Dr. Mary Schuh, research associate professor of education and director of development and consumer affairs and the National Center on Inclusive Education at the UNH Institute on Disability (IOD), received the Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. Foundation Public Policy Fellowship. This one-year fellowship is based in Washington, DC and prepares fellows for leadership roles in public policy at the state and national level.
"I welcome the challenge of gaining a deeper understanding of both the politics and the policies impacting the lives of individuals with disabilities and their families,” says Schuh. “The question I will continue to ask is: ‘How best can we preserve and promote innovative public policies that create welcoming and supportive communities?’ I hope to have a role in positively impacting the answer.”
Schuh has been with the Institute on Disability since its inception in 1987, working to coordinate family and consumer leadership and educational systems change. In addition to her role at the IOD, she overseas the UNH Department of Education's NH SWIFT Schools subcontract with the University of Kansas. Schuh has more than 30 years of experience in inclusive schools and communities and project management.
Schuh has consulted extensively in the United States, Czech Republic, Slovakia, and the United Kingdom on issues related to supporting students with disabilities and their families in typical school and community environments. She continues in the role of advisor on the award-winning documentary, Including Samuel, and is the author and co-author of a variety of books and other publications related to inclusive schooling.
“Mary's deep commitment and her extensive experiences and knowledge makes her an authentic advocate and engaged scholar,” shares Jan Nisbet, Senior Vice Provost for Research, University of New Hampshire.
During this one-year fellowship, Schuh will learn how federal legislation is initiated, developed, and passed by Congress, how programs are administered, and regulations promulgated by federal agencies. She will also be involved as the disability community works to shape public policy impacting people with disabilities and their families.
Since its founding in 1946, the Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. Foundation has supported the creation of practical programs to benefit persons with intellectual disabilities, their families and their communities. The Foundation has always worked with national leaders who understand both the promise and realities of the U.S.’s system of government. The need for skilled leadership in both government and public policy advocacy has never been greater. In response to this need, the Foundation initiated the Public Policy Fellowship Program in 1980. Fellows receive first-hand knowledge and experience in the development of public policy and the opportunity to participate in an advocacy training workshop, national disability policy seminars, and other learning opportunities.
“I am so grateful to the Joseph P. Kennedy Foundation to have been selected to join the family of Kennedy Fellows and participate in what will probably be one of the most significant learning opportunities of my life,” shares Schuh.