Amelia Klug’s leadership and volunteerism during her time at UCF has earned her a Newman Civic Fellows Award.
The award from Campus Compact will allow Klug, a senior in The Burnett Honors College, to interact and exchange ideas with student leaders from other universities.
“It’s a really good opportunity to connect with other leaders across the country to build off each other’s ideas and let each other know about opportunities.” Klug said. “It’s a great way to find other people who have similar values about social change.”
Klug, 23, is a senior majoring in public administration with a minor in nonprofit management and education. She’s expected to graduate in May.
The Newman Civic Fellows Award honors inspiring college student leaders who – through service, research and advocacy – have worked to solve challenges facing communities throughout the country. Winners represent the next generation of public problem-solvers and civic leaders.
“Amelia is a natural leader whose passion for improving education is unmatched,” UCF President John C. Hitt wrote in recommending Klug for the Newman award. “She exemplifies the true meaning of ‘lead by example.’ Her ability to be a high-achieving student and be incredibly active with social causes is remarkable. Amelia will have a tremendous impact in the field of education. There is no question that with her talents, she will bring about a positive change to this world.”
Klug’s commitment to improving education has been honed during her years at UCF.
She has been the UCF campus coordinator for Teach for America, a nonprofit that enlists recent college graduates and professionals to teach in low-income communities for at least two years. Klug has made it her mission to recruit the university’s top leaders into the teaching profession, despite what they may have heard about the low pay compared to other fields.
As education and literacy director for Volunteer UCF, Klug also organized more than 75 service opportunities and large-scale events in the areas of literacy and education. That includes volunteering with two charities in downtown Orlando’s Parramore community – Page 15 children’s literacy program and Orlando Day Nursery – as well as A Gift for Teaching and other education nonprofits.
UCF’s Alternative Break program has twice taken Klug outside the country. During a trip to Guatemala last year, she learned about poverty and its effect on education while working with an orphanage and building stoves in an impoverished village.
And Klug recently returned from the Dominican Republic, where she worked as an English instructor at a New York Mets Baseball Academy.
“We were working with baseball players who had been signed by the New York Mets to prepare for life in the United States,” she said. “They’ll be more prepared for American culture and have stronger English.”
That experience fit well with Klug’s Honors in the Major thesis on global education reform, allowing her to see firsthand how access to education impacts quality of life.
Last year, Klug was inducted into the Order of Pegasus, the university’s highest honor.
After graduation, she will attend Teach for America training over the summer. In August, she’ll begin a two-year stint teaching fifth- or sixth-graders at an elementary school in Nashville, Tenn.
“I’m so excited to begin teaching,” Klug said. “I want to build a classroom full of community activists and leaders who can be empowered to take charge of their futures.”
At the same time, Klug will work on earning her master’s degree from Lipscomb University in Nashville. She wants to obtain a doctorate in urban administration and policy, and eventually move from the classroom into administration and ultimately an education policy-making position.