The Indiana University Graduate School is pleased to announce Muna Adem as the 2022-2023 recipient of the Wells Graduate Fellowship.
Muna Adem is a Black female refugee who grew up with her immigrant parents and 11 siblings. As a first-generation student, she is all-too-familiar with navigating the psychological, academic, financial, and social challenges of college life.
Rather than view these challenges as deficits, however, Adem uses her personal experiences to gather strength, energy, and drive to help others.
Indeed, Adem’s life speaks to the power of resilience in the face of adversity and the need to give back. After completing high school, Adem co-founded a youth center, Tensta Garden, that provided valuable resources to immigrant youths. Then, as an investigative journalist, she created an organization for young immigrant women and produced news videos on migration and poverty.
Adem is also a past grant recipient and member of the International Chapter of the Philanthropic Educational Organization (P.E.O.) Sisterhood, where women encourage and help each other pursue higher education.
As a sociology graduate student at Indiana University, Adem’s strong sense of justice and fairness is often displayed through her service work. For two years, she volunteered as an emissary for Graduate Student Diversity, sharing her story as a way to remind students that it is possible to succeed even if you start at a disadvantage.
She also assists in the Getting You Into IU program, an effort that identifies first-generation, low-income, and/or minority students interested in pursuing graduate careers in sociology at IU.
As a young graduate student, Adem has established a strong reputation as someone committed to producing research highly respected by the academic community and that makes a broad impact in the community.
Considered the most prestigious award granted annually by The IU Graduate School, the honor exemplifies the qualities associated with IU’s longtime IU president and University Chancellor Herman B Wells: leadership, academic excellence, character, social consciousness, and generosity of spirit.
“Adem exemplifies the type of student recognized by the Wells Graduate Fellowship. Not only is she an outstanding scholar, but she is tirelessly committed to serving other graduate students and the community,” says David Daleke, vice provost for graduate education and health sciences and associate dean of The University Graduate School.
Wells enrolled at Indiana University as an undergraduate in 1921, joining the faculty of the Department of Economics in 1930. He was later appointed dean of the School of Business Administration in 1935 and began his legendary 25-year presidency in 1937.
Upon his retirement in 1962, Wells was named university chancellor, which he held until his death in 2000.
The Wells Graduate Fellowship is valued at $42,000 for the 2022-2023 academic year.
“Adem truly embodies the attributes of the Wells Graduate Fellowship,” says Pamela Braboy Jackson, provost professor of sociology, director of graduate studies, and founding/inaugural director of the Center for Research on Race & Ethnicity in Society. “Much like Herman B Wells himself, Adem leads by “word and deed.”