakers and public problem-solvers at Campus Compact member institutions. Muhammad joins 172 other student civic leaders from across the U.S. and Mexico in this year’s fellowship cohort.

“I'm really hopeful to learn more about how my peers have engaged in work for social good, and how they have approached some of the challenges I have faced in the past when contemplating working in my community,” says Muhammad, a peace & conflict studies and English literature major from Pakistan.

“I'm also excited about getting to know people from other institutions,” she adds. “I think that will be by far the most rewarding part of the fellowship.”

Fellows receive training and resources that nurture their talents and passions and help them to develop strategies for social change. The program includes opportunities for virtual learning and national networking as well as an optional in-person gathering.

In nominating Muhammad for the award, Swarthmore President Valerie Smith cited her “abiding commitment to education and social justice and exceptional leadership promise.”

Muhammad’s service to the College community include her roles as a Lang Center for Civic and Social Responsibility associate, an international student orientation leader, a contributing editor of The Swarthmore Review, and a Center for Innovation and Leadership (CIL) leadership fellow.

As Chester Community Fellow last summer, Muhammad supported musical and administrative tasks of the Chester Children’s Chorus (CCC), in addition to tutoring math at various grade levels — something she continued to do through the academic year.

“I view Mariam as a key player in the next generation of public problem solvers and civic leaders — able to apply knowledge to needs with curiosity, compassion, and thoughtful leadership," Smith wrote in her nominating letter.

Muhammad traces her zeal for community service back to high school, for whose TED-Ed club she mentored 15 students on public speaking, authenticity, and storytelling. 

“That experience was really the foundation on which all else was built,” she said.

Muhammad built on that experience as a Lang Center associate in her first year at Swarthmore, where she relished opportunities for Engaged Scholarship. With the Newman Civic Fellowship, she is eager to explore new dimensions of social and civic responsibility.

“I really want to empower people of all ages, but especially young people, to reach their highest and most authentic selves, whether through education reform, mental health support, criminal justice work, or otherwise,” Muhammad says. “I want to use the learning opportunities that the fellowship offers to explore different avenues of doing this work.”

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