Also Chosen to Participate in Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Summer Internship
MACON – Mercer University junior Kyle Bligen was recently selected as a Newman Civic Fellow by Campus Compact, a national nonprofit organization working to advance service-learning, civic engagement and the public purposes of higher education.
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 in partnership with the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate, as well as access to exclusive scholarship and postgraduate opportunities.
Bligen, a politics, philosophy and economics (PPE) major from Peachtree City, is one of 273 students from across the nation to be selected for this year's cohort, which will benefit from a completely redesigned fellowship program.
“The cultivation of community-committed leaders has never been more crucial,” said Campus Compact President Andrew Seligsohn. “We rebuilt the Newman Civic Fellowship experience because our country needs more people who know how to bring communities together for positive change. We are thrilled to welcome this group of 273 exemplary students as the first cohort to participate in this new model.”
As a Newman Civic Fellow, Bligen will work to bridge the gap between institutional leadership and community outreach through work such as spearheading a mentorship initiative at Mercer that will pair successful student leaders with at-risk youth.
“It is a great honor to be selected as a Newman Civic Fellow,” said Bligen. “I am continually impressed by Mercer's dedication to servant leadership. I am excited to collaborate with the nation's greatest minds and public servants. I hope that my work as a Newman Civic Fellow changes lives and positively impacts generations to come.”
Selected as a Mount Vernon Leadership Fellow last year, Bligen researched programs that would combat America's fatherless pandemic. He created the framework for The Bligen Family Foundation, an organization intended to provide families with online resources such as pro-bono legal counseling, financial literacy education courses and reliable healthcare information.
“Kyle combines the spirit of reaching out to those in need with the leadership and resourcefulness to create life-changing programs. We look forward to helping him implement his much-needed mentoring program in local middle schools and to his seeding a new cohort of Mercer leaders who will carry on this work beyond the fellowship year,” said Mary Alice Morgan, senior vice provost for service-learning, who will act as Bligen's on-campus sponsor during the fellowship year.
The Newman Civic Fellowship is supported by the KPMG Foundation and Newman's Own Foundation.
Campus Compact is a nonprofit coalition of more than 1,000 colleges and universities committed to the public purposes of higher education. As the only national association dedicated to this mission, Campus Compact is a leader in building community engagement into campus and academic life.
For more information, visit www.compact.org.
Bligen also has been selected to participate in a Congressional Black Caucus Foundation (CBCF) Summer Congressional Internship. His duties will include drafting responses to constituent mail, conducting research, writing talking points, organizing events, attending hearings and briefings and providing assistance on the floor of the House of Representatives from May 28-Aug. 4.
“I am more than honored to have been selected by the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation to aid our representatives on Capital Hill,” said Bligen. “I am excited to lend my gifts, talents and abilities to serve in our government and assist in the facilitation of initiatives that will positively impact American homes and communities for years to come.”
Established in 1986, the CBCF Summer Congressional Internship program answered the call to help diversify American democracy by increasing the pool of talented public servants. The intensive nine-week summer program offers the opportunity for college students from across the nation to learn about the legislative process, leadership and careers in the policymaking process.
Program participants receive housing, a stipend, office placements and opportunities to meet and interact with professional legislators and leaders working in all branches of government. Additionally, interns are eligible for scholarships for prestigious public policy graduate programs, such as the University of California-Berkeley's Goldman School of Public Policy and UC Hastings College of the Law, and they are actively recruited by executive branch agencies such as the U.S. State Department and the Office of Management and Budget.
For more information, visit www.cbcfinc.org/internships.
As an undergraduate, Bligen has played a significant role on Mercer's debate team. He serves as its captain and has won numerous team and individual honors at competitions across the country. He also is president of the Residence Hall Association, president of the National Society of Leadership and Success and a member of Phi Eta Sigma National Honor Society and Phi Sigma Tau International Honor Society.
Upon his graduation from Mercer, Bligen aspires to continue his education in the joint degree program in public administration and business offered by Harvard Kennedy School of Government and Harvard Business School.