Iowa Wesleyan Student Receives National Recognition for Civic Engagement Leadership

Written by Theresa Rose on April 1, 2015

Iowa Wesleyan is pleased to announce Kaitlyn Dirth, a junior nursing student and mental health care advocate, has been named a 2015 Newman Civic Fellow by Campus Compact. She joins 200 student leaders representing Campus Compact member colleges and universities from 36 states and Washington, D.C. The award honors student leaders committed to creating lasting change in communities throughout the country. It is made in honor of Dr. Frank Newman, one of Campus Compact’s founders, who was a tireless advocate for the role of higher education in preparing students for active and engaged citizenship.
“This is the largest number of Newman Civic Fellows that we have seen nominated from Iowa,” said Iowa Campus Compact Executive Director Emily Shields. “This speaks to the growing student interest in applying the skills and knowledge they gain in the classroom to meeting community needs.”

Dirth is a leader and advocate on issues of mental health care. One of her professional aspirations is to become a psychiatric-mental health nurse. This year, she learned of the urgent mental health care needs in the state of Iowa and the governor’s proposal to close two highly needed mental health institutes. She immediately initiated action to raise public awareness and support for these mental health care concerns. Kaitlyn created a petition on change.org to keep the mental health institutes open. To date, nearly 8,000 signatures have been secured and submitted to Governor Brandstad. She was also recognized before the State Senate for this act of citizen advocacy and concern. Kaitlyn also has conducted nurse lobby sessions with state legislators on mental health care issues. Her message has sparked local and national media attention, and she has presented at the National Alliance for Mental Illness, and community public forums on these issues.
“Kaitlyn’s passion, resolve and dedication to creating positive change in the mental health care world has inspired a new level of consciousness in serving all of the human family,” said Iowa Wesleyan College President, Dr. Steven Titus of his school’s awardee.

“It’s a nice feeling to be recognized and know that my efforts have not gone unnoticed,” said awardee and Iowa Wesleyan student Kaitlyn Dirth. “I am passionate about making a difference at Iowa Wesleyan and in the community and hope to set a good example for other students who are interested in service opportunities.”