Philosophy Sophomore Receives John Lewis Fellowship From Humanity in Action

By Whitney Hale

Beau Revlett, a sophomore majoring in philosophy at the University of Kentucky, has received the John Lewis Fellowship from Humanity In Action (HIA). The fellowship recognizes commitment to social justice and future promise for community leadership. 

The HIA Fellowship brings together international groups of college students and recent graduates to explore national histories of discrimination and resistance — including the political foundations of racial hierarchies, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and colonial domination — as they affect different minority groups today. The fellowship seeks to educate, connect and inspire the world's future leaders in the fields of human rights and social justice.

As a recipient of the HIA John Lewis Fellowship, Revlett will join a group focusing on issues of diversity within the United States, with a particular emphases on Atlanta, the American South and the Civil Rights Movement. As part of this program, fellows will explore America’s history of diversity, immigration and civil rights along with present-day tensions related to minorities across the country. Key areas of inquiry include race and racism, immigration, national identity, Native American issues and the relationship between civil rights and human rights. HIA will cover the costs of participation and accommodation for Revlett during the fellowship program.

HIA Fellowships last one month, but the impact on the lives of fellows and their communities lasts for many years to come. After completing the program, fellows have one year to initiate action projects on important issues within their own communities applying knowledge and skills gained from their fellowship experience.

Fellows are also invited to participate in the Humanity in Action Senior Fellow Network, where they have access to a network of more than 1,500 HIA fellows and senior fellows. And to support the professional growth of fellows beyond the program, HIA offers ongoing opportunities, including professional fellowships in U.S. Congress and European Parliament as well as annual international conferences and study trips.

The son of Sam and Teresa Revlett, of Georgetown, Kentucky, Revlett is a 2015 graduate of Scott County High School. In addition to his philosophy studies at UK, he is a Gaines Fellow, a member of the Honors Program and vice president of the Philosophy Club.

A passion for social issues and an undeniable curiosity led Revlett to a philosophy major at UK. "Because of a strong attraction to working on social issues, a social science major is apparently a natural fit for me. But, due to an incorrigible curiosity, I found myself spending as much time asking questions about the methodology of the social sciences as I spent doing social science. I found that philosophy allows me to ask these kinds of questions — and helps me formulate them.

"Though it rarely gives me answers, because philosophy encourages and is uniquely responsive to criticism, studying philosophy gives me confidence that I can build knowledge throughout my life," Revlett said.

A recipient of a Clinton Global Initiative grant, Revlett has been active in the Lexington community since his freshman year when he planted a garden for Arbor Youth Services emergency shelter. Impressed with his service and his work with their clients, Arbor Youth Services asked Revlett to serve on their board of directors.

And just as the garden he plants continues to grow, Revlett continues to glean his own lessons from his time with this organization.

"I have learned from Arbor Youth Services how much numbers miss when assessing what is going on in the community. That has been an important lesson for someone who is often too quick to abstract, but wants desperately to understand social justice."

When he is not working on his studies or with Arbor Youth Services, Revlett also works with National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week at the UK Center for Community Outreach and SSTOP Hunger, which he says helped build his idea of what it is to be a responsible community member.

Revlett credits several UK faculty and staff for helping him attain his goals inside and outside of the classroom, including Hannah LeGris, admissions and Singletary Scholar coordinator at Lewis Honors College; Clare Batty, associate professor of philosophy; Julia Bursten, assistant professor of philosophy; Amanda Hege, advisor of SSTOP Hunger; Grace-Marie Thompson, advisor for National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week; Lisa Broome, director of student services for the Gaines Center; and Pat Whitlow, director of the Office for Nationally Competitive Awards.

The John Lewis Fellow also praises his family for instilling in him his passion for social justice. "The love my family has surrounded me with my whole life has enabled everything I do. I could never thank them enough for it. That love has also served as the model for how I have come to believe everyone ought to be treated. That is what drives my social justice work."

Upon completion of his bachelor's degree at UK, Revlett plans to pursue a doctoral degree in philosophy.

Revlett applied for the Humanity in Action Fellowship through the UK Office of Nationally Competitive Awards, part of the Chellgren Center for Undergraduate Excellence within the Division of Student and Academic Life at UK. The Office of Nationally Competitive Awards assists current UK undergraduate and graduate students and recent alumni in applying for external scholarships and fellowships funded by sources (such as a nongovernment foundation or government agency) outside the university. These major awards honor exceptional students across the nation. Students who are interested in these opportunities are encouraged to begin work with the office's director, Pat Whitlow, well in advance of the scholarship deadline.

 

UK is the University for Kentucky. At UK, we are educating more students, treating more patients with complex illnesses and conducting more research and service than at any time in our 150-year history. To read more about the UK story and how you can support continued investment in your university and the Commonwealth, go to: uky.edu/uk4ky. #uk4ky #seeblue

 

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