Given his exemplary and far-reaching student leadership, Benjamin P. Webster is the University's unequivocal Newman Civic Fellow nominee. With a 4.0 cumulative grade point average in business administration major, Benjamin is keenly aware that the University is located in the poorest county (i.e., Somerset) in Maryland, with a considerable student enrollment from such a location. Thus, he has been a tireless advocate and leader for students with challenging financial conditions by conducting regular on-campus workshops on the economic importance of a baccalaureate degree in his official capacity as UMES "student ambassador" of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF). The TMCF, which is named in honor of the first African American Supreme Court Justice, "develops leaders for tomorrow" among other student development programs. A "servant leader," Benjamin places others before himself.
It is an honor to be nominated for the Newman Civic Fellow Leadership Program. I have learned much about the importance that civic leadership has in struggling communities. Due to the University's location, which is in the poorest county in Maryland, Somerset County, students face financial and social hardships that hinder their growth. This issue catalyzed my leadership potential and continues to be my most critical issue to resolve. When I arrived at my University, I noted our strengths and weaknesses, then created programs to improve them both through student engagement and advocacy. In addition to being a Student Ambassador for the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF), I host personal empowerment and professional development workshops, offer tutoring services to struggling students, mentor and navigate students through their careers, and restarted the University's gay-straight alliance, Uniquely Defined, to create a safer environment for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender students. My proudest accomplishment includes leading 10 students to the TMCF Leadership Institute and successfully finding 3 students employment. As Mahatma Gandhi stated, "Be the change that you wish to see in the world," and I plan to do that now and beyond my collegiate career.