Jordyn Gaurkee: Turning trauma into advocacy

Jordyn Gaurkee

UW-Green Bay student Jordyn Gaurkee ’20 (Democracy and Justice Studies) used a traumatic experience to shape her future for the better, and to better advocate for others in need.

For her passion and commitment to social justice, she was named a 2019 Newman Civic Fellow, recognized nationwide by Campus Compact.

Newman Civic Fellows are among the next generation of civic leaders. According to Campus Compact—a coalition of nearly 1000-plus college and university presidents committed to campus-based community engagement—these students make the most of their college experiences through service, research and advocacy to better understand themselves, the root causes of social issues and effective mechanisms for creating lasting change.

Jordyn Gaurkee Chancellor-1

L to R: Chancellor Miller, Alison Staudinger, Jordyn Gaurkee, Tara DaPra, Mathew Dornbush

UW-Green Bay Chancellor Gary L. Miller, who wrote a nomination letter on Gaurkee’s behalf, recognized her exceptional leadership skills, focus on problem-solving and dedication toward her goals and passions.

“Since a traumatic experience altered her institutional issues in higher education around sexual assault and equity policies, Ms. Gaurkee has become an advocate for herself and others,” he wrote.

Gaurkee is now an involved advocate and leader on campus. But her journey was marred by a difficult and traumatic experience.

“I grew up in a military family where both of my parents served in the armed forces,” she wrote in her personal statement as a Newman Civic Fellow, “I wanted to follow their footsteps so I decided to join ROTC where I received a 3-year full ride scholarship. But two months into my first year of college I was sexually assaulted by another cadet in the program. Since then my life has been on a different path, but for the better.”

Gaurkee is hard at work implementing a judicial advocate program at UW-Green Bay through an independent study called Advocacy and Title IX. Within the Office of International Education, she is also working with Title IX information and making it more accessible to students. Gaurkee has also started a sorority on campus that dedicates time towards volunteer work with local domestic violence and food security shelters.

“In the future, I hope to continue my advocacy for those who have been through similar situations by becoming a lawyer,” she concludes.

As a Newman Civic Fellow, Gaurkee will have the opportunity to participate in regional, state and national gatherings with other Newman Civic Fellows, engage in virtual events focused on skill development and professional learning, have the chance to submit conference proposals to present at Campus Compact affiliated conferences, get one-on-one leadership development with a local mentor and be part of a national network of engaged student leaders.

About the Newman Civic Fellowship

The Newman Civic Fellowship recognizes and supports community-committed students who have demonstrated an investment in finding solutions for challenges facing communities throughout the country. The fellowship, named for Campus Compact founder Frank Newman, provides training and resources that nurture students’ assets and passions to help them develop strategies to achieve social change. Through the fellowship, Campus Compact provides learning opportunities focused on the skills fellows need in order to serve as effective agents of change in addressing public problems and building equitable communities. The fellowship is a one-year experience for students in which fellows have access to in-person and virtual learning opportunities, networking events, and mentoring. While the fellowship experience is limited to one year, participants in the Newman Civic Fellowship are invited to join a national network of community-committed peers and to enter into a long-term community of Newman Civic Fellows.

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