2019 Ima Hogg Scholarship recipients


Each year, the Hogg Foundation awards Ima Hogg Scholarships to graduate social work students who have committed to joining the mental health workforce.

An investment in their post-graduate careers is an investment in improving the quality of mental health services across Texas, where the mental health workforce is in critical condition.  Reports from 2015 revealed that more than 70 percent of counties across the state didn’t have a single psychiatrist in residence, leaving 3 million Texans without access to psychiatric services.

This year, 18 graduate social work students from across Texas received scholarships of $5,000 each. Nominated by the heads of their social work programs, these students were chosen for their potential to bring renewed energy to the Texas mental health workforce.

The 2019 recipients are:

Ashli Andrews, West Texas A&M University
“I would like to open up my own practice after I become a licensed clinical social worker and specialize in mental health. I hope to be the person who gives others in their darkest times a new perspective on their lives and situations.” 

Laci Bach, Abilene Christian University
“I am confident earning my degree will have profound long-term ramifications for me and my clients. The desire to serve others runs deep within my soul.”

Deandra Bueno, Texas A&M University–Kingsville
“I have been blessed with the opportunity to educate myself.  I am inspired to contribute to rural South, Texas, where I was born and raised.  It deserves the nourishment of advocacy and growth.” 

Elaine Cantu, The University of Texas at San Antonio
“Without my mother having a social worker guiding our family, I wouldn’t be the person I am today. I would like to be that person for someone else.” 

Chris Carrillo, Texas Tech University
“I am committed to working with the mental health population not only due to my learning how mental health has affected my family, but also seeing that mental health affects everyone.” 

Shae Ebrahimi, University of North Texas – Texas Women’s University
“Graduate school has enhanced my interest and enthusiasm in social work in the mental health field of delinquency prevention and resilience in vulnerable populations of children and adolescents.” 

Bianca Escobar, The University of Texas at Rio Grande Valley
“By furthering my education, I will continue to advocate for those in need. I want to help change views on mental health and the challenges that come with its.” 

Martha Flores, Our Lady of the Lake University
“In my future I hope to work with children and families through nonprofit organizations or leadership that will improve the effectiveness of services going into communities.”

Yumiko Kasai, Texas A&M University–Commerce
“I strongly believe that social work professionals work as catalysts to bring about real change, to relieve suffering, to create hope and to identify paths for marginalized populations.” 

Julia Lasker, The University of Texas at Austin
“I entered the field of social work to be an advocate for those who do not have a voice because of their age, gender, ethnicity, socio-economic status, sexual orientation or other societal labels.” 

Elizabeth Leclaire, University of Houston
“I chose social work, and specifically mental health counseling, as a career because I believe that mental health services are simultaneously one of the most important and overlooked areas within the social service sector.” 

Ivon Mendoza, Texas State University
“I am passionate about promoting mental well-being and services that can alleviate stress within the home to promote healthy development in children and adults.” 

Samantha Ostendorp, The University of Texas at Arlington
“Not only does this award symbolize the foundation’s belief in my abilities, it is also speaks to the importance of staffing the mental health field with as many passionate, well-equipped professionals as possible.” 

Anthony Tellez, The University of Texas at El Paso
“Armored with my education, I hope to become an intricate part of an organization which advocates for the rights of minorities and other marginalized populations who are touched by mental health issues and disabilities.”  

Megan Thielman, Texas Christian University
“I plan to work in the field of adoption, particularly with older children and children with disabilities. Throughout my career, I will advocate for children with disabilities and older children who need families.” 

Amanda Tindell, Tarleton State University
“Not only does this award symbolize the foundation’s belief in my abilities, it is also speaks to the importance of staffing the mental health field with as many passionate, well-equipped professionals as possible.” 

Najeeah Smith, Baylor University
“As a result of my commitment and love for serving and helping others, I see becoming a social worker as a platform to expand my current acts of service and advocacy for anyone in need.” 

Alicia Vera, Stephen F. Austin State University
“Taking this step to pursue my master’s was a big leap for my family. This process has definitely been challenging, but I believe the greater good that I will accomplish with this degree will be well worth the sacrifices made.”