Politically active junior selected for Campus Compact fellowship program

headshot of Christina Vann, outdoors near wooded area
Christina Vann, a junior who is majoring in public and nonprofit administration, was named to the incoming class of Newman Civic Fellows, an initiative of Campus Compact.
Image Credit: courtesy photo

Christina Vann, a junior who is majoring in public and nonprofit administration, was named to the incoming class of Newman Civic Fellows, an initiative of Campus Compact.

Campus Compact, a national coalition of colleges and universities committed to the public purposes of higher education, provides Newman fellows with resources and training to help them develop strategies for social change.

Vann was nominated for the fellowship by President Philomena V. Mantella. In a nomination letter, Mantella said Vann was active politically as an election inspector and through campaign volunteer roles. "Colleagues have shared that Christina is constantly stepping up to meet new challenges and exploring new ways to make an impact," Mantella wrote.

Vann said it was her eighth-grade honors U.S. history teacher, Mr. Posont, who instilled in her a love of politics and elections.

"He really brought history to life. One time, we acted out the Battle of Yorktown in a game of dodgeball," Vann said.

A graduate of West Michigan Aviation Academy, Vann was set on studying mechanical engineering until her experiences on the youth advisory board for the Grand Rapids Community Foundation changed her mind to all things civic.

"I loved the work we did on the advisory board, so midway through high school I decided I wanted to do public and nonprofit work," she said.

Vann is a member of the Hauenstein Center's Cook Leadership Academy and active in the Community Service Learning Center's Democracy 101 series. She has volunteered for the Refugee Education Center and served as a Bank of America Student Leader intern. Through that internship, she collaborated with KConnect, where she learned the importance of data sharing.

"At KConnect, I saw that data sharing is a way for communities to glean more information about who is in need of services and what kind of services they need," she said.

That role coupled with her campaign work gave Vann a passion for information systems mapping. She said she may pursue that work, or enroll in public policy doctoral programs after graduating next spring.