A record number of Pitt Law students were selected by The Pittsburgh Schweitzer Fellows Program as 2015-16 Fellows. Out of 24 graduate students in the region, four are from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. These students will spend the next year addressing health disparities in western Pennsylvania while developing lifelong leadership skills as an interdisciplinary component of their Pitt Law education.
Kendra Strobel (J.D. ‘17) was selected as an Environmental Fellow, and will work with middle and high school girls with diabetes, addressing mental health issues such as depression and anxiety and the stressors of taking care of a chronic disease. She will implement her project at Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh branches.
Strobel said she is honored to have been chosen. For her, the Schweitzer Fellowship is personal. As a teenager she was diagnosed with diabetes and has experienced the unique stressors of balancing adolescence, high school, and a chronic medical condition.
“It would have been beneficial for me to see a successful young adult living with diabetes,” she said. “And I hope to be that positive role model for the girls involved in my project.”
Pitt Law student Taylor Staiger (J.D. ‘17) was selected as a Traditional Fellow and will provide incoming and newly settled refugees in the Pittsburgh area with support to acclimating to their new life in the United States through the Jewish Family and Children’s Service of Pittsburgh.
Staiger said she is excited to work with an organization such as the Schweitzer Fellowship and has wanted to work with refugees as an offshoot from her interest in law and would specifically like to study and practice in international criminal or human rights law.
"Refugees are the consequences of atrocities that I hope my work as a future attorney will help eradicate," Staiger said. "I could not help these people before their legal and human rights were violated, but I hope to assist them now to rebuild their life in the Pittsburgh area."
Ashley Harris (J.D. ‘16) and Krystin Paul (J.D. ‘16) were selected as Traditional Fellows and will work with at-risk girls aged 12 to 15 in Pittsburgh fostering self-esteem.
Paul said their program will be implemented through the established after school program at the agency Gwen's Girls. The after school program services girls enrolled in their foster care, prevention and reunification services.
"Being selected as a Schweitzer Fellow is a great honor and privilege," Paul said. "There is a lack of gender specific programming for teen girls and implementing our program means that we will be able to help underserved girls to see their potential, work towards their dreams and become positive and productive members of the community."
Last year’s Pitt Law recipient of the Schweitzer Fellowship, Jonathan Ross, will graduate from the program May 3. Ross utilized his Fellowship working with Community Action Southwest in Washington County, teaching households about financial health, budgeting, taxes, and savings.
The Pittsburgh Schweitzer Fellows Program of the Albert Schweitzer Fellows Fellowship is an interdisciplinary fellowship program which started in the region in 1997. A Schweitzer Fellowship is not just a one-time volunteer project, but a gateway for lifelong service. Fellows join a network of nearly 3,000 Fellows for Life – alumni skilled in and committed to addressing the health needs of underserved people throughout their careers.