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January 21, 2021

SVSU sponsors 2021 First Ward Leadership Fellowship Program

Eleven Saginaw County residents between the ages of 18 and 30 have been selected as 2021 First Ward Leadership Fellows and will participate in a 14-week leadership training program hosted by Saginaw Valley State University. 

First Ward Leadership Fellows will join SVSU students who are in the 2020-2021 Vitito Global Leadership Institute in the Scott L. Carmona College of Business. The focus of the training is to highlight opportunities to become community leaders through board memberships. Workshops led by local civic and community leaders will emphasize the importance of service on boards. 

“We welcome the opportunity to further the partnership between SVSU and First Ward Community Center with the creation of this fellowship program,” said Dawn Hinton, director of SVSU’s Center for Academic Innovation & Online Learning. “This program is designed to assist young community members in developing the leadership skills that will allow them to make significant contributions to their community.” 

Hinton said students in SVSU’s Vitito Global Leadership Program each year are required to select a community engagement project; this year, the choice is a peer-to-peer leadership mentoring program with First Ward Community Center. The weekly training sessions will be held online from January through March, 2021. 

The following individuals, all from Saginaw, have been selected to participate in the First Ward Leadership Fellowship Program: 

  • Amaya Bradley, an SVSU marketing major 
  • Daeveon Clemons, an SVSU biology major 
  • Indigo Dudley, an SVSU general studies major 
  • Bria Gregory, a self-employed financial professional 
  • Airiana Hamilton, an SVSU health science major 
  • Jalen Latimore, a staff member at Francis Reh Academy 
  • Tess Martin, an SVSU social work major 
  • Jesse Sanchez, a mechanic serving in the military 
  • Alissiana Scott, a Kroger employee 
  • Demetria Simmons, a Federal Express employee 
  • Simone Vaughn, an SVSU communication major 

The goal of the program is to fill a gap that exists within the Saginaw County community and address the large number of vacancies on boards and commissions. Those who are selected to participate must submit to an application process that outlines their previous participation in First Ward programming. The SVSU Foundation is providing funding support for the fellowship. 

“This project will culminate in a ‘Signing Day’ event, where the First Ward Leadership Fellows will publicly announce the board on which they want to serve and sign their completed application for board consideration,” Hinton said. 

Hinton will provide guidance for First Ward Leadership Fellows and Joseph Ofori-Dankwa, SVSU’s Harvey Randall Wickes Endowed Professor, and Dominic Monastiere, Boutell Executive-In-Residence, are responsible for developing the leadership skills training. Michael Mosher, SVSU professor of art, will introduce the First Ward Leadership Fellows to students enrolled in his Art 390 course to develop an illustrated comic book that will creatively tell the stories of each of the fellows. 

For more information on the First Ward Leadership Fellowship Program, contact Hinton at (989) 906-1400, or For more information on the Vitito Global Leadership Program, contact Ofori-Dankwa at (989) 284-0684, or