Seven TCNJ students, four from the School of Science and three from the School of Nursing and Health Sciences, have been named Millennium Fellows for 2023.
The fellowship, in coordination with the United Nations Academic Impact Initiative, is a semester-long leadership development program on campus to help train and guide participating students to raise their level of social impact on their campuses and in their communities.
The program helps students develop a meaningful project that meets at least one of the United Nations’ 17 sustainable development goals that address critical global challenges.
“These students boldly represent TCNJ’s mission to sustain and enhance their communities both locally and globally,” said TCNJ President Kathryn Foster. “Their work in advancing the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals will provide a lens for all students to examine how they may contribute to efforts that reach well beyond the borders in which they live, work and learn.”
TCNJ is the only New Jersey institution, and one of just 28 in the United States, to have students named as Millennium Fellows for 2022–23. There were over 30,000 applicants from over 2,400 campuses across the globe for this academic year.
Anika Pruthi, a senior biology major in the School of Science, will serve as one of two Campus Directors for the program along with Ciana Gibbon, a health and exercise science major. In that role they will take on additional leadership responsibilities in guiding other fellows with their projects and conducting training sessions.
Pruthi was the first at TCNJ to apply for the fellowship and recruited fellow biology majors to join as well. The fact that the students have autonomy over the projects was helpful in her recruiting efforts.
“We can decide what type of projects we want to take on and which projects can implement change directly,” Pruthi said. “I don’t just want to be a part of the change. I want to create change and this program will allow me to do that.”
Pruthi has previous experience leading social impact projects, having worked with the Westergard Library in her hometown of Piscataway, New Jersey to earn a grant to broaden its offerings.
“Working with the library in the summer of 2021, I surveyed its users to see what they wanted to see more of and then used the grant funding to bring those requests to fruition,” she said. “The results made the library more useful for the community and had a direct positive impact which was really important to me.”
The Millennium Fellows will have the flexibility to work on one social impact project all together, break out into small groups for separate projects, or work on individual projects.
The seven fellows at TCNJ are:
- Ciana Gibbon ’25, School of Nursing and Health Sciences
- Lakshmi Gurram ’23, School of Science
- Caroline O’Rourke ’25, School of Science
- Devarshi Patel ’25, School of Science
- Anika Pruthi ’23, School of Science
- Yulia Sul ’24, School of Nursing and Health Sciences
- Romy Zemer ’25, School of Nursing and Health Sciences
Visit the Millennium Fellows website for more information on the program.
— Luke Sacks