The W.K. Kellogg Foundation has selected a graduate student from The University of Southern Mississippi to participate in its inaugural Community Leadership Network, a fellowship dedicated to helping vulnerable children and their families.
Shelia Nabors of Tupelo, Miss., a graduate student in the College of Health’s School of Social Work, is one of the 120 selected fellows from the 2,000 applicants. The first class consists of leaders from the foundation’s targeted areas of Mississippi, Michigan, New Mexico and New Orleans.
“The group includes social workers, senators, and lawyers. I am honored and grateful to be amongst such heroes,” said Nabors.
Fellows will spend three years strengthening leadership skills to help address poverty and racial inequality. Nabors will attend quarterly meetings to collaborate with her cohort and participate in development activities. She will also create a community project that will be implemented at the end of the fellowship. A stipend is provided to aid with travel and the launch of her chosen project.
“My project will center on the whole person. The whole person includes the individual, their families and the systems they are involved in,” said Nabors. “I am really looking at breaking the cycle of poverty through education and direct service activities that will increase human capital while all the while focusing on racial harmony.”
To implement the project she hopes to partner with an existing north Mississippi nonprofit. “Even though it will be in north Mississippi, it may indirectly impact all of Mississippi. When you are looking at it from an economic development standpoint, families receiving government assistance impacts all of us,” she said.
Nabors attributes her success to the support of social work faculty, especially Dr. Susan Hrostowski, Dr. Jerome Kolbo and Dr. Missy Rowley. “As part of the fellowship, we have assignments. The assignments are challenging but not impossible because of my experiences at USM. USM is equipping me for this journey.”
Nabors said she always wanted to attend Southern Miss and study social work. “There is no other profession where you can start where people are and help them reach their fullest potential.”
To learn more about the School of Social Work visit, www.usm.edu/social-work. To learn more about the W.K. Kellogg Foundation Community Leadership Network and other selected fellows visit, www.wkkf.org/leadership.