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Raritan Valley Community College student named as a Newman Civic Fellow

BRANCHBURG TOWNSHIP, NJ (Somerset County) – Sydney Lehrer of Flemington, a second-year Liberal Arts student at Raritan Valley Community College (RVCC), has been selected as a Newman Civic Fellow by Campus Compact for the 2023-2024 academic year.

Lehrer joins more than 157 students from across the US and Mexico selected for this honor, which recognizes their commitment to finding solutions facing communities locally, nationally, and internationally.

RVCC is one of six community colleges (out of 154 colleges and universities) in the US, and the only New Jersey community college, to be honored with a fellow. Only one other NJ four-year institution was recognized.

Based in Boston, Campus Compact is a non-profit organization working to advance the public purposes of higher education. The Newman Civic Fellowship is a yearlong program for students from Campus Compact member institutions.

Through the fellowship, Campus Compact provides fellows with a variety of educational opportunities that emphasize personal, professional, and civic growth. Each year, fellows participate in numerous virtual training and networking opportunities to help provide them with the skills and connections they need to create large-scale positive change. The cornerstone of the program is the Annual Convening of Fellows, which offers intensive skill-building and networking over the course of two days. The fellowship also provides participants with pathways to apply for exclusive scholarship and post-graduate opportunities.

Sydney Lehrer is a dedicated student leader who has been volunteering at Safe Harbor Child Access Centers since 2020. The organization provides court-ordered, supervised parenting and therapeutic time; monitored custodial exchanges; and programs for children who are healing from trauma. Lehrer has always loved learning other languages and she wanted to share that passion with others in her community. At Safe Harbor she has created a free program offering English classes to its Spanish-speaking population and a multiweek lesson plan focusing on basic English grammar and proper pronunciation.

“The most rewarding feeling was not only seeing my students master the basics of the English language, but also watching their confidence grow inside and outside the classroom,” Lehrer said about the Safe Harbor experience.

In summer 2022, Lehrer volunteered for a month in Oaxaca, Mexico at three hospitals hosting vaccination clinics. She is actively engaged in the College’s nationally recognized Service Learning Program, Honors College, and Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, and also serves as President of the Campus Fitness Club, which she recently reestablished.

In addition, Lehrer is a recipient of the President’s Volunteer Service Gold Award from the White House for volunteering over 400 hours during a single academic year.

Jay Edwards

Born and raised in Northwest NJ, Jay has a degree in Communications and has had a life-long interest in local radio and various styles of music. Jay has held numerous jobs over the years such as stunt car driver, bartender, voice-over artist, traffic reporter (award winning), NY Yankee maintenance crewmember and peanut farm worker. His hobbies include mountain climbing, snowmobiling, cooking, performing stand-up comedy and he is an avid squirrel watcher. Jay has been a guest on America’s Morning Headquarters,program on The Weather Channel, and was interviewed by Sam Champion.

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