Group photo of the Barb Schmidt Fellowship

Barb Schmidt Fellowship

Participants of the Barb Schmidt Fellowship on set at CBS News Channel 12

Barb Schmidt Fellowship

Participants of the Barb Schmidt Fellowship in class

Barb Schmidt Fellowship

Barb Schmidt with fellowship participants

Barb Schmidt Fellowship


Cultivating Community Involvement, Advocacy, and Social Change


The Barb Schmidt Fellowship aims to provide student leaders with a platform to develop the skills and knowledge needed to initiate, execute, and sustain a social movement. The fellowship gives students hands-on experience through peer mentorship and workshops led by social influencers and FAU faculty. Students will learn key professional and technical skills that are essential for driving social change. After exploring the workings of social movements and gaining the expertise needed, students will then work on their own project of choice, which will be presented at the end of the fellowship and launched as a real intervention related to the project’s goals. All of this is underpinned by a strong ethos of mindfulness, the necessity for activism to include self-care and sustainable expenditures of physical and emotional energy, in order to have maximum impacts. 
The Barb Schmidt Fellowship is comprised of two semesters during the academic year. Successful completion of each semester earns fellows 3 university credits (6 credits total).

Fellowship Brochure


2021-2022 Barb Schmidt Fellows present their projects at our April 30 Awards Ceremony in the Acura Club at FAU Stadium.

The Barb Schmidt Fellowship at FAU.



For further information, contact Karen Leader, Director, Barb Schmidt Fellowship:


Fall Class: SPC 3632 Communication and Social Change (3 Credits)

Participants will attend class two Saturdays per month from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Fellows will explore the dynamics of creating, developing, and sustaining social movements through peer-to-peer and student-to-faculty interactive workshops designed to be a platform for student-driven activism and community engagement. Grounding this experience will be the introduction to and practice of mindfulness techniques to ensure the self-care and sustainability required for successful social movement work.. Each participant is expected to use the Fall classes to develop a project proposal, in consultation and guidance with fellowship faculty, that will then be further developed and launched during the spring semester.

Spring Class: POS 3950 Community Activism in Practice (3 Credits)

During the Spring semester, Fellows will attend class one-two Saturdays per month from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Students will work in teams to design and implement a socially-engaged service learning project. They will create a project portfolio to include all aspects of social movement development and implementation and prepare it for launch at the end of the semester. Curriculum will provide further development of skills and knowledge for this stage of the project. The Fellowship will end in early May with a launch event during which each project is presented.

Dual Enrollment

The fellowship is open to high school students who have completed their freshman year of high school living in Palm Beach or Broward County who qualify for dual enrollment at FAU. Successful completion of the program earns each fellow 6 college credits. All fellowship meetings will take place on FAU’s Boca Raton campus.

Credits from the fellowship can also be counted towards FAU's Peace, Justice and Human Rights (PJHR) Certificate. For more information about the certificate, please visit the Peace, Justice and Human Rights website.

Participant’s Commitment and Financial Support

Given the project-based and participatory nature of the program, students are required to commit to complete the entire program. All fellows selected to participate will receive a $1,000 fellowship stipend to support their participation and work. Dual Enrollment credits are covered by the School District. All other costs are covered by the University, Peaceful Mind-Peaceful Life, and the generous community benefactors supporting the program.   

Fall 2022 Fellowship Dates: Aug 20, Sept 3, Sept 24, Oct 8, Oct 29, Nov12, Nov 19, Dec 10

Spring 2023 Fellowship Dates: Jan 14, Jan 21, Jan 28, Feb 4, Feb 25, Mar 4, Apr 8, Apr 22, Apr 29