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WVU student awarded national fellowship to work with imprisoned populations

Portrait of Emma Harrison

Emma Harrison has been named a 2018 Newman Civic Fellow by the Campus Compact. 

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A West Virginia University student passionate about enriching educational opportunities and resources for imprisoned people in West Virginia has been named a 2018 Newman Civic Fellow by the Campus Compact, the only national higher education association dedicated solely to campus-based civic engagement. 

Emma Harrison is a junior from Morgantown majoring in political science and multidisciplinary studies. She is a finalist for the prestigious Truman Scholarship, a Milan Puskar Scholar for outstanding leadership and public service, an Eberly Scholar and a student in the Honors College

Harrison’s passion for working with imprisoned populations grew in a WVU course called the “Inside-Out Prison Exchange,” during which she attended class with prisoners at the Federal Correctional Institution in Hazelton. At Hazelton, Harrison worked directly with inmate members of the Think Tank, a council that functioned as a liaison between the compound and administration. She also taught two classes at the Kennedy Federal Correctional Institute in Morgantown. Harrison has also done outreach work through an internship with the West Virginia Innocence Project at the WVU College of Law.

Harrison plans to use her fellowship year to continue her work to expand prison education programming through book clubs, starting at two local facilities and eventually working statewide. Harrison will work under the mentorship of award-winning English professor and founder of the nationally renowned Appalachian Prison Book Project, Dr. Katy Ryan. Volunteers for APBP currently facilitate books clubs in two federal prisons and fulfill requests for specific books from imprisoned persons across the region. Harrison’s fellowship project would expand both initiatives by increasing the number of APBP volunteers, opening up more seats for participants and bringing the program to prisons in the state that do not currently have book clubs.

"I'm so happy to be able to work with Emma again,” Ryan said. “She is a phenomenal student who brings energy and heart to everything she does. With this fellowship, she will strengthen APBP's educational work. It's fantastic news."

Harrison is one of 268 students nationwide recognized by Campus Compact as public problem solvers. The Newman Civic Fellowship, named for Campus Compact co-founder Frank Newman, is a one-year experience emphasizing personal, professional and civic growth. Through the fellowship, Campus Compact provides a variety of learning and networking opportunities, including a national conference of Newman Civic Fellows in partnership with the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate. The fellowship also provides reciepientss with access to exclusive scholarship and post-graduate opportunities. The Newman Civic Fellowship is supported by the KPMG Foundation and Newman’s Own Foundation.

Students who are interested in this scholarship or other nationally competitive awards are encouraged to contact the ASPIRE Office at to set up an appointment.



CONTACT: Amy Cyphert
Director of ASPIRE

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