Courtney Mitchell, a senior at the University of North Georgia, has been selected as a 2013 recipient of the Newman Civic Fellows Award for her public leadership. She is one of only 180 students nationally to receive this award in 2013.
The award is given to honor collegiate student leaders who inspire others and demonstrate an interest and commitment to identifying solutions for challenges facing communities nationwide. Newman Civic Fellows are recognized for the service and research they employ to better understand the causes of social issues and the mechanisms they develop to create positive change.
"Courtney's focus on a wide diversity of policy issues and her attempts to improve her understanding of the world and take actions to make changes make her worthy of this recognition," said Dr. Craig Greathouse, association professor of political science, and the professor who recommended Mitchell for the award. "She has undertaken responsibilities which are above and beyond what most of her peers would even consider, and has addressed issues ranging from autism to public policy within the state of Georgia."
Greathouse added that while he had Mitchell in his classes, he was impressed with her focus and willingness to address difficult problems and issues. Her interest in pursuing a master's degree within the first year of earning her bachelor's degree shows she knows the value of a more developed understanding of policy and policy-making, he said.
"My grandmother worked for the U.S. Department of Labor, which gave me a lot of interest in that field early on," Mitchell said. "When I began taking college courses, the more classes I took in political science, the more interested I became."
Mitchell was nominated based on her activities and work in the community. As an intern for Lumpkin County Government, she revised the county's civil service plan and employee handbook, both of which received approval from the Board of Commissioners. She also provided updates to the county's emergency response plan.
"This award has helped me realize that the experiences I have been blessed to have are exceptional," Mitchell said.
Mitchell is also an active community programmer, and works with programs such as Autism Speaks and soccer for special-needs children. She is a member of the national community service organization Alpha Phi Omega, and worked with faculty at UNG in writing revisions for an American government textbook. She will graduate in May 2013 with a major in political science and a minor in business administration. She plans to seek governmental employment at county, state or federal level.
The Newman Civic Fellow Award is made in memory of Dr. Frank Newman, a leader in higher education who dedicated his life to positive change through education reform in a career spanning more than 50 years. To read more about Newman's legacy and award, click here.
The University of North Georgia is designated by the University System of Georgia as a State Leadership Institution and fosters students' leadership development through academic and co-curricular opportunities.