MIUSA & Rotary Propels New Leaders

Megan Smith (right) and a colleague, both who use wheelchairs, look at eachother - photo by www.kiefelphotography.com
Megan Smith (right) - photo by www.kiefelphotography.com
U.S. emerging leader with a disability gets international boost to her career.

Megan Smith began her involvement with MIUSA when she was just 15. “Staff  helped advise me on going abroad on a volunteer program in Costa Rica and Peru,” says Megan, who is a power wheelchair user. “Then, while at university, I spoke at MIUSA conferences and wrote some pieces about my international experiences.” Now, after three years working in the MIUSA office and leading MIUSA leadership exchanges, Megan will head to her next big adventure at the year's end.

Megan has been accepted as a 2014-2015 Rotary Peace Fellow. This fully funded award will lead to a Master’s Degree in Conflict Resolution and Prevention from the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia. As part of the program, Megan will gain field work in an international development organization of her choosing.  

Megan found out about the fellowship through Susan Sygall, CEO and Co-Founder of MIUSA, and the application process was far from easy. After a written application with five essay questions, Megan had three rounds of interviews. The first was with a local Eugene Rotary chapter, Eugene Metro Club, which is the group that will sponsor Megan’s Fellowship. The second interview was with the national Rotary chapter and the third with representatives at the global level.

However, the process was worth the end result. “This is the perfect fellowship for me,” says Megan. “It has all the components I love – the ability to attend university abroad, and a perfect fit for my future professional goals.” She notes that Rotary is renowned for its international network of professionals within international development.

When asked what she would say to others interested in the Rotary Peace Fellowship, Megan says, “Not as many people know about it as should. It’s a fantastic opportunity for young professionals. And we need more people in this field of conflict resolution. Do it.”