Jeanine Ashforth- 2015 Newman Civic Fellow, University of South Florida Sarasota – Manatee

Over the next several weeks, Florida Campus Compact will be highlighting each of the 13 Florida students named as 2015 Newman Civic Fellows. Nominated by their college or university presidents, the Newman Civic Fellows are the next generation of public problem solvers and civic leaders. They have demonstrated an investment in finding solutions for challenges facing communities and creating lasting change. Congratulations to all of these outstanding students!

Today, we’d like to recognize:

Jeanine Ashforth of the University of South Florida Sarasota – Manatee


Jeanine Ashforth is an outstanding student in our Psychology program who has put her commitment to service into action. She is a passionate advocate for improved services for veterans, especially focusing on the issues of homelessness and trauma. As a class project, Jeanine took her activism outside the classroom to construct a shelter for one homeless veteran. She is also serving as a mentor in the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) for people who have lost loved ones in military service, prompted by her own loss of her fiancé, an Army Captain. Jeanine is an intelligent, articulate, passionate change agent who not only advocates for a cause but mobilizes others to take action. She is truly an inspiration and role model for us all.
-Sandra Stone, Regional Chancellor

I would describe myself as one who specializes in the impossible. A researcher and proponent of Post-Traumatic Growth, I believe that life shatters us specifically so we can reinvent ourselves stronger, unconstrained by prior limitations. Consequently, I plan to ultimately pursue a clinical psychologist doctorate in Military Therapy, to unlock other trauma survivors’ understanding of this incredible capacity for reinvention. I am also exploring this capacity in myself, building communities and projects I would have believed to be beyond my capabilities prior to my own regrowth. Sometimes that has meant finding 8’-tall shipping pallets in the dead of night, with which to frame a Tiny House for a homeless veteran. Sometimes that has meant finding friends with formerly unheralded architectural abilities, hammers, and a few weekends free. Always that has meant finding truth in the words of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, that: “at the moment of commitment the entire universe conspires to assist you.” I hope, through projects to inspire others to conspire to commit to creating more “things which never were,” as the Kennedys challenged us. I know the world improves each time we ask “why not?” I believe our duty, therefore, is always to ask. 
-Jeanine Ashforth

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