Lavinia Soliman is a Liberal Studies major in Montgomery County Community College’s Honors program. She is a passionate advocate for those who are underprivileged, and is especially supportive of women and their pursuit of education. On campus, her drive to serve has led her to assume leadership roles in Student Government Association, the MCCC chapter of the National Organization for Women, the Environmental Sustainability Club, and the Anthropology and Archaeology Club. She has participated in a number of service projects, including excavating at The Speaker’s House, volunteering at MCCC’s Community Day, and participating in the MLK Day of Service. Lavinia’s desire to serve extends well-beyond the confines of our institution. In addition to her various roles within the College, she is a representative on the Student Board for the Pennsylvania State Board of Education, serving as a voice for college and K-12 students living below the poverty line. Lavinia participated in and now interns with MCCC's Legislator in Residence program, which helps to build connections between at-risk female students and female mentors in positions of public service. Finally, Lavinia is a Regional Ambassador for the Girl Rising Movement, which advocates for educational equality for young girls. Lavinia is a thoughtful, committed citizen, and she is well deserving of the 2016 Newman Civic Fellows Award for her engagement within the College and local community.
To me, nothing is more important than hearing about the suffering of others and taking action to help them. I pursue my education in hopes that I can become not only someone who listens, but more importantly, someone who advocates, helps, and brings impactful change. At one point in my life, I was in need and looked to the kindness of others as a transformative saving grace. That is the power of empathy in action. For these reasons, I have become an active member of my campus and community. To represent marginalized students and give them a voice, I serve on the PA State Board of Education. In order to educate my peers on the severity of global gender inequality and mobilize activism, I started a chapter of the National Organization for Women. With hopes that on a small scale our campus could support fair trade, I helped to spearhead our fair trade campaign and certification with the Environmental Sustainability Club. Off campus, I work with young women in poverty or trauma. Through economic independence, social support, empowerment, and education, they are able to break out of cyclical poverty. These small victories make me believe that change is possible. Thank you.