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Abby Dennis ’21 Named Newman Civic Fellow

March 13, 2019

MIDDLEBURY, Vt. – Campus Compact, a Boston-based nonprofit organization working to advance the public purposes of higher education, has announced the 262 students who will make up the organization’s 2019–2020 cohort of Newman Civic Fellows, including Middlebury’s Abby Dennis ’21.

Abby Dennis ’21

The sophomore political science and sociology major from White Salmon, Washington, serves as the student leader of MiddVote, an initiative through the Middlebury College Center for Community Engagement that works to increase civic engagement and voter participation in the Middlebury community.

 “Abby prioritizes inclusion and equity in all of her endeavors and seeks to create positive change within our campus community and beyond,” said Ashley Laux, program director for the Center for Community Engagement. “Abby’s commitment to democratic engagement is an inspiration to me, and I look forward to seeing how she continues to develop and grow the MiddVote program over her next two years at Middlebury.”

Throughout the fall, Dennis worked to emphasize the importance of voting through initiatives and events both on campus and in the greater Middlebury community, and on election day she helped provide shuttles to the polls and organized a community celebration to celebrate voting and civic engagement.

“In the United States today, we still have many structural barriers and policies that rob people and communities of their right to vote and make their voices heard,” wrote Dennis in her personal statement for Campus Compact. “I believe that the more people vote and are engaged in politics, the more we can build a political system that works for all of us, not just the wealthy and privileged.”

The Newman Civic Fellowship, named for Campus Compact cofounder Frank Newman, is a one-year experience emphasizing personal, professional, and civic growth for students who have demonstrated a capacity for leadership and an investment in solving public problems. Through the fellowship, Campus Compact provides a variety of learning and networking opportunities, including a national conference of Newman Civic Fellows in partnership with the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate. The fellowship also provides fellows with access to apply for exclusive scholarship and postgraduate opportunities.

“We are proud to recognize each of these extraordinary student leaders and thrilled to have the opportunity to engage with them,” wrote Campus Compact President Andrew Seligsohn in a news release. “The stories of this year’s Newman Civic Fellows make clear that they are committed to finding solutions to pressing problems in their communities and beyond. That is what Campus Compact is about, and it’s what our country and our world desperately need.”

The Newman Civic Fellowship is supported by the KPMG Foundation and Newman’s Own Foundation. Learn more at