GREAT FALLS — Campus Compact, a national coalition of colleges and universities working to advance the public purposes of higher education, has named 173 student civic leaders who will make up the organization’s 2022-2023 cohort of Newman Civic Fellows.
Jensa Baumgartner, a student at Great Falls College, will join students from 38 states, Washington, D.C. and Mexico to form the cohort.
"It feels pretty amazing to be recognized like this," She said. "It's exciting and it feels kind of special."
Baumgartner started at Great Falls College in Connections 101, which assists students in becoming college or career ready. She is preparing to graduate from Great Falls College MSU in the summer after freeing herself from addiction and domestic violence.
Baumgartner said, "I used to have a lot of drive to do all of the wrong things in life, and now I take all of that motivation and put it into raising a family and going to college and following Jesus and making a better life for us. I never imagined to be a student like this. I think my willingness to be open in the past and the present is a huge factor in it, and I just show up and take the steps that God directs me to take, and he's led me to places that I never really imagined."
Baumgartner has been inducted into Phi Theta Kappa, the campus honor society. She is active in jail ministry and balances her academic and service life while caring for her blended family.
Her message to those struggling: "I know that life gets really hard and it just seems so helpless and that it's never going to change, but you're loved, you're worthy, and you have a purpose, and it can get really overwhelming thinking about changing your whole life all at once, but if you just focus on today and what you can do to improve your life today, it all adds up over time."
The Newman Civic Fellowship recognizes students who stand out for their commitment to creating positive change in communities locally and around the world. 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.