Naomi Rosen, AM’15 | Social Service Administration

2015-2016 Humboldt Foundation German Chancellor Fellow

What drew you to the Humboldt Foundation German Chancellor FellowshipWhat about it seemed like a good fit for you and your work at the time that you were applying?

I was drawn to the Humboldt Fellowship because although I had just finished my Masters, I wanted an opportunity for further learning about the fields of art therapy and social work before entering into direct work with clients. This fellowship allowed for a year of exploration, learning about other cultures, and finding ways to consolidate my years of knowledge and learning. I also wanted to work in an international context and learn more about the field from a variety of perspectives and experiences. I was interested in learning another language and becoming immersed in another culture and after a visit to Berlin in 2012, I had always been interested in Germany. Finally, I wanted to meet other like-minded colleagues who could be potential collaborators in the future. The German Chancellor Fellowship offered all of these opportunities.

As the fellowship period draws to a close, is there a particular experience that has been memorable or that stands out to you (or that perhaps has even surprised you)? 

It has been an incredible year! I have learned so much about myself professionally and personally. I have met lifelong friends who inspire me with their passion, hard work, creativity, and insight. I have become conversational in German, arriving only speaking a few sentences, and I have learned so much about the Germany, including the history, politics, and culture. As we celebrated our final meeting and had a certificate ceremony, honoring each Fellow, I was amazed at the support and warmth I was surrounded by. Each of the forty people were loudly cheered for and congratulated. They were greeted with smiles and jokes. We exchanged hugs and talked about how much we would miss each other and when we could visit each other in our home countries. We discussed possibilities for future projects in Germany and beyond. We shared how much we had learned from one another and reflected how close we had all gotten. While I expected this fellowship year to be one of personal growth and expanding my professional knowledge, I had never expected this to be a year where I would develop such a strong community and group of peers, colleagues, and friends.

The Humboldt Foundation’s emphasis on leadership experience can be daunting for many graduate students. Is there any advice you would offer students who are thinking about applying?

The Humboldt Foundation emphasizes future leadership, not necessarily being a leader in the here and now. They are looking to support the development of a person, not a project, as they always tell us. Your connectedness, passion, drive, and dedication to your work and to the larger society is more important to them than your resume, although that is important too. They are looking for people who will be bridges between their home country and Germany and who are invested in collaboration and working together towards a better future. A future leader does not necessarily mean running your own organization or working with Senators, although it might. It means being invested in making a difference in the world and taking concrete, successful steps towards that goal. So expand your definition of what being a “leader” means. How do you emulate those values? In what ways has your work and experiences exhibited potential for your leadership in the future?

More about Naomi

 Naomi Rosen has a Bachelors in Science in Theater from Northwestern University and a Masters in Social Work from the University of Chicago’s School of Social Service Administration. While at SSA, her concentration was in clinical social work with a focus on art-based methods, LGBTQ Affirmative Practice, and Trauma-Informed Practice. Her project as a German Chancellor Fellow explores art as a tool for trauma healing and restorative dialogue with immigrant and refugee communities affected by FGM and other forms of gender-based violence.

More about the Humboldt Foundation German Chancellor Fellowship

The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation’s German Chancellor Fellowship Programme is targeted at university graduates from the United States, the Russian Federation, the People’s Republic of China, Brazil and India who have an international outlook and initial leadership experience. It addresses prospective decision-makers, multipliers and thought leaders from a broad range of professional fields such as politics, public administration and business as well as society and culture. The fellowships give them the opportunity to spend a year in Germany networking with other prospective leaders from abroad, who are also sponsored by the Humboldt Foundation, and to explore new solutions to the global issues of our times. With this programme Germany once again presents itself as a destination of choice for intercultural dialogue and as a meeting place for the international leaders of tomorrow. All fellows receive a generous stipend and funding for transportation and German language study. The deadline for travel in 2018-2019 will be September 15, 2017.