Each year, the Hogg Foundation awards Ima Hogg Scholarships to social work graduate students who have committed to joining the mental health workforce. Supporting their career goals is a sound investment in the quality and quantity of mental health services across the state. 

Texas’s mental health workforce is in critical condition. Many Texans, especially those living in rural communities, lack access to quality care due to a severe shortage of mental health professionals. The Ima Hogg Scholarship recipients will play a vital role in addressing this urgent need. 

This year, we’ve awarded scholarships of $5,000 to each of 22 social work graduate students from colleges and universities across the state. Nominated by faculty, they were chosen for their commitment to strengthening the well-being of communities as professionals in the Texas mental health workforce. 

The 2023 recipients are:

Jasdeep BatthJasdeep Batth

University of Texas at Austin
“I hope to help fill the need for South Asian mental health providers by providing direct clinical services, creating culturally adapted interventions to better equip other providers, and focusing on community-based initiatives.” 

Kyndal Bell Kyndal Bell

West Texas A&M University
“I aspire to be the light in my patients’ eyes and their helping hand whenever they need one, and I believe that being a licensed social worker will provide me with that opportunity.” 

Mariel BustamanteMariel Bustamante

University of Texas at El Paso
“In my career as a social worker, I plan to stay in El Paso and serve my community, focusing specifically on migrant children’s mental health.”  

Adrianna ByrdAdrianna Byrd

Texas A&M University – Texarkana
“One of my essential goals as a social worker is to provide therapy that addresses the trauma of children who have had adverse childhood experiences.” 

Ella CrimmingsElla Crimmings

Abilene Christian University
“My experience advocating for and spreading awareness of mental health challenges has inspired me to pursue social work professionally.” 

Donald EscamillaDonald Escamilla

University of Texas at San Antonio
“As a social worker, my goal is to help destigmatize mental health in the school systems.”  

Frances FisherFrances Fisher

University of Houston
“As a social worker, I hope to do my part to close the disparity gap between the number of mental health providers and the number of children needing services.”

Desiree FlemingDesiree’ Fleming

Stephen F. Austin University
“I hope to work with individuals and families who have been affected by trauma, been incarcerated, used substances, and/or have intellectual or developmental disabilities.” 

Brenda GarciaBrenda Garcia

Texas A&M University – Kingsville
“I have seen firsthand the role social workers play in giving individuals and communities the tools they need to overcome challenges and improve their lives.” 

Eddie JimenezEddie Jimenez

University of Texas at Arlington
“I plan to work with immigrants to Texas, especially the Spanish-speaking population, to help them overcome the unique challenges they face when trying to access mental health services.” 

Maddox MillerMaddox Miller

Texas Tech University
“My goal as a social worker is to enhance the overall well-being of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, a population that is commonly underserved, underrepresented, and overlooked in the mental health field.” 

Raul OzunaRaul Ozuna

Texas Christian University
“I hope to pursue a social work career giving clinical guidance to Latinx/e families who have language barriers with their children due to cultural assimilation.” 

Alexandra PustkaAlexandra Pustka

Angelo State University
“Upon graduation I intend to work with children in some capacity, using my clinical education to accurately and effectively treat them, and make a difference in their lives.”  

Anna RakosAnna Rakos

Baylor University
“My ultimate career goal is to provide unconditional positive regard to LGBTQIA+ youth navigating their identities and mental health disparities.” 

Sarah SalasSarah Salas

University of Texas Rio Grande Valley
“My goal as a future school social worker is to assist students dealing with mental health challenges and trauma and guide them to succeed in life despite the hardships and obstacles they have faced.” 

Jessica Sanchez Jessica Sanchez

University of North Texas
“As a social worker, I hope to help those who are dying to die with dignity and help those who are left behind learn to live with the loss.” 

Melissa SchmitzMelissa Schmitz

Texas A&M University – Commerce
“My goal is to provide mental health interventions to individuals that are often left untreated due to living in rural areas.” 

Casey StegallCasey Stegall

Our Lady of the Lake University
“I wish to one day help make foster care in the state of Texas a better place for children and families.” 

Jennifer Davila ValdesJennifer Davila Valdes

Texas State University
“I plan to work with Hispanic individuals, groups, and families, dedicating my social work career to helping others improve their mental health and well-being.” 

McKenzie Virgil McKenze Virgil

Tarleton State University
“As a social worker, I hope to make community living easier for individuals who require mental health services and help bridge the gap between quality of care and community services.” 

Ronald WestRonald West

Prairie View A&M University
“My goal is to work in underserved and diverse community settings to provide interprofessional prevention and treatment services for children, adolescents, and transition-age youth with behavioral health needs.” 

Dominique YbanezDominique Ybanez

Texas A&M University – Kingsville
“I plan to become a school social worker and have the opportunity to use my cultural sensitivity in providing mental health services and to advocate for students’ and families’ specific needs.” 

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