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UCO Student Receives National Award For Public Service

April 4, 2013

Media Contact: Courtney Harlin, University Relations Staff Writer, University of Central Oklahoma, 405-974-2121,


imageUniversity of Central Oklahoma graduate student Sadaf Irshad is one of 181 college students in the nation honored for their public service as Newman Civic Fellows.

The award recognizes student leaders who are invested in finding solutions for community challenges. Irshad, who is studying bilingual education and teaching English as a second language, is being honored for her literacy efforts in the local community and volunteering extensively with elementary schools. She is committed to providing as many developmental opportunities for children as possible, both here in the United States and also in her native country of Pakistan.  

“I often work with kindergarteners learning how to read English as their second language,” said Irshad.

“My family moved to America when I was a young child so I know how it feels to be different. I feel as if I can relate to some of the students better because I understand that learning how to read English as a second language can be challenging. I like being able to help these students and make a difference in their lives.”

The Newman Civic Fellow awards are presented by Campus Compact, a national coalition of more than 1,100 college and university presidents – representing some six million students – who are committed to fulfilling the civic purposes of higher education to improve community life and educate students for civic and social responsibility.

Newman Civic Fellow awards are made in memory of Frank Newman, one of the founders of Campus Compact, who dedicated his life to creating systematic change through education reform. 

Central President Don Betz, Ph.D., nominated Irshad for the award.

“Students like Sadaf exemplify what it means for us to serve our community as Oklahoma’s metropolitan university,” Betz said.

“Our students are positioned to make a positive, lasting impact, not just locally, but globally, too, as they take their commitment to service with them after graduation.”

As a Newman Civic Fellow, Irshad will receive a certificate, join a national listserv of fellows and will have multiple opportunities to network throughout the year at state and regional conferences and other gatherings.

For additional information about the Newman Civic Fellow awards, visit

For more information about Central, visit


Editor's Note: Download art for publication with this release at

Cutline: University of Central Oklahoma graduate student and 2013 Newman Civic Fellow Sadaf Irshad (left) stands with Central President Don Betz, Ph.D., who nominated Irshad for the award in recognition of her literacy efforts and working to provide developmental opportunities for children in our local community, volunteering extensively with elementary schools.