Alexandra Papatheodorou: Newman Fellowship Inspires Global Collaboration for Social Change

Alexandra Papatheodorou's experience with the Newman fellowship has fueled collaborative efforts and inspired initiatives for positive change, leading her to actively develop a health literacy-focused social start-up.

This fall, Newman Civic Fellows from across the country gathered in Boston for the Annual Convening of Newman Civic Fellows, a three-day in-person event generously supported by The Allstate Foundation. Follow along for our blog series from Newman Civic Fellows about their experiences at this event.


The Newman fellowship has left me only with positive impressions and has pushed
me towards being a more active public problem solver. Since day one, some fellows
and I have been in a group chat, actively exchanging ideas for improving our
communities and sharing our long-term objectives in further contributing to society.
The Newman fellowship has given me the opportunity to visit the U.S. for the first
time and meet and spend time with such diverse and inspirational Newmans. Despite
us Newmans having different backgrounds, passions, and ideas, we all had a common
objective: to be the public leaders of today.

The convening has given me the opportunity to befriend Newmans and build instant
and future partnerships in order to improve my community. For example, I met a co-
fellow who has been running his own humanitarian NGO for years with the aim of
building health literacy about diabetes and donating insulin dosages to unprivileged
people in Africa. Being an upcoming health educator and active initiator of diabetes
events on my campus, my cooperation with Newman started right after the convening,
and I truly believe that this cooperation will help me immensely in creating impactful
diabetes projects within and outside my campus.

One of the many things that I took with me from the convening is that volunteerism
has been taken to another level in the U.S., namely, U.S. dwellers have cultivated so
much their spirit of giving and belonging that social entrepreneurship seems to have
become mainstream there. This has made me realize that there is a gap in the country
when it comes to social entrepreneurship; therefore, I have been trying to construct a
strategic plan for expanding the philosophy of social entrepreneurship. More
specifically, a month after the convening, I have been working on a potential social
start-up that shall have the character of a health literacy educational center with the
objective that issues that relate to public health will be tackled as people will learn to modify their poor health habits and chronic illnesses will become less and less
common. This social start-up can be built by having great resources by my side,
which definitely includes working hand-in-hand with some dedicated and passionate
Newmans whose contributions will determine the right set-up of the start-up.

Being a descendent of Pericles, it is my duty as a Greek citizen to offer my
community the best possible, and admittedly, it has been the Newman fellowship that
has inspired me to look back to my country’s history and give an impetus on what our
Greek ancestors had strived for a really long time ago!

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"The convening gave me the opportunity to experience firsthand, through simulation, how senators communicate their proposals and how collaborative decision-making are made between Senators. The combination of the simulation with the tour of the JFK Presidential Museum gave me a real feeling of excitement and a genuine longing for creating more civic engagement opportunities in my country, Greece. I could not have been more grateful for the sponsorship by the Allstate Foundation, which helped the Campus Compact creates some unique and motivational experiences that we, as Newman fellows and active public problem solvers will remember for life."

- Alexandra Papatheodorou