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Raritan Valley Community College announced this week that student Kambiz Roghanchi has been named a Newman Civic Fellow by Campus Compact, a national coalition of colleges and universities working to advance the public purposes of higher education. 

Roghanchi, a South Orange resident majoring in Human Services/Pre-Social Work, is joining a group of student civic leaders from 38 states, Washington, D.C., and Mexico who will comprise the 2024-2025 cohort of Newman Civic Fellows. 

The Newman Civic Fellowship is a yearlong program that recognizes students who stand out for their leadership potential and commitment to creating positive change in communities. The Fellowship is named for the late Frank Newman, one of Campus Compact’s founders, who was a tireless advocate for civic engagement in higher education. College presidents or chancellors are invited to select one exemplary community-committed student each year. 

The Pray Family Center for Service Learning and Civic Engagement at Raritan Valley Community College is providing a generous stipend to support Roghanchi’s participation in the fellowship. 

“Kambiz is a standout student leader at RVCC, whose personal experiences have motivated him to help others,” said Michael J. McDonough, Ph.D., president of Raritan Valley Community College. “Kambiz embodies Raritan Valley Community College’s core values of community engagement, diversity and inclusion, and scholarship. His compassion and achievements are truly inspiring.” 

Roghanchi explained that “a diagnosis of dermatomyositis, a rare neuromuscular autoimmune disease, sparked my passion for volunteering and community engagement, inspiring me to empower and support others facing similar challenges.” 

Roghanchi volunteers for the nonprofit, Myositis Support and Understanding (MSU), which aids people with rare muscular autoimmune disease. Locally, he volunteers with the Adult Day Center of Somerset County, helping the elderly. He also led “Teens for Refugees,” a group of 12 students who welcomed a Syrian refugee family, and he served as a translator for Afghan refugees who resettled in New Jersey. Using his skills in Farsi, Mandarin, and Arabic, he translated for medical staff and psychiatric services. 

In addition, Roghanchi runs a monthly book club, Myositis Reads, and presented an online seminar, “Risk V. Benefit,” addressing his decision to join a clinical trial. In June, Roghanchi will be representing dermatomyositis patients in a discussion with the FDA on access to treatment. 

Through the Newman Civic Fellowship, Campus Compact provides students with learning and networking opportunities that help to nurture their development as civic leaders. Programming emphasizes personal, professional, and civic growth that can empower them to collaborate effectively across disciplines and create large-scale positive change. 

The cornerstone of the fellowship is the Annual Convening of Newman Civic Fellows, which offers intensive, in-person skill-building and networking over three days. The fellowship also provides fellows with pathways to apply for exclusive opportunities, including mini grants to help fund community projects, scholarships, and post-graduate opportunities. 

“We are honored to recognize such an outstanding group of community-committed students,” said Campus Compact President Bobbie Laur. “One of the best parts of the Newman Civic Fellowships is the richness of students’ perspectives, experiences, and backgrounds—and how these varied stories all led to their passionate engagement with the social, political, and environmental issues impacting our world. These students will be the catalysts for change on many levels, and we are privileged to help empower them to create that change.”