SON Wins Spotlight Award for Nicaragua Project
Fairfield University will be honored with a “Senator Paul Simon Spotlight Award” for an endeavor educating both Nicaraguan and Fairfield students, while
improving the health of people in Nicaragua.
The public health nursing work in Nicaragua has addressed a variety of health issues, including HIV/AIDs awareness, cardiovascular health, and hygiene. Each project is carried out by Fairfield’s School of Nursing students, led by Assistant Professor Lydia Greiner, working with UCA social work students as well as community leaders, assisted by UCA students in the Teaching English as a Second Language program. Fairfield’s nursing students participate as part of their clinical experience for Public Health Nursing, a service-learning course.
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Northwestern University will also be honored with the Spotlight Award, which will be presented by NAFSA: the Association of International Educators at an event in Washington, D.C. later this year. Named for the late Senator Paul Simon of Illinois, the Simon Awards recognize outstanding and innovative achievements in integrating international education on U.S. college campuses.
“Our work in Nicaragua epitomizes one of the best aspects of a Fairfield education,” said Greiner, MSN, APRN, a faculty member in Fairfield University’s School of Nursing, who submitted the application which described the on-going collaboration among Fairfield’s nursing students, Nicaraguan students of social work, and community members to address health concerns. The endeavor springs from Fairfield University and Universidad Centroamericana (UCA), in Managua, Nicaragua, signing a 2004 collaborative agreement, which has forged a strong institutional link between two Jesuit institutions from very different realities.
Lynn Babington, Ph.D., dean of the School of Nursing, said international experiences broaden students thinking and prepares them to be global citizens. “We are very proud of the project Lydia and colleagues have developed and are committed to its continued growth and success.”
Dr. Mayra Luz Perez Diaz, president of UCA, finds the initiative to be a highly innovative form of collaboration allowing for faculty and students from both partners to have an internationalization and intercultural experience.
The Fairfield-UCA partnership also involves the exchange of undergraduate students between the two schools; the creation of a scholarship by Fairfield that enables one UCA student per semester to study at Fairfield; and the establishment of a study abroad program open to undergrads from any institution in the U.S.