College of Public Health students Don Brathwaite and Sefonobong Obot have been selected to take part in the 2018 Obermann Graduate Institute on Engagement and the Academy, which meets Jan. 8-12.
The Obermann Graduate Institute is a one-week interdisciplinary program in which UI graduate students from across campus explore how public engagement can enhance teaching, research, and creative work.
During the week, participants discuss theories of engagement and meet with experts, including former Obermann Graduate Fellows, faculty members, UI administrators, and potential community partners. They participate in a site visit—usually a community space that has collaborated with UI partners and that can suggest how to organize a successful partnership. Fellows also develop their own engaged project, which they present in draft form at the end of the institute and then again in a public forum of their choice.
Brathwaite is a joint degree student pursuing both Master of Business Administration and Master of Public Health (MPH) degrees. He holds a BS in Physiology and Health from Maharishi University. He says he considers social justice his lifelong goal.
“Personally, being from an underserved community, I have always wanted to give back,” he says. “It gives me a sense of fulfillment. It gives me a purpose, being able to take what I have learned…to give others a chance to experience health, wellness, and happiness.”
Obot is a second-year MPH student in community and behavioral health. She earned a BA in biological chemistry and political science at Grinnell College. In the future, she hopes to earn her MD so she can practice as a preventative medicine physician (primary care), where her public health background will be advantageous in addressing underlying health disparity and inequity among her patients. She is also very interested in languages and hopes to continue learning Chinese.
See the full list of 2018 Fellows.