Public Health grad student Sarah Blackstone named first recipient of Toni Lotsof Internship

Sarah Blackstone (left) and Candice Rilling staff a table at “Fitfest 2013”

Sarah Blackstone (left) and Candice Rilling staff a table at “Fitfest 2013.”

Health Enhancement, NIU’s health promotion program in the Division of Student Affairs & Enrollment Management, has announced the first recipient of the Toni Lotsof Internship.

Sarah Blackstone, a graduate student in Public Health and a lifelong DeKalb resident, is working this summer with “Live Healthy DeKalb County.”

The initiative is a collaboration between Kishwaukee Hospital, the Kishwaukee YMCA, the DeKalb County Health Department and other community groups. Blackstone is assisting with initiatives related to fitness and community gardens.

“I’m really enjoying working with the variety of projects that are part of Live Healthy DeKalb County,” she said.

“It is exciting to be working hands-on out in the community, applying knowledge and skills that I learned in the classroom and in my research projects,” she added. “The people that I’ve met and worked with are great and are committed to making DeKalb County a healthier place to live.”

The internship provides a stipend for one undergraduate or graduate student who is passionate about community health promotion and is willing to work with any of a number of DeKalb County organizations who are working on improving the health of individuals in the area.

The focus of this support is for a project that benefits local DeKalb community residents.

Donna Schoenfeld

Donna Schoenfeld

“Sarah’s passion for health promotion and projects that she has already accomplished during her academic career made her an ideal choice for the first Lotsof Internship student,” said Donna Schoenfeld, director of Health Enhancement.

Funded by the Toni Lotsof Primary Prevention Endowment Fund at the NIU Foundation, the internship is named after Antoinette Lotsof, who was a distinguished faculty member in Special Education and a DeKalb-area community activist who served on the board of directors of a local community health promotion program, Mother Sunshine.

When the program closed in 1982 to become the health promotion program of NIU Health Services, the board voted to donate the remaining fund balance to the foundation to support community-based health promotion initiatives. Individuals interested in furthering the work of this fund can learn more by contacting the NIU Foundation or Health Enhancement.

It is anticipated that the internship will be available each semester as long as funds are available. It is anticipated that applications for the next cycle – spring of 2014 – will be due mid-fall semester 2013. Applications are available online.

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