“It Fuels My Passion:” Zarah Vidriezca Awarded Prestigious Newman Civic Fellowship
Zarah Vidriezca, a second-year legal studies major and first-generation student at the University of La Verne, was named a 2023-2024 Newman Civic Fellow by Campus Compact, for her commitment to strengthening political and civic engagement with young voters.
Vidriezca joins 154 other student civic leaders from 38 states, Washington, DC, and Mexico, who make up the organization’s 2023-2024 cohort. She joins fellow student Drake Ingram in the community’s prestigious fellowship, who was granted the opportunity last year.
Vidriezca is an engaged civic leader at the University of La Verne and is committed She is an Andrew Goodman Foundation Vote Everywhere ambassador and writing and legal studies tutor in the campus Academic Success Center. She also volunteers for Meals on Wheels at local Hillcrest retirement community.
She became enlightened to the inequalities that inhibit the US justice system at a young age. Although born in the US, Vidriezca grew up in Guadalajara, Mexico for most of her formative years. A feeling of being a “safe space” attracted her to the University of La Verne. She then decided to pursue an education in legal studies so she could help foster effective, positive change for communities that need civic protection.
“…I strive to protect the rights of those who are victimized by the system by earning my law degree and becoming a defense attorney,” she said in a personal statement.
While at the university, Vidriezca has developed education campaigns on topics including the value of voting, reproductive rights, and gun control. Through her involvement in the community, she seeks to “educate and empower students to cast their ballot and to become active members of their community.”
As a Newman Civic Fellow, Vidriezca can participate in training and networking opportunities, including the Annual Convening of Fellows, which offers intensive skill-building and networking over two days. She will also have the chance to apply for exclusive scholarships and post-graduate opportunities.
She says she is honored to have been chosen as the next member of the fellowship and looks to continue making a difference to people and communities in need.
“As someone who is first-generation who really doesn’t have any experience in [higher education], I’m honored to see how my hard work is paying off,” Vidriezca said. “It’s very meaningful to me and impactful. I’m grateful to be recognized. I plan on keeping it up. It fuels my passion.”
The University of La Verne is committed to civic and community engagement as one of its four core values. Engagement resources are offered by the Office of Civic and Community Engagement and offices and programs provided through the Ludwick Center for Spirituality, Cultural Understanding, and Community Engagement.