Montana Tech Student Honored as 2017 Newman Civic Fellow

Campus Compact, a Boston-based non-profit organization working to advance the public purposes of higher education, has announced that Montana Tech Petroleum Engineering student, Alexis (Lexi) Brandon, has been named a 2017 Newman Civic Fellow. Brandon joins 272 other students making up the 2017 cohort.

“The Newman Civic Fellowship is an ideal fit for Lexi because she is committed to increasing women in STEM disciplines and participates in events/programs that benefit women,” said Montana Tech Chancellor Dr. Don Blackketter.

Lexi’s passion is fighting the stereotype that women should only pursue certain majors or career paths. As President of the Society of Women Engineers, she has increased events that support women and volunteers with the Girls Excelling in Math and Science (GEMS) program.

“As a child, I always believed I could be anything I wanted to be; a doctor, an astronaut, or even an engineer,” noted Brandon. “As a petrolem engineering major at a STEM institution I have had some eye-opening experiences. I have had male peers tell me I have received scholarships or internships because I was a woman and others have suggested I get a degree more ‘suitable for my gender.’ These experiences propelled me to fight the sterotype that women should only pursue certian majors or career paths. As the President of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE), I have increased events that support women on campus and fight negative stereotypes about women engineers. These projects have helped but I realized I needed to reach younger girls if I wanted to change stereotypes. To achieve this goal, I volunteer weekly with Girls Excelling in Math and Science (GEMS). This allows me to support and encourage girls on their journey into the STEM fields. By encouraging more young women to pursue STEM degrees it will hopefully normalize and erase the false stereotype that girls “aren’t good at math and science” and allow girls to believe they can be anything they want to be.”

“Lexi is a valuable member of the ACE team,” explained Dr. Carrie Vath, director of Student Success at Montana Tech. “She works in the Math Lab (Algebra-Calc. 1) and gets rave reviews in the student satisfaction surveys. Beyond being her supervisor I have also had the privilege of working with Lexi on both of the Women of Tech Purse Strings events. I am impressed with her drive and determination to help all students be successful at Tech. I will be serving as Lexi’s mentor during her tenure with the fellowship and I am excited to see her add new skills to her already full toolbox. This distinction is an honor and I am thrilled to be a part of it.”

As a 2017 Newman Civic Fellow, Brandon will be a part of the first cohort to benefit from a completely re-designed fellowship. 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 exclusive scholarship and post-graduate opportunities.

“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.”

The Newman Civic Fellowship is supported by the KPMG Foundation and Newman’s Own Foundation.