University News

International Affairs and Political Science Double Major Earns Prestigious Fellowship

Keyri Ambrocio ’21 is devoted to immigrant and refugee rights and policy reform, and her passion has led to her becoming the first University of New Haven student to be chosen as a Newman Civic Fellow, an opportunity that will enable her to join 300 of the most community-minded college students to make a difference.

March 12, 2020

By Renee Chmiel, Office of Marketing and Communications

Ambrocio in Germany
Ambrocio (right) attended a Model United Nations conference in Germany.

Keyri Ambrocio ’21 is passionate about advocating for immigrant rights and policy reform. The daughter of immigrants from Guatemala, she is committed to awareness and advocacy, which she hopes to make a central part of her career.

"I have seen the injustices that marginalized groups face in the community, specifically undocumented immigrants," said Ambrocio, an international affairs and political science double major. "This has made me much more aware of the inequalities that people face and the role I can have in making a change."

Image of Keyri Ambrocio '21
Keyri Ambrocio ’21

Her dedication to making a difference led to Ambrocio becoming the first University of New Haven student to be named a Newman Civic Fellow . She is among nearly 300 students from 39 states and Washington, D.C., as well as Greece, Lebanon, and Mexico who make up the 2020 cohort.

As part of the fellowship, Campus Compact, a Boston-based nonprofit organization working to advance the public purposes of higher education, provides students with networking and learning opportunities that encourage personal, professional, and civic growth.

"The Fellowship provides recognition and support for changemakers in campus communities across the United States," said Ambrocio. "It is an honor to have been chosen for such an honorable program, and I am very excited for the opportunities it will bring. Being chosen empowers me to continue to work for social justice."

A yearlong program for students, the Fellowship brings together students who have demonstrated a commitment to finding solutions to public challenges that communities face at the local, national, and international levels.

Chris Haynes, Ph.D., an assistant professor of political science and Ambrocio’s faculty adviser, recommended her for the Fellowship. He says she has a rare and invaluable skillset – including intercultural awareness, critical thinking, and attention to detail – that will help her to thrive.

"Keyri embodies everything that Frank Newman and the Newman Civic Fellowship stand for," he said. "She continues to demonstrate her tremendous leadership qualities and commitment to serving her community by volunteering for two immigrant-support organizations. I could think of no one else who deserves this recognition more."

Ambrocio in Washington D.C.
Ambrocio visited Washington, D.C., with her "Power Politics" class.

As part of the program, Ambrocio will take part in virtual learning and networking opportunities. She will be invited to attend a national conference of Newman Civic Fellows, and she can apply for exclusive scholarship and post-graduation opportunities, including the chance to present at Campus Compact-affiliated conferences.

"I’m excited and proud that Keyri’s social justice work has been recognized on a national level," said Sally Anastos, director of the University’s Academic Service-Learning program. "Keyri is a natural leader who advocates for immigration reform and empowers those she works with on a daily basis. I look forward to learning about the impact she will have in our community."

"Keyri possesses an unparalleled sense of passion and purpose, and she continuously demonstrates excellence in everything she undertakes."President Steven H. Kaplan

"Committed to civic engagement, Ambrocio is chair of the University’s Mayor’s Advisory Commission, a student-led initiative that works closely with the West Haven Mayor’s office. She has also had the opportunity to travel across the globe as a leader of the University’s award-winning Model United Nations program, and she has spearheaded WestFest, an annual celebration of the relationship between the University and West Haven.

"Keyri possesses an unparalleled sense of passion and purpose, and she continuously demonstrates excellence in everything she undertakes," wrote President Steven H. Kaplan in a nomination letter. "She truly is an inspiration to her professors, her fellow students, and those she interacts with in the community."

Ambrocio in Thailand
Ambrocio (left) traveled to Thailand to attend the International Diplomacy Forum.

Ambrocio says the opportunities she has had through her internship with the Connecticut Institute for Refugees and Immigrants and her volunteer work with Apostle Immigrant Services have reinforced her determination to make change and to serve as an advocate. She hopes to eventually work with an international organization, such as the International Organization for Migration or the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

"I hope to use the training and resources that this Fellowship will provide me to bring about real change for immigrants and refugees," she said. "I am very excited to represent the University as a Fellow."