Rena Newman

University of Wisconsin - Madison

Rena is a first-year student who has created their own major in order to enhance their ability to understand communities in a way that resonates with their lived experience. You can see Rena's devotion to public service through the manner in which they have spent their first two semesters on our campus. In their first semester, Rena chose to enroll in one of our First-year Interest Group (FIG) set of courses with a theme of citizenship, democracy and social justice. Rena has been actively engaged beyond the classroom, even though this is only their second semester on campus. For example, they are an active advocate for transgender rights, and have started a workshop on gender education for their residence hall community with the coordination of their residence hall coordinators. In addition, they are a talented artist and writer and have put these talents to work creating 'zines that foster dialogue about social justice issues. Finally, they have also become the Outreach Director of our F.H. King student group, which is a farm-to­ table organization that farms its own fresh food.

Rebecca Blank
University of Wisconsin - Madison

Personal Statement

I'm committed to community. Throughout high school, I met brilliant organizers, artists, poets, musicians, writers, and actors who all used their skills to bring people together - and through that unity, make an impact for the causes they believed in. As a young, Jewish non-binary transgender person, it was in my home synagogue community that I first learned how to create workshops to educate about trans identities. Now that I'm here, I'm working to bring those workshops to University of Wisconsin. Alongside planning workshops, I'm committed to the concept of the underground press, writing and crowd funding political pamphlets and hand-made zines. My love of writing and art has lead me to work on an independent major called "Community Studies", where I'll be studying collective memory and community historiographies - I want to explore what stories of identity marginalized and activist communities tell and how that knowledge is passed down to the next generations, documented and mobilized as tools to resist oppression. We find strength in the communities we belong to. I hope to write curricula and organize workshops emphasizing the power of storytelling in identity, and using lived-experience as a text to critically understand the injustice within our nation.

Rena Newman
Community Studies (Individual Major): Class of May 2020
written 2017

2017 Fellows Alphabetical by Institution

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Erica Cherian, UNC Charlotte Morgan Sweere, University of Central Arkansas Andrew Aboujaoude, University of Central Florida Jaylon Thomas, University of Central Oklahoma Akshayaa Chittibabu, University of Connecticut Marie Spence, University of Denver Nicolette Duong, University of Florida Bobbie Alcanzo, University of Great Falls Eisha Khan, University of Houston-Downtown Alexis Smyser, University of Illinois at Chicago Rudy Amaya, University of La Verne Duane Belanger, University of Maine at Fort Kent Karla Casique, University of Maryland Axel Bayingana, University of Maryland Eastern Shore Sophia Lopresti, University of Maryland, Baltimore County Andrew King, University of Massachusetts Boston Callie Nunez, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Luiza Kinzerska-Martinez, University of Miami Nadine Jawad, University of Michigan Zachary Hayes, University of Michigan - Flint Gemechu Mekonnen, University of Minnesota Madison Bick, University of Missouri - St. Louis Isabel Langlois, University of Montana Shayla McGregor, University of Montana Western Sophie Ramsey, University of Mount Union Jimmy Nguyen, University of Nebraska at Omaha Shannon Bodeau, University of North Carolina Asheville Cristian Ramos, University of North Georgia Karina Judith Ortega, University of North Texas at Dallas Melanie Majeed, University of Northern Iowa Sarah Tomas Morgan, University of Notre Dame Anea Moore, University of Pennsylvania Hashaam Jamil, University of Pittsburgh Wila Matos, University of Rhode Island Edgar Chavarria, University of San Diego Emery Smith, University of South Carolina Isaac Miles, University of South Carolina Beaufort (USCB) Corinne Tucker, University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee Richard Lee, University of Utah Rena Newman, University of Wisconsin - Madison Bianca Ruffolo, University of Wisconsin - Parkside Joanna (Jo) Niswonger, University of Wisconsin Colleges Yessenia Santamaria, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point
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