Campus Compact, a Boston-based non-profit organization working to advance the public purposes of higher education, has announced the 273 students who will make up the organization’s 2017 cohort of Newman Civic Fellows, including UNT Dallas’ own Karina Judith Ortega.

Ms. Ortega is a freshman at UNT Dallas, studying human services management and leadership (HSML). She is a Presidential Jaguar Scholar, one of the highest awards a first-year student can obtain. In her first year on campus, Ortega started Finding Right & Natural Destinations (FRANDS), a student organization that is working to bring a mobile vet clinic to campus to offer low-cost vaccines and spay/neutering for animals in South Dallas. She is an active volunteer with Dallas Pets Alive, a local non-profit that provides animals with a home, nutrition, and medical care. Ortega is currently working with city officials to develop plans for an ordinance that requires residents to spay/neuter their pets to prevent more animals from living on the streets.

“I nominate Ms. Ortega because she embodies the caring purpose of this university,” said UNT Dallas President Bob Mong. “Dallas is divided by a prosperous North and a poorer South. Ms. Ortega is committed to improving quality of life in southern Dallas. One of her passions is as an animal activist. Here's why that matters in southern Dallas. About 350,000 dogs live in Dallas, but only the South has a runaway stray dog problem because only 15% of its 153,000 dogs are spayed and neutered (compared to 80% in the North). Ms. Ortega has been active in civic efforts to dramatically reduce the estimated 8700 loose dogs that roam southern Dallas on a given day. I am proud of her commitment.”

 As a 2017 Newman Civic Fellow, Ms. Ortega will be a part of the first cohort to benefit from a completely re-designed fellowship. The Newman Civic Fellowship, named for Campus Compact co-founder Frank Newman, is a one-year experience emphasizing personal, professional, and civic growth. Through the fellowship, Campus Compact provides a variety of learning and networking opportunities, including a national conference of Newman Civic Fellows in partnership with the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate. The fellowship also provides fellows with access to exclusive scholarship and post-graduate opportunities.

“The cultivation of community-committed leaders has never been more crucial,” said Campus Compact president Andrew Seligsohn. “We rebuilt the Newman Civic Fellowship experience because our country needs more people who know how to bring communities together for positive change. We are thrilled to welcome this group of 273 exemplary students as the first cohort to participate in this new model.”

The UNT Dallas Experiential Learning Office worked to set this opportunity up for the campus, and coordinated the nomination and selection process. 

The Newman Civic Fellowship is supported by the KPMG Foundation and Newman’s Own Foundation.


About Campus Compact:
Campus Compact is a nonprofit coalition of more than 1000 colleges and universities committed to the public purposes of higher education. As the only national association dedicated to this mission, Campus Compact is a leader in building community engagement into campus and academic life.  For more information, visit and follow @Campus_Compact on Twitter.