Auburn University School of Kinesiology student Emily Munn was recently selected for the Albert Schweitzer Fellowship. She will spend the next 15 months developing and implementing service projects that address the root causes of health disparities in under-resourced communities.
As she pursues her doctoral degree in motor development, Munn researches how cognitive functioning is affected by exercise in individuals with disabilities.
“I try, as an individual and in my career path, to advocate for individuals with disabilities, and when given the chance, educate others on how to do so,” she said. “I truly believe I need the guidance and focus of the Albert Schweitzer Fellowship. I was drawn to this one specifically because of the community of other fellows and the mentors.”
Over the next 15 months, the Eufaula, Alabama, native will be working with individuals with development disabilities to increase their amount of exercise during a given week. While Munn doesn’t know where she will be working yet, she said she’s looking forward to making a difference.
“I hope to be able to advocate for this population and drastically impact this community for the better,” she said. “I hope that the fellowship will be instrumental in developing my skills for educating and applying the knowledge I’ve gained with my studies to my community. I believe that this fellowship will be crucial for progressing these ideals and goals beyond just my realm of influence and into a more significant impact of the entire area.”
Munn joins 16 other graduate students from Auburn, Samford University, the University of Alabama, the University of Alabama at Birmingham and the University of Montevallo. The fellows will learn to effectively address social factors that impact health and develop lifelong leadership skills. In doing so, they will follow the example set by famed physician-humanitarian Albert Schweitzer, for whom their fellowship is named.
Munn’s project will be implemented in collaboration with a community-based health and/or social service organization. The exact projects of the 2020 fellows will be determined through a three-month exploration of needs, community assets, and evidence-based models for interventions. Many community organizations will participate in the training program as co-educators.
“These students have joined us at a critical juncture in our organization’s history,” said Kristin Boggs, executive director of the Albert Schweitzer Fellowship of Alabama. “Thanks to the support from local philanthropic partners, we have added three months to a previously year-long experience. We are impressed by the willingness of these students to devote more time to using data and community voice to accurately understand what organizations and citizens value and desire to see improved.”