Skip to Content
Walden Magazine // Aug 01, 2012

Commitment to Social Change Scholarship Recipients Announced

Seven new students are recognized for their missions to promote social change around the world.

August 2012—In July 2012, Walden University awarded seven incoming graduate students the Commitment to Social Change Scholarship. This scholarship recognizes the social change contributions the recipients have already made in their respective fields and ensures they will continue to do more of the same as they work toward their Walden degree.

The next application deadline is Oct. 1, 2012. Read the application criteria.

This doctoral student received $25,000:

Recipient: Linda “Lin” Chen
Hometown: Westchester, N.Y.
Title: Health services and health informatics researcher
Program: PhD in Management

Social Change Achievement: Lin Chen has held program management and research positions in public health organizations and in the pharmaceutical industry, which have led to valuable hands-on research experience. Most recently, she conducted secondary database studies using aggregated data from health insurance claims and other sources at a major pharmaceutical company. She has published peer-reviewed articles, conducted population-based research studies, and presented her findings in poster sessions sponsored by the American Heart Association.

Social Change Goal: To offer access to accurate and detailed data through collaborations, webinars, and teleconferences to the public health and health services research community to promote evidence-based research and decision making.

These doctoral students received $5,000 each:

Recipient: Nike Gazonas
Hometown: Flemington, N.J.
Title: Medical education and grant development consultant at Athena Education Group LLC, in Lambertville, N.J.
Program: PhD in Public Health

Social Change Achievement: Nike Gazonas founded the medical education company Athena Education Group, LLC, to motivate healthcare providers to change their practice behaviors in areas where there are gaps in skills, attitudes, knowledge, or competence. Through Athena, she designed a project that increases pediatric immunization by reaching 5,000 primary care providers.

Social Change Goal: To complete an online immunization project to increase vaccine rates in all age groups.

Recipient: Stephen Mucheke
Hometown: Maputo City, Mozambique
Title: Senior technical officer for an HIV-prevention program in Mozambique
Program: PhD in Public Health

Social Change Achievement: Stephen Mucheke is a behavioral communication expert with more than 17 years of experience in the promotion of reproductive health and HIV prevention. As a senior technical officer for an HIV-prevention program, he is responsible for leading public health behavioral communication programs. He also has designed and implemented prevention programs for children and adults and has trained groups about HIV.

Social Change Goal: To teach public health professionals to become advocates for healthy communities and committed social change agents.

Recipient: Michelle C. Watkins
Hometown: El Paso, Texas
Title: Assistant professor at El Paso Community College in El Paso, Texas
Program: Doctor of Education (EdD)

Social Change Achievement: As an education research associate at the Arizona Department of Education in the 1990s, Michelle Watkins helped research and write the Arizona Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act grant funding proposal, which helped the state of Arizona receive federal funding from the U.S. Department of Education and pass the funds along to local school districts. As an assistant professor, Watkins has developed a course about family violence and presently teaches classes with domestic violence-related components. She also secured grant funding for a domestic violence prevention “shoe card” program in English and Spanish to help women learn the signs of abuse.

Social Change Goal: To help women and children who are victims of domestic violence receive the services they need to be successful in college and in life.

These master’s degree students received $2,500 each:

Recipient: Lule Haruna
Hometown: Mubende, Uganda
Title: Agriculture extension worker in the production department of the Mubende District local government in Mubende, Uganda
Program: Master of Public Health (MPH)

Social Change Achievement: Lule Haruna has worked in rural and urban communities In Mubende, Uganda, since 2001, where he is responsible for improving the standards of living for poor and vulnerable populations and subsistence farmers. In this position, he identifies problems within communities and works to plan, develop, and build programs that benefit them directly: He provides veterinary and health services; inspects food and animals to prevent the transfer of disease from animals to humans; trains farmers and community members in soil and water conservation, tree planting, sanitation, and pollution; and disseminates information about the management of diseases like malaria, HIV/AIDS, and tuberculosis.

Social Change Goal: To improve agriculture production and, as a result, the social well-being of the local people by addressing public health issues.

Recipient: Ronald Johnson
Hometown: Portland, Ore.
Title: Owner of Humanistic Mentoring in Portland, Ore.
Program: MS in Mental Health Counseling

Social Change Achievement: As the owner of Humanistic Mentoring, Ronald Johnson provides mentoring and skills-training services to at-risk youth who are referred by area mental health and human services agencies. Humanistic Mentoring holds weekly recreational, educational, and instructional activities that are open to more than a dozen children.

Social Change Goal: To help at-risk children heal through mentoring and training.

Recipient: Heather Stombaugh
Hometown: Cygnet, Ohio
Title: Owner of JustWrite Solutions in Cygnet, Ohio
Program: Master of Business Administration (MBA)

Social Change Achievement: Heather Stombaugh has secured and managed more than $7.7 million in private, corporate, and government grants for nonprofits across the country, including raising more than $1.1 million in grants in 2011. In 2006, she started JustWrite Solutions to advance the capacity of nonprofits across the country by developing their human and financial potential. Stombaugh helps nonprofit leaders focus their time and resources on assisting their communities.

Social Change Goal: To become a major power broker in the service of national nonprofits.