Simon’s leadership celebrated with competitive fellowship
Illinois College student Gloria Simon ’23, was recently honored as a Newman Civic Fellow in recognition of her leadership and commitment to her campus community.
The selective fellowship, awarded through Campus Compact and beginning September 2022, provides recipients with a full year of training, networking opportunities and resources to nurture their leadership abilities and fuel their passion for social change. It recognizes students “who are changemakers and public problem-solvers.”
Each institution can nominate only one student. Last year’s recipient, D'Ajahnae Croft ’23, was the first IC student chosen for the honor since Samer Anabtawi ’12 received the fellowship in 2011.
Simon is majoring in sociology and minoring in gender and women’s studies. She is an active member of Nuestra Casa and Black Student Union, an Involvement Leader, and has had internships with the Prairie Council on Aging and the Jacksonville Area Museum. She developed a convocation that required coordinating with IC’s Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion; the gender and women’s studies program; and an outside organization based in Chicago, Mujeres Latinas en Accion. Her convo was titled, “Empowering Latinx Survivors of Abuse: Mujeres Latinas en Accion.”
Simon was nominated for the fellowship by IC President Barbara A. Farley, who described her as a leader who seeks no recognition but exerts “tremendous effort to improve their community.” Before even stepping into her first class, Farley said Simon’s potential as a campus leader was clear to faculty and staff who facilitated the College’s Students of Color Orientation ahead of her first year.
Assistant Professor of Sociology Jaclyn Tabor supported Simon’s nomination. She said Simon is sincere, committed to social justice and “incredibly civic-minded,” adding that she does the work of a leader with modesty and without drawing attention to herself.
"I'm very grateful that Gloria has this opportunity,” Tabor said. “I think she's going to thrive in it and I can't wait to see where this takes her."
Simon describes herself as a shy person, but said she realized as she was writing her personal statement for the fellowship that she was taking a first step toward getting out of her comfort zone — something that would allow her to achieve things she is passionate about.
I will use this opportunity to raise the bar higher and achieve my goals. I want to help people and if that means leaving my comfort zone, I will do it over and over again.
“I will use this opportunity to raise the bar higher and achieve my goals. I want to help people and if that means leaving my comfort zone, I will do it over and over again,” Simon said.
Helping people is a driving motivation for Simon, who plans to become a social worker and work with children in foster care.
“I believe working with younger people will help to make change,” she said. “If someone is there to support them in their youth and show them that they are not alone, I think they will grow up feeling that they too can be there for others.”