Kiara Hunter ’23 awarded Rotary Global Grant Scholarship for graduate study abroad

Hunter, a public health and statistics double major, an Odyssey Scholar and a Lumen Scholar, will pursue her master’s degree at University College London next academic year.

Kiara Hunter ’23 has been awarded the Rotary Global Grant Scholarship, a prestigious award that will support her pursuit of a Master’s degree in population health at University College London after graduating from Elon in May. Hunter received the grant from the Piedmont District 7690 Rotary Club.

The $30,000 grant is only given to one student per year who is studying within the Rotary’s six areas of focus: peace and conflict prevention/resolution; disease prevention and treatment; water and sanitation; maternal and child health; basic education and literacy; and economic and community development.

“The areas of focus on the application made a clear statement: ‘Rotary values improving the lives of individuals and communities through service.’ I knew I aligned well with their area of focus in disease prevention and treatment and that this scholarship would give me a vital resource to reach my educational and professional goals,” Hunter said.

The winners of this competitive grant must enroll in universities abroad and maintain a blog of their experience, speak with Rotary Clubs in both the U.S. and their country of study and, if possible, attend their host Rotary Club’s annual regional convention.

At Elon, Hunter is an Odyssey and Lumen Scholar. As a Lumen Scholar, she worked with her mentor, Associate Professor of Public Health Studies Stephanie Baker, to utilize community-based participatory research methods to study the experiences and needs of Black teen fathers. As part of her research, Hunter established a community advisory board that includes professors, researchers, nonprofit leaders, and adolescent fathers; she facilitates the board’s meetings.

“Kiara is a brilliant, remarkable young woman. Her intellectual wisdom is matched by her incredible depth of compassion and grace and all of this shows up in whatever endeavor she pursues. She has taught me so much in the past four years of her undergraduate experience and I am a better professor, mentor and human because of her,” Baker said of her mentee.

In addition to her on-campus successes, Hunter was named a 2022 finalist for the Truman Scholarship, a prestigious national fellowship awarded each year to college juniors who seek to work in education, government, the nonprofit or advocacy sectors or elsewhere in public service.

When asked what experiences best prepared her to receive the Rotary Global Grant, Hunter focused on her work with the National and International Fellowships Office, and the five applications she submitted under their guidance over the course of her time at Elon.

She had the following advice to share with students who might be interested in pursuing similar fellowship opportunities: “Do it! This process has developed in me a discipline and resilience that was only strengthened after putting my best foot forward and hearing many no’s before this ultimate yes. The experience allowed me to reflect on my time at Elon and construct a clear picture of my future academic and professional goals.”

This marks the third year in a row that an Elon student has received the grant from District 7690. Allison Potter was awarded the grant in 2022 to pursue graduate study at the London School of Economics, and Faith Leslie in 2021 to pursue graduate study at the John Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in Italy.

To learn more about the Rotary Global Scholarship, the Fulbright U.S. Student Program and other nationally competitive awards, visit the National and International Fellowships website.