Improving Alabama, Improving the World

closeup headshot of lewis fischer smiling into the camera

When you think about experiential learning and leadership development in Student Life, the office of Student Conduct may not be the first one that pops into your head. But for UA senior Lewis Fischer, this office (in conjunction with UA’s Student Government Association (SGA)) has provided a great deal of learning and development opportunities as he helps oversee cases of student conduct as an associate justice.

Lewis and the other associate justices preside over cases involving parking ticket appeals, football ticket penalty appeals and non-academic violations of the Code of Student Conduct. They also strive to ensure that all members of SGA adhere to the SGA Constitution and Code of Laws, assist the SGA Elections Board, host events and present in classrooms to promote proper student conduct.

Of course, Lewis has other responsibilities as well. He keeps up with his coursework and maintains a solid GPA in his impressive double major of economics and finance with a double minor in social innovation and leadership and the Randall Research Scholars Program (while also working on his master’s in quantitative economics with a focus in public policy through the Accelerated Master’s Program!). He works a part-time job on campus with the Office of the Vice President for Student Life, where Dr. Steven Hood aptly nicknamed Lewis “The Hammer” for his work in SGA.

Despite such a heavy workload and a perpetually full schedule, Lewis finds the capacity and competence to perform all of his duties to the fullest, and he remembers being well-trained before his duties began. “The employees in Student Conduct are great. They helped train us for and made sure we knew what we’re doing.” And his experience as an associate justice helped him explore more opportunities at UA.

SGA opened my eyes to all the different things that Student Life has to offer. It added perspective and helped opened my eyes to different paths I can take,” he explained.

Lewis Fischer

One of those paths led Lewis to the Blackburn Institute. As a member of the 2021 Blackburn Institute class, Lewis learned intricate details about the state of Alabama while developing skills in leadership, civic engagement and how to be a positive force for change in the Yellowhammer state. One way they do that is through the New Student Daniel Community Scholarship Program, where students in the institute submit proposals for projects that can further develop the state of Alabama. This program provides Blackburn students with valuable experience related to grant proposals, teamwork, leadership and meaningful community engagement. Many project ideas are submitted, but only one receives the funding to implement the proposal.

Though his project did not receive funding, Lewis enjoyed the experience and feels some connection to the proposals that were selected. “I’m very proud of the work that the Blackburn Institute has done over the past few years,” he said.

In addition to improving communities across Alabama, the Blackburn Institute highly encourages all its students to facilitate diverse opinions, network with people outside their usual circles and become active citizens within their respective communities.

Coming to Alabama and seeing students with such different perspectives and life experiences uniting for the same reason – to make our state and the whole country better than it is now – it’s just so great to meet so many passionate people,” Lewis said. “It really taught me to appreciate other people’s experiences even if they’re different from my own.

Lewis Fischer

These experiences in SGA and the Blackburn Institute sparked a passion for politics within Lewis. He followed that passion all the way to Washington, D.C., where he worked as a congressional intern for Congressman Gary Palmer, House Representative for Alabama’s sixth district. While working with Palmer in our nation’s capital, Lewis gained important life and work experience and met several leaders in the fields of education, finance and policy. His duties as an intern were similar to that of his associate justice duties, so he’s thankful to SGA for the prior knowledge and experience.

“SGA really did help me prepare for that. Every time we passed a resolution or any other kind of legislation on that smaller scale, it ended up helping me in D.C. because I knew the fundamentals,” he said.

He’s also interned with Regions Bank as a government and institutional banking intern and with Goldman Sachs as a global control summer analyst, incorporating his interests in economics and finance.

Lewis returned to Tuscaloosa after his internships and is set to resume his duties as an SGA associate justice for the 2023-2024 academic year. When he started his undergraduate program at the Capstone, he had no idea of the opportunities headed his way.

This university is so large that it can be hard to find your place, but I guarantee there’s a spot for everybody here,” he said. “Use Get On Board Day, use The SOURCE, use what you have available to you as a student and, I assure you, you will find your place here.

Lewis Fischer