July 3, 2013

Fisher's Schweitzer Fellow helping disadvantaged women


There was one thing  Nicole Sillaman, a 2013-2014 Albert Schweitzer Fellow, knew with certainty:  she wanted a master’s degree.

So when it came time to decide on what type of master’s degree she would pursue, instead of returning to the College of Public Health where she got her undergraduate degree, she chose Fisher’s MBA for Working Professionals program.

“I wanted a degree that would give me more exposure and would give me an opportunity to work in another field if I decide to leave the health-care field,” Sillaman said.

She is currently program coordinator for the Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine Fellowship Program at the Wexner Medical Center. Yet, Sillaman has interests in working with nonprofits and social services, which was one of the reasons she applied to be a Schweitzer fellow.

As an Albert Schweitzer Fellow, Sillaman is now gaining more exposure to new fields through her project with Dress for Success. The nonprofit organization provides interview suits and career development to unemployed and low income women.

The prestigious Schweitzer fellowship is awarded to individuals who work to improve the lives of disadvantaged people in their community and through work with health and human services. There are more than 250 graduate students across the nation selected to become Schweitzer fellows.

Sillaman’s Dress for Success project is the establishment of a woman-to-woman career mentorship program for the organization’s clients. Nancy Lahmers, executive director of the Graduate Programs, helped Sillaman identify Dress for Success to develop the project.

“I’m working to make this a holistic program where it is not just career mentorship, but overall health and wellness for women, as well as social and financial components,” Sillaman said. She is working in partnership with the Columbus Professional Women’s Group to identify mentors. Sillaman and her volunteers are building the curriculum and creating materials for the program. The targeted launch date for the six-month mentorship program is in September.