Karen Edlund Fellowship

Applications for our 2024 Cohort are closed.


Karen Edlund Future Nurse Leader Fellowship

Leveraging Power through Leadership Development


Program Overview: NSRH seeks to cultivate a diverse community of nurse leaders in sexual and reproductive health (SRH) who come from the communities they serve and represent the patients that are seeking their care. In order to do this, we know we must address the lack of diversity that exists both within the SRH sector and wider nursing workforce. 

The Karen Edlund (KE) Future Nurse Leader Fellowship is one part of NSRH's committement to addressing this lack of diversity. The KE Future Nurse Leader Fellowship suports nursing students of color to leverage their power and become leaders in SRH, reproductive rights (RR) and Reproductive Justice (RJ). We believe that through intentional support and development of historically excluded nurses, we can shift the power structure of nursing and transform healthcare to not only include but celebrate sexual and reproductive health.


karen.pngAbout Karen Edlund: This fellowship is named after the beloved former NSRH Board Member Karen Edlund, RN, an exemplary nurse leader who served as the Director of the SRH Program at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health for 23 years, from 1992 until her retirement in May 2015. During her tenure Karen developed and managed several critical initiatives that have been key to ensuring access to comprehensive SRH services for the people of Massachusetts. In addition to her leadership with the MA Dept of Health, she has also played an important leadership role with several other organizations. Karen served on several Boards including: NSRH, the Cambridge Health Alliance Public Health Board, Provide, and the National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association.



2024 Karen Edlund Future Nurse Leader Fellowship


Eligibility Requirements: The Fellowship cohort will be comprised of currently enrolled nursing students of color with an interest in sexual and reproductive health and justice. Students across degree types (LV/PN, ADN, BSN, MSN, DNP) are encouraged to apply. Additional considerations may be given to students who: 

  • Attend an ADN or LPN program, and/or
  • Attend an HBCU (Historically Black Colleges and Universities), HSI (Hispanic Serving Institutions), or TCU (Tribal Colleges and Universities), and/or
  • Attend a University or program in an underrepresented region

This fellowship is fully remote; fellows can be located anywhere in the U.S. 

Fellowship Timeline: 

  • 2024 Fellowship will run from August 2024-January 2024
  • Applications open April 15, 2024
  • Applications were closed on May 31, 2024
  • Fellows selected by early July

Over the course of six months, Fellows will gain:

  • A deeper understanding of Sexual & Reproductive Health (SRH), Reproductive Justice (RJ), and Reproductive Rights (RR).
  • Skills, tools, and resources  for navigating the healthcare system and challenging white supremacy 
  • One on one mentorship from a professional nurse of color, who will help cultivate professional development, leadership skills, and project management for the applied project component of the fellowship.
  • A peer network of nursing students of color, who are similarly committed to advancing reproductive health and justice.

During the six-month period, Fellows commit to 3 hours/week of study and action. This will include virtual events and webinars, peer-to-peer discussion, professional development coaching sessions, and individualized study through the NSRH Online Institute. 

Each fellow will be compensated $1000.
Applications for the 2024 Cohort are now closed.  

Meet the 2022 Cohort


Chloe Kellom  (she/her)

I am looking forward to meeting other individuals who have similar interests with me in terms of my future career goals. I am excited to hopefully but my project plan into motion and start to make a change in my community. I am overall looking forward to the experience. I have never been involved with anything like this before and I am just excited to see what I learn and how this helps me become the leader I have always wanted to be.

Monica Skoko Rodriguez  (she/they)

I am excited to continue learning about sexual and reproductive health in order to improve public policy and help innovate health systems to be more accessible and equitable for everyone seeking services in this area. I approach nursing from a public health and community-oriented point of view and I am honored to join my peers who bring their own unique perspectives on this journey to increase our expertise and passion in SRH for the betterment of our communities.

Christina Torres  (she/they)

My passion and goal of being of service to women, the queer community, POC, and people of low socioeconomic status is what drives me to stay connected and grow as a provider. I’m most excited to learn in an area of healthcare that means a lot to me and where I am limited in exposure.

Torey Sippio-James  (she/her)

My interest in SRH has sparked while working on a class project in nursing school. The project called for creating an awareness campaign for safe sex practices for teens. It was aimed at preventing STDs. After working with this population and topic, I realized that I liked the focus and wanted to ensure that my career included some aspect of SRH. I have since spent time working in women’s health and pediatrics.

Nayelie Benitez Santos  (she/her)

I am excited to join a group of individuals who as just as passionate about reproductive health to help improve the health of our communities. I also look forward to the mentorship as I move forward in my nursing career as a new nurse. Lastly, I cannot wait to become engaged with my community while conducting my community project, and hope to make a difference, even if it is just connecting one individual to reproductive and sexual health services.

Meet the 2021 Cohort


Leslie Chase  (she/her)

Leslie is a nursing student at Brandman University where she is working toward a BSN degree. She also recently received her Masters of Education in Health and Wellness education and hopes to integrate this knowledge with her clinical knowledge as an RN! Her Nurse Leader project focuses on the intersection of sexual health and safety for people working  in the sex and body work industry. Leslie is partnering with local organizations to partnering to spearhead a resource drive that provides wellness packages and services to these folks.

Melina Lopez  (she/they)

Melina is a student at the University of Pennsylvania, working toward her BSN. For their project, Melina seeks to host a bilingual Women’s Gender and Sexual Health Teach-In in their hometown of Dallas, TX. This program will include content about all kinds of SRH topics, including demystifying beliefs about transgender and gender-nonconforming people, education about pronouns, and consent.

Joy Korley  (she/her)

Joy is part of the MSN/DNP program at Columbia University, where she is specializing in Certified Nurse Midwifery. "This fellowship will enable me to make meaningful connections with other healthcare providers of color, and together we can empower each other to have the strength and resilience necessary to challenge white supremacy in our healthcare system." Through her Nurse Leader project, Joy will facilitate opportunities for health educators in the New York public school system to learn how to incorporate gender identity, sexual orientation, and facilitating open dialogue about sex into their curriculum.

Kristin Ploog  (she/her)

Kristin comes to the fellowship from the University of Maryland where is on the accelerated MSN track. She is starting a chapter of NSRH at her campus and host a debut event for recruits as her Nurse Leader Project. "After earning my RN license, I will take what I learned [from this fellowship] into practice so I can help deliver SRH care in a way that will empower my clients to make the best decisions for themselves regarding family planning and sexual health."

Cassandra Durian  (she/they)

Cassandra is a BSN student at the University of Southern Florida - Sarasota. Their passion for SRH started with their love of working with youth, and Cassandra is excited to expand their network with nurses that have similar passions. Her project for the fellowship focuses on curating training for their nurse cohort to provide trauma-informed care for patients who experience sexual and intimate partner violence.