CHICAGO, IL–Midwestern University pharmacy student Ayesha Khan, a Batavia resident, will soon be spending a year putting her idealism into action. Recently, Ms. Khan was selected for the prestigious Schweitzer Fellowship, a program that enables university graduate students to design and implement innovative projects to help vulnerable Chicago communities.
Ms. Khan will create and implement an adolescent health and wellness curriculum at the East Aurora Magnet Academy in Aurora, Illinois. She will educate middle school students on ways to prevent disease and injury, improve health, and train them to become leaders and promoters of healthy choices. â€œI picked adolescent health as my focus because Iâ€™ve always liked working with younger kids. They have so much enthusiasm and they are very receptive to change,â€ Ms. Khan said.
Starting next fall, Ms. Khan will teach an intensive five-week course at the magnet school which focuses on math, science, and technology. â€œI wanted to do something to help these students, because I know they are great bunch of kids who are really smart and motivated, but they often donâ€™t have the family background or support at home that they need,â€ she said. â€œIf we can reach these kids and can get them to change their health through better choices or habits, then maybe in the future weâ€™ll have people who have developed better lifestyles,â€ she added. Ms. Khan intends to end her course with a health fair where students will present their research on various healthcare topics to fellow classmates, family members, and the community.
Ms. Khan is a third-year pharmacy student at Midwestern Universityâ€™s Chicago College of Pharmacy and believes her participation in the fellowship will prepare her well for her future career as a pharmacist. â€œBeing able to lead and implement a project like this will make me better equipped for the workforce,â€ she said. â€œI think itâ€™s going to be a lot of work, but also a lot of fun. Iâ€™m really looking forward to working with the kids and inspiring them and maybe become a mentor to some of them.â€
Named in honor of Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Dr. Albert Schweitzer, the Chicago Area Schweitzer Fellowship encourages exceptional students to â€œmake their lives their argumentâ€ by addressing the serious health challenges faced by members of society whose important needs are not currently being met. In collaboration with existing community organizations, schools, or clinics, each of the Schweitzer Fellows provides 200 hours of direct service.