Tej Azad, a junior in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, was among 162 students from across the country named a Newman Civic Fellow for 2012 by Campus Compact.
The Newman Civic Fellows Awards recognize inspiring college student leaders who have demonstrated an investment in finding solutions for challenges facing communities throughout the country and the world.
“Azad is an outstanding example of a civic leader,” says Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton, who nominated him for the award.
“He analyzed the needs of the community, was committed to raising awareness of those needs through the power of education and inspired others to join him in seeking solutions. I believe he exemplifies all that this prestigious honor represents.”
Azad was selected as a Newman Civic Fellow for his dedication to addressing health disparities through education. As a leader for WashU H.O.P.E. (HIV/AIDS Outreach, Prevention, and Education), he strives to address the stigma surrounding HIV.
In this role, he has tutored children living in an alternative housing facility for families affected by HIV. Under his leadership, the number of volunteers for WashU H.O.P.E. increased five-fold.
Azad also partnered with a medical student group, S.T.A.T.S. (Students Teaching AIDS to Students), to teach high school students about HIV biology and prevention, again encouraging much-increased participation in the program.
He was a co-organizer for World AIDS Day 2011 on the WUSTL campus and is a member of the local HIV Youth Advocacy Committee that seeks to allow the voice of young people in St. Louis to be heard in the dialogue on HIV.
Through WUSTL’s Social Justice Center, Azad developed an interest in urban nutrition and learned about urban “food deserts.”
Azad plans to work with a national organization to bring a mobile produce market to St. Louis. In this model, the mobile market would transport fresh produce to areas in St. Louis with limited access to these foods. The issue of food disparities has become a passion for him, and he intends to work on the mobile market initiative beginning this summer.
A John B. Ervin Scholar, Azad is majoring in biology-neuroscience with a minor in philosophy-neuroscience-psychology.
He has helped recruit participants in an imaging study to assess the effects of chronic HIV on cognitive abilities for in the laboratory of Beau Mark Ances, PhD, assistant professor of neurology in the School of Medicine, and has done research on the molecular biology of stroke in the laboratory of Gregory Joseph Zipfel, PhD, associate professor of neurological surgery, also in the School of Medicine. He plans to pursue a career in medicine.
The 2012 Newman Civic Fellows were nominated by college and university presidents from 32 states across the country. Through the Newman Civic Fellows Awards, college and university presidents acknowledge students with the ability and motivation to create lasting change through service, research and advocacy.
“These students represent the next generation of public problem solvers and civic leaders,” says Campus Compact Board Chair James B. Dworkin, chancellor at Purdue University North Center. “They serve as national examples of the role that higher education can — and does — play in building a better world.”
Through service-learning courses and other opportunities for community engagement, colleges are developing students’ critical public problem-solving skills, such as the ability to analyze community needs, a willingness to participate in public processes and debate, the commitment to raise awareness about challenges and the ability to inspire people to become part of solutions.
Campus Compact is a national coalition of almost 1,200 college and university presidents — representing some 6 million students — who are committed to fulfilling the civic purposes of higher education to improve community life and to educate students for civic and social responsibility.
The award is named after Frank Newman, PhD, a founder of Campus Compact who had an impact on American education and its role in the development of citizens who are eager and prepared to make a difference. He dedicated his life to creating systemic change through education reform.
For more information about the Newman Civic Fellows, visit compact.org.