Students Selected for Opportunity Northeast Summer Fellowship

June 24, 2020

Meet Your Neighbors

Six GU students have been selected for the 2020 Opportunity Northeast Summer Fellowship Program. The students will be supporting youth enrichment and educational programs as well as food access and nutritional education.

We invited them to introduce themselves to you, addressing why they wanted to participate in the Fellowship Program, and what they hope to learn or experience over the summer.

Opportunity Northeast Fellows Summer 2020

Lani Abrams

Junior from Tri-Cities, Washington
Major: Sociology, with a minor in Solidarity and Social Justice
Serving: One of two Hillyard Youth Collaborative Fellows, helping sixth graders transition into middle school

During my first two years at Gonzaga I have been heavily involved within the Gonzaga community. However, I wanted to expand my involvement to include the Spokane community because I’ve come to realize that the Spokane community is as much part of the Gonzaga community. I really connected to and wanted to continue the Fellows program of creating long-term solutions and commitment to the Spokane community.

I hope to create and experience authentic relationships within the Spokane community, and the kids and partners I will be working with. I hope to see and experience the life and heart of the Spokane Community. Lastly, I want to continue to grow and reflect on my journey of social justice and change within the Spokane community.

Alexandria Campbell 

Senior from Renton, WA
Major: Sociology, with minors in public relations, women & gender studies and communications 
Serving: High School Transitions with students from Shaw and Gary Middle Schools moving to John R. Rogers High School

I applied to  be a part of the Summer Fellowship Program because I've been looking for ways to be more involved within the community that surrounds GU. I also have recently helped my younger brother transition into his first year of high school and jumped at the opportunity to help in this transition for other students. 

I hope to at least put smiles on the faces of kids I meet. I would want them to feel a little more confident when they're walking down the hall to class.

Fese Elango 

Senior from Denver, Colorado
Major: Biology 
Serving: Food security in Northeast Spokane and creating nutritional plans for youth and elderly populations

I decided to apply to be a Summer Fellow because of my love for Spokane and interest in working collaboratively to address systems of inequity in the area. I also have a passion for food and its ability to bring communities together which specifically drew me to the food security position. 

I hope to learn how I can better eliminate the Gonzaga bubble and serve the community. I hope to discover ways in which I can be more knowledgeable about socioeconomic status in Spokane and work to be more intentional about my relationship with food. Given the current restrictions on gathering due to COVID, I'm looking forward to problem-solving with my team and creating solutions that benefit the community members we are in service with.

William Rettig

Senior from Boulder, Colorado
Major: Environmental studies and political science
Working: Food security  programs in Northeast Spokane

I applied to this fellowship because I believed it would be a great opportunity to work in the community as well as a chance to know Spokane through a different perspective.

From this fellowship I hope to learn more about who the members and families in the Northeast community are that surround Gonzaga and the ways in which Gonzaga has engaged with its greater Spokane community.

Isabel “Bel” Thurston

Senior (’21) from Rice Lake, Wisconsin
Major: English / Secondary Education
Working: Hillyard Youth Collaborative, and “Summer in the Zone” to help support students as they transition from elementary school into middle school

I am studying to be a middle school teacher and feel called to contribute to the field of education wherever I can. Since I am strongly considering staying in Spokane to teach, I want to know everything I can about the youth within this community and the ways in which I can contribute to their well-being. I am a privileged white woman going into a career filled with other white women — the best thing for me to do right now is learn, listen, and give where I can. I believe this fellowship program will prepare me for a future of service, social justice activism, and working with one of the world’s most precious resources: children.

I want to learn more about Spokane, especially Northeast Spokane, where Gonzaga resides. As far as experiences go, I am open to the experiences and lessons that Northeast Spokane and its residents teach through their community. I’ve been in this part of Spokane for three years now, and there is still so much to learn. I am a Summer Fellow, but I am also a member of the Northeast community; it is high time for me to participate like one.

Jon Williams

Senior from Seattle, Washington
Major: Sociology
Serving: Supporting students in their transition from middle to high school by working with Summer in the Zone and the Boys and Girls Club

I have been working with CCE for three years in the Connections program. In Connections, college students are paired up with middle schoolers in a mentoring relationship.

I hope to learn more about northeast Spokane and the people and institutions who make up the community here. I also hope I can get more experience with Spokane public schools and being intentional with my service to better assist the youth I work with throughout the year.