Louis Fowler, a first-year Business Marketing major at Great Bay Community College, has received a prestigious Newman Civic Fellowship, a national year-long scholarship program that recognizes and supports student problem-solvers with leadership qualities.
Fellows are nominated based on their potential for public leadership and their work with communities. The program is sponsored by Campus Compact, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to higher education civic and community engagement. Throughout the fellowship year, Campus Compact provides students with on-site and remote educational opportunities to improve their skills and develop strategies for social change, as well as create a network of peers.
The 2023 cohort includes 154 students from 38 states and Mexico.
Fowler, founding member and president of Pride Alliance Club, a student-run organization that gives LGBTQ+ students a space to foster queer friendships and promote education and representation, is pleased to represent Great Bay and thrilled with the opportunity before him in the year ahead.
“I’m incredibly honored, and I’m looking forward to making connections and growing as a leader,” he said. “I am grateful to be part of the process.”
During his time at Great Bay, Fowler has worked to educate the community about LGBTQ+ issues and forged connections in the larger queer community, including working with Seacoast Outright to participate in Portsmouth Pride.
The Pride Alliance Club at Great Bay is the third gay-straight alliance he has formed. He created one in high school and another at a community college in Massachusetts that he attended before moving to New Hampshire. “When I got to Great Bay, I started one here, as well,” Fowler said. “I am one of those people who likes to help others. Finding a community that needs something and giving them everything I can is a huge passion of mine.”
Fowler, 21, of North Hampton, said his advocacy work at Great Bay has been different than his previous experiences. “Before, it was more about building acceptance and tolerance. At Great Bay, we have an accepting and understanding community. Great Bay already is a safe space,” he said. “So our work here is about education and building the community for people who are queer-identifying.”
Fowler expects to graduate from the Business Marketing program in 2024 or 2025. In addition to taking classes and performing community work, Fowler provides massage therapy in the family business, Fowler Chiropractic in Amesbury, Mass. “I am the soon-to-be third-generation owner of the establishment,” he said. “I have a family business to run. That’s why I enrolled. I have to know how to run a business and market a brand, so I am seeking an education and support from Great Bay.”
A licensed massage therapist, his goal is to gain the business skills necessary to continue to evolve the practice from providing traditional chiropractic care to holistic, whole-body healing. “My plan is to rebrand it, revamp it, and turn it in something much bigger than it is,” he said. He already has a new name picked out: Wild Haven Healing Center.
He credits his professors at Great Bay for encouraging students to speak up and participate in spirited classroom discussions. “The communication we have with the professors is very much focused on student empowerment,” he said. “They are forthright, up front, and always happy to communicate. The professors that I have had love their jobs and I can tell that because they are so excited to watch you learn. Having these people around me has bolstered me and given me confidence. They encourage you to speak out and express your opinions, even if they are different. The discourse that will happen is always valuable.”