The Barb Schmidt Fellowship Continues to Train the Next Generation of Leaders for Social Change
Tuesday, Nov 30, 2021
The Barb Schmidt Fellowship: Cultivating Community Involvement, Advocacy, and Social Change (BSF) was founded in August 2018 and is a sub-unit of PJHR. Inspired by the desire to do something in response to the tragic shooting at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in February of 2018 and in collaboration with Peaceful Mind Peaceful Life , BSF has a vision to help young social leaders learn the tools necessary to sustain themselves for a lifetime of demanding work. Internationally recognized author and mindfulness teacher Barb Schmidt and certified holistic health coach Michelle Maros, co-founders of the non-profit Peaceful Mind Peaceful Life, ground this experience in the practice of mindfulness by introducing techniques to ensure the self-care and sustainability required for successful social movement work. This element of the fellowship provides students a practical demonstration of their maxim that “outer peace begins through inner peace.”
The fellowship is available to high school students in Broward and Palm Beach counties. This year, the cohort of 22 fellows are from 11 different high schools across the two counties. BSF gives students hands on experience through peer-to-peer mentorship and workshops led by social influencers and FAU faculty grounded in a theory-practice curriculum. Students work in groups on a specific project, which they present in a public forum at the end of the fellowship. Successful completion of each semester earns fellows 3 university credits (6 credits total).
Teaching fellows how to communicate a message effectively in a variety of manners across an array of platforms is a primary goal during the spring semester. Guests that assist in accomplishing this goal have included District 22’s Congressional Representative Ted Deutch , Founder of Improv U Anthony Francis, Susan G. Komen Director of Mission and Communication Josh Hirsh, South Florida Field Representative for Oceana Cat Uden, as well as faculty at FAU including Dr. Michelle Lizotte-Waniewski, Dr. Michael J. L. Smith, Dr. Marquese McFerguson, Dr. Nicole Morse, Vicky Thur, John Cutrone, and Joseph Velasquez.
Fellows are looking forward to busy spring, but are especially excited about a three-part workshop with Dr. Yaba Blay , a scholar-activist whose work centers on the lived experiences of Black women and girls.
BSF is led by Director Dr. Karen J. Leader, Curriculum Coordinator Dr. Angela D. Nichols, and Instructor of Record Dr. Maquese McFerguson.