Coe student Briana Gipson honored by Campus Compact as 2018 Newman Civic Fellow

Extra: Rod Pritchard, Secretary of the College
(319) 399-8605 or

2018-03-07 08:26:07 - General

Briana Gipson
Briana Gipson

Coe College student Briana Gipson has been honored as a 2018 Newman Civic Fellow by Campus Compact, a Boston-based non-profit organization working to advance the public purposes of higher education. Gipson is one of an elite group of 268 students nationally who was selected for the award.

An active member of the Coe community since her arrival on campus, Gipson is a junior majoring in economics and African American studies, and minoring in history. She serves as co-chair of the Committee on Diversity, parliamentarian in Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated, is involved in BSEO and the College Scholars Program, and was selected as a Coe Clark Merit Scholar. In addition, she serves on the Coe Student Senate, participates in the Graduate School Exploration Fellowship Program, sponsored by the Associated Colleges of the Midwest, and is a resident assistant.

Gipson has presented at several conferences including the Iowa Civic Action Academy, the University of Iowa Summer Undergraduate Research Conference, and the 28th Annual RA Conference at the University of Northern Iowa. In 2016, Gipson presented a research paper on the role of African American soldiers during the Civil War at the Midwest Undergraduate Conference in the Humanities entitled, "'Hard Won Freedom': Andrew Ford and Struggles for Freedom and Civil Rights Among African-American Civil War Veterans in Cedar Rapids, Iowa."

In addition, Gipson is part of the Iowa College AmeriCorps Program, and performs her service hours with the Cedar Rapids Civil Rights Commission. She was also selected for the 2018 class of the Principal Community Scholars Program, a program designed to encourage student leadership to meet community needs.

As a student who has been actively involved in the Coe Office of Community Engagement, Gipson was encouraged by Coe Director of Community Engagement Kayla Lyftogt and Program Coordinator Kara Trebil to apply for the Newman Award.

"We are excited to see Briana flourish as she builds relationships with other Newman Fellows across the country," said Lyftogt. "She is committed to thinking deeply and critically about policies that will positively impact her community in sustainable ways, which is exactly the type of community engagement our office wants to support. Briana is Coe's first Newman Civic Fellow and we are certain that she will represent us well."

The Newman Civic Fellowship, named for Campus Compact co-founder Frank Newman, is a one-year experience emphasizing personal, professional and civic growth. Through the fellowship, Campus Compact provides a variety of learning and networking opportunities, including a national conference of Newman Civic Fellows in partnership with the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate. The fellowship also provides fellows with access to apply for exclusive scholarship and post-graduate opportunities. The Newman Civic Fellowship is supported by the KPMG Foundation and Newman's Own Foundation.

"We are thrilled to have the opportunity to celebrate and engage with such an extraordinary group of students," said Campus Compact President Andrew Seligsohn. "The stories of this year's Newman Civic Fellows make clear that they are bringing people together in their communities to solve pressing problems. That is what Campus Compact is about, and it's what our country and our world desperately need."

With high energy and enthusiasm, Gipson is looking forward to the opportunities offered to her as a Newman Civic Fellow.

"Being able to be part of a network of community activists who love community and are committed to it makes me super excited to feed off of their energy, and release my energy as well," said Gipson.

After she completes her bachelor's degree at Coe, Gipson plans to enroll in an urban planning graduate program and work in the government sector to gain experience. Her eventual career goal is to complete a Ph.D. and teach at a college or university.

Gipson is the daughter of Regina and William Cunningham of Park Forest, Illinois.

About Campus Compact

Campus Compact is a national coalition of more than 1,000 colleges and universities committed to the public purposes of higher education. Campus Compact supports institutions in fulfilling their public purposes by deepening their ability to improve community life and to educate students for civic and social responsibility. As the largest national higher education association dedicated solely to campus-based civic engagement, Campus Compact provides professional development to administrators and faculty to enable them to engage effectively, facilitate national partnerships connecting campuses with key issues in their local communities, build pilot programs to test and refine promising models in engaged teaching and scholarship, celebrate and cultivate student civic leadership, and convene higher education institutions and partners beyond higher education to share knowledge and develop collective capacity.

About Coe College

Coe College offers superb academics and exciting co-curricular activities in a thriving urban setting that promotes student growth and success. Established in 1851, Coe has a national reputation for academic excellence enhanced by a student-centered, highly supportive campus environment. Coe's vibrant Cedar Rapids location provides an abundance of internships for students and career opportunities for graduates.