Susan Schecter Fellowship

Susan Schecter

Creating a world where women and children around the world could live free from violence was Susan Schechter’s dream. As one of the most accomplished and respected leaders in the domestic violence prevention movement, Susan was one of the first to seed what has become a worldwide movement to end violence.

The Susan Schechter Leadership Development Fellowship was created in 2005 to honor the rich history of the movement, foster new generations of leaders, and provide opportunities for current and emerging leaders to take the movement to the next level. The program has changed over the years in response to the needs of the field and currently has two focus areas—first to support individual leadership development and secondly, to develop and implement a graduate level, interdisciplinary, course curriculum aimed at increasing the number of trained professionals working to end violence against women and girls.

Over the course of the program, FUTURES has awarded four individual leadership development fellowships to Sharwline Nicholson, Andy Wong, Holly Mattson, and Patricia Duncan Hall to focus on a variety of issues.

group photoWith the desire to reach more emerging leaders, in 2009, FUTURES collaborated with Simmons College’s School of Social Work, to create the Leadership Development in Anti-Violence Work: The Susan Schechter Social Action Seminar. Currently two schools (The University of Connecticut School of Social Work and Simmons College School of Social Work) are offering a semester long, elective course. Each semester’s class brings students of various disciplines together, both graduate and undergraduate to: learn about Susan’s innovative work, to develop their own voice, ask new questions and test their leadership skills. Over the semester students delve into emerging questions in the field of violence prevention and the connection to topics such as community violence, trauma informed care, youth organizing, reproductive health, child sexual abuse and many others.

poster presentation

The course culminates in a poster session presentation where the students present their action plans and the process they went through in developing their project. Alumni are also able to apply to FUTURES for additional resources to continue their work and to present at national conferences related to their area of interest.

This Spring 2014 semester will mark the fifth cohort of students to participate for Simmons college, and the fourth for UConn. Over 135 students have now completed the class and we hear often about the impact the course has made on them. Three additional schools have recently indicated interest in bringing the course to their institutions—The University of Miami,  Michigan State University, and University of California at Berkeley.

On the horizon, FUTURES is dedicated to embedding Susan’s vision within higher education with the hope of reaching hundreds and even thousands of emerging leaders.

Donate to the Susan Schechter Leadership Development Fellowship to foster a new generation of leaders in anti-violence work.

For more information about the Susan Schechter Social Action Seminar please email Leiana Kinnicutt at