by Daniel Ynfante
Jaene Sigue had no idea she was nominated for a 2017 Newman Civic Fellowship. She had never even heard of the program.
But after receiving an email in early April from Kathleen Von Euw, coordinator of community partnerships and service at Manhattan College, Sigue knew well what the program was. She realized just how prestigious of a program she got into.
Sigue ’18, an environmental science major is one of 273 students in the world who have been named as 2017 Newman Civic Fellows, a program that honors students who have shown a commitment to promoting change and having an impact in their communities through their work.
“I was really shocked,” Sigue said about hearing the news. “I was happy to be nominated. I was surprised and really excited.”
Sigue was nominated by Heidi Haynes from the Mary Mitchell Center, where Sigue interns at. The junior has been involved with volunteer work and community service since she was 13, and that work has continued at Manhattan.
Sigue first joined the Lasallian Outreach Collaborative program at the school and began tutoring. She also volunteered at Part of the Solution, and is currently an intern with the Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition (NWBCCC), where she is working on an initiative with the New York State Department of Health to help reduce violence in the Bronx, increase youth employment and increase awareness of health problems and how to deal with them.
“I grew up in a city a lot like the Bronx … so I know that these issues exist and I’m not the type to ignore things like that,” Sigue said about why she chose the internship with NWBCCC.
It is for her extraordinary achievements that Sigue was nominated.
“Jaena shares a deep interest in public policy and understanding of low-income communities of color,” said Brennan O’Donnell, president of Manhattan College in an article on the school website. “Her balance of critical analysis and social acumen make her participation valuable for both the team and the two communities they engage.”
Although Sigue is in school for environmental science, she admits that her experiences and the opportunities the fellowship will give her might convince her to pursue a career in social outreach. Sigue was in Washington, D.C., from Apr. 23 to Apr. 25 for a National People’s Action event and kept hearing she should do this for a living.
“While we were there, a lot of people were encouraging me to run for council or try to go into law school, or to kind of continue this path,” Sigue said. “I’ve really been considering it, and I might.”
Sigue still isn’t too clear on everything she will have to do as a Newman Fellow, as the news is pretty recent to her. However, she knows she officially starts in September, and will have a national meeting with all the Fellows in November in Boston. Newman Fellows are also given access to numerous exclusive scholarships, networking events and post-graduate opportunities.
“I know it can open plenty of doors and I know it will,” Sigue said. “With all the networking events and things that they have catered to us, I’ll definitely take advantage of all the opportunities that they’re going to give me.”