Senior wins national fellowship to help fight hunger and poverty
Centre College senior Josh Blair has long been committed to service. And in his first 11 months following graduation, he will be taking that commitment to the next level. As one of this year’s 20 recipients of the Bill Emerson National Hunger Fellowship, Blair will soon begin the “unique leadership development opportunity for motivated individuals seeking to make a difference in the struggle to eliminate hunger and poverty.”
Blair, a Bonner Scholar and sociology major at Centre, will use the fellowship to work with community agencies, as well as with Congress, to raise awareness about poverty and hunger in the United States.
“At Centre, I’ve had the opportunity to gain a foundation of service that has allowed me to dive into many different sectors of the service world,” Blair says. “This is just one more opportunity that will help create a base to propel me forward into whatever I choose to do. The fellowship will allow me to work with populations and issues that are more foreign to me; it will give me the opportunity to fight hunger issues in multiple ways, including on local and national levels, within grass root organizations and federal agencies.”
During the first six months of the program, Blair will be working with local organizations across the country.
“I could be anywhere,” he says. “I could be in Seattle, Austin, Minneapolis, New York City, Biloxi—anywhere.”
For the second half of the 11-month program, Blair and his fellow recipients will move to Washington, D.C., where they will work with national organizations involved in the anti-hunger and poverty movement.
With so many new service adventures ahead of him, Blair is greatly looking forward to “being a part of a movement that’s working hard against the injustices in our nation. This organization is succeeding, in both small and big ways, and the fellowship is a door that will open many opportunities for my success, whether it be giving me access to a network of alumni to the program or teaching me skills that will launch my efforts further.”
Blair, who has been active in many campus organizations and societies during his four years at Centre, says that “simply put, Centre is a huge reason why I received this fellowship. While at Centre, I’ve had the opportunities to create and instruct a leadership class for middle school youth; intern at an organization fighting self-esteem issues on an international perspectives; study sustainability in Mexico, where I volunteered at a community center; log more than 1,500 hours of community service; research volunteerism; help allocate $9,000 through Pay It Forward grants; and develop my own beliefs through the Bonner Program.”
In short, he continues, “Centre has challenged me in ways that have only made me a better person.”