HomepageNewsPhi Beta Kappa Awards Public Service Scholarship to Melrose Fellow

Phi Beta Kappa Awards Public Service Scholarship to Melrose Fellow

Olivia Negro ’23 has been selected as one of only 20 Key into Public Service Scholars nationwide by Phi Beta Kappa, the nation’s most prestigious honor society.

The national honor society, which established a chapter on campus 30 years ago, received nearly 900 nominations for the scholarship. Recipients were selected for their “intellectual curiosity; breadth and depth across liberal arts and sciences coursework; positive contributions on and off campus through academic research, internships, and community work; and demonstrated commitment to serve others,” according to the organization.

Negro will receive a $5,000 scholarship and take part in an in-person conference in Washington, D.C., in June. The conference aims to provide students with training, mentoring, and reflection on pathways into local, state, and federal public service.

“I am very excited to go to the conference this summer and meet the other recipients who are also passionate about public service,” said Negro. “We are also meeting professionals in the fields of public service that we are interested in, which will be thrilling. I am hoping to meet some professionals in the Department of Education and elected officials. I am looking forward to celebrating the achievements of all the recipients and building my network so that I have contacts in D.C. and beyond.”

Negro is a politics major and educational studies minor with a teaching certificate in social studies. Recently she was head delegate of the Ursinus’s Model United Nations program. In addition to the Phi Beta Kappa conference, the Hatboro, Pa., native hopes to spend the entire summer in the capital as part of the Washington Internship Institute.

“Public service is important to me because I fundamentally believe that we are all interconnected … When we help each other and make life just a little bit easier or better for others, they have more time and resources to do the same for even more people; when done right, public service can activate a beautiful and powerful chain reaction,” said Negro. “My passion for and interest in democratic governance and civic engagement have given me the perfect outlet in which to practice my belief in paying it forward, so public service feels like a natural calling to me, whether it takes place in the classroom, courtroom, boardroom, or legislative hall.”

Associate Professor of Politics and International Relations Rebecca Evans, who also serves as co-director of the Melrose Center for Global Civic Engagement and first met Negro when she was named one of the college’s two Social Justice Scholars in 2019, nominated Negro for the scholarship. “Just as impressive as Olivia’s academic record is her heartfelt, unequivocal commitment to helping others—a commitment that shines through in her dedication to volunteer service through the Bonner Leaders program, her commitment to global civic engagement with the Melrose Fellows, her leadership in the Model UN and Teaching and Learning Institute student consultant programs, and her successful initiatives to encourage other students to learn more about political and social issues,” said Evans. “She is dedicated to understanding problems on a local and global scale, applying her considerable intellectual talents but doing so humbly with a recognition that classroom knowledge must be supplemented with hands-on experience and insights that come from listening respectfully to other people’s experiences and viewpoints.”

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