Hogg Foundation for Mental Health Awards Scholarships to Texas A&M – Commerce Graduate Social Work Students
March 24, 2009
AUSTIN, Texas – Two bilingual graduate social work students at Texas A&M University – Commerce have received full scholarships from the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health.
Scholarships recipients Angelica Carrillo of Waco and Lois Stevens of Greenville entered the graduate program in the spring 2009 semester. Fellow graduate student Alma Ramirez of Cookville received a bilingual scholarship from the foundation last fall.
The foundation launched the statewide scholarship program in 2008 to help narrow the gap between the need for Spanish-language mental health services in Texas and the number of professionals who can meet those needs. The foundation committed up to $1 million for the three-year program and awarded scholarships to 29 students in the 2008 – 2009 academic year.
"This program was enthusiastically embraced by participating schools and attracted talented, highly qualified students who will increase cultural and linguistic diversity in their higher education programs," said Dr. Gregory J. Vincent, vice president for Diversity and Community Engagement at The University of Texas at Austin. The foundation is part of the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement.
Recipients must attend one of 11 Texas graduate schools of social work that are accredited or pending accreditation by the Council on Social Work Education. Scholarships cover full tuition and required fees. Students must be fluent in Spanish and English and agree to work in Texas after graduation providing mental health services for a period equal to the timeframe of the scholarship.
"It is imperative to create programs to address the severe shortage of culturally and linguistically diverse mental health professionals in Texas," said Dr. Octavio N. Martinez Jr., executive director of the foundation. "The foundation's scholarships serve to meet that challenge by attracting students who are committed to working in a mental health career and expanding access to Spanish-language mental health services in Texas."
Carrillo plans to become a caseworker after graduation and most recently worked as a youth counselor at the Methodist Children's Home in Waco. She also interned at a hospital while earning her bachelor's degree in social work from the University of Texas at Arlington. She has volunteered for a variety of community organizations that serve children, adults and families.
"My goal is to work with Hispanic youth and families," Carrillo said. "With the master's degree, I can use my bilingual skills to provide mental health services to clients with language barriers."
Stevens wants to provide family and marriage counseling after graduation and eventually teach in a college setting. She is an area team manager with Communities in Schools Dallas Region, working with Commerce Middle School students at risk of dropping out. She also interned in a hospital emergency room while earning a bachelor's degree in social work from Texas A&M University – Commerce.
"A master's degree will give me the knowledge and skills to better understand the role of mental health in a student's ability to be successful in school, and also assist me in understanding how mental health issues affect the entire family," Stevens said.
The Hogg Foundation for Mental Health was established in 1940 by the children of Governor James Hogg to promote improved mental health for the people of Texas. The foundation's grants and programs support mental health services, policy, research and education in Texas. For more information, visit www.hogg.utexas.edu.