Fresno State junior Elizabeth Olenchalk was named a 2014 Newman Civic Fellow in recognition of her commitment to community service and civic leadership. Olenchalk is one of nine California students and 197 from across the country to receive the fellowship.

As a Liberal Studies major and Urban Civic Education minor, Olenchalk is working toward becoming a change agent who addresses community issues. For the past two years, she has been an instrumental member of Fresno State’s Alternative Spring Break  program — recruiting, training and mentoring many of her fellow students in service to others.

In addition, Olenchalk has engaged other students in service to the American Cancer Society, and each week she mentors at-risk youth through the local Every Neighborhood Partnership’s Saturday Sports Program.

“During her time here at Fresno State, Elizabeth has emerged as a passionate, committed leader of community service and engagement efforts,” University President Joseph I. Castro said. “She is a true servant-leader, whose positive attitude and infectious energy has propelled many of her fellow students into deeper commitments to service.”

Newman Civic Fellows are granted by Campus Compact, a national coalition of nearly 1,200 college and university presidents, to acknowledge motivation and ability in public leadershipThe Newman Civic Fellows Awards, sponsored by the KPMG Foundation, are made in memory of founder Frank Newman, who dedicated his life to creating systemic change through education reform.

“These students represent the next generation of public problem solvers and civic leaders. They serve as national examples of the role that higher education can — and does — play in building a better world,” said Campus Compact Board Chair James B. Dworkin, chancellor at Purdue University North Central.

For more information about the organization and the award, visit or contact Chris Fiorentino, director of the Jan and Bud Richter Center for Community Engagement and Service-Learning, at 559.278.8848.

(Copy by University Communications news assistant Ashlie Day.)