Loyola University Chicago

School of Social Work


Two Social Work Students Named 2023-24 Schweitzer Fellows

Two Social Work Students Named 2023-24 Schweitzer Fellows

Two Loyola School of Social Work students were recently recognized by Health & Medicine Policy Research Group as 2023-24 Schweitzer Fellows. Fatima Rasoul and Jacque Leuken were both awarded the prestigious honor, which aims to empower emerging leaders in the field of social work to make a significant impact in the lives of underserved communities.

Rasoul and Leuken were selected from a pool of accomplished applicants based on their outstanding academic achievements, research proposals, and their dedication to improving the well-being of marginalized populations. The Schweitzer Fellowship will provide them with a unique opportunity to delve deeper into their research projects and translate their findings into tangible solutions for real-world problems.

"I’m a first-generation grad student and my parents are refugees from North Iraq, so the project I proposed is a support group for refugee and immigrant mothers," said Rasoul, who is pursuing a dual MSW/MA in Women's Studies. "I want to focus on the mental health of mothers because of how isolating the circumstances of being a refugee or an immigrant can be, and also the impact that mothering has on the mental health of women."

Leuken, an MSW student, also holds a personal connection to her project proposal.

"The proposal I've got and the project is weekly support groups focusing on a poulation of people who are caregivers and supporters of loved ones with cancer," Leuken said. "Both of my parents have been diagnosed with cancer so I've been in and out of the different levels of support they've needed."

Leuken holds an undergraduate degree in theater, which inspired her to incorporate music, theater, dance, or art into each of the group's sessions.

Two other Loyola University Chicago students, Simon Park and Karen Yuan, both of the Stritch School of Medicine, were recognized as Schweitzer Fellows. In addition to their service projects, Rasoul, Lueken, Park, Yuan, and the rest of the cohort will participate in a thirteen-month program that includes monthly meetings, trainings, and ongoing opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration. The fellows will also receive support from a team of mentors from their schools, project sites, alumni network, and staff. More than 700 Schweitzer Fellows in Chicago have provided more than 120,000 hours of community service to 150 community groups over the course of the program’s 27-year history.

About the Schweitzer Fellowship

Using an interdisciplinary approach, the Schweitzer Fellowship exposes students to interprofessional collaborative care and aims to develop lifelong leaders in service. The 2023-24 Fellows include students from 11 schools and 11 different disciplines, ranging from nursing to urban planning and public health. The exceptional class of Fellows was selected from a pool of almost 100 applicants through a competitive process.

The Fellows for Life Program provides continuing leadership development and service opportunities for Schweitzer alumni. The Chicago Area Schweitzer Fellowship program is one of 13 nationwide and is administered by Health & Medicine Policy Research Group.

Health & Medicine Policy Research Group is an independent policy center that conducts research, educates, and collaborates with other groups to advocate policies and impact health systems to improve the health status of all people.