(July 28, 2011)--Eric Smith, a graduate student at The University of Texas at San Antonio, is one of five outstanding Texas graduate students in social work to receive the prestigious 2011 Ima Hogg Scholarship for Mental Health.
Smith is a second-year student in the UTSA Department of Social Work and plans to graduate in May 2012. After graduation, he wants to provide mental health services to active-duty military members, veterans and their families.
Before entering graduate school, Smith was in the U.S. Army for nearly 30 years. He said his military experience has provided him with a special understanding and appreciation for the mental health needs of veterans and their loved ones.
"During my final year of service as a sergeant major, I became personally acquainted with post-traumatic stress disorder while working with soldiers who had completed multiple tours of duty in Iraq," Smith said. "They had experienced firsthand the horrors of war. Suddenly, they had to cope with feelings that were foreign to them and that they dared not share with others."
Smith said the military continues to struggle with way to best treat nearly 300,000 soldiers who have returned from Iraq with traumatic brain injury, severe depression and other mental health conditions.
"The mental health needs of these soldiers and their loved ones are formidable. My passion for working with them is what led me to enroll in the graduate social work program," he said.
Smith has a bachelor's degree in occupational education from Wayland Baptist University in Plainview, Texas, and a master's degree in computer resources and information systems from Webster University in St. Louis, Mo. He is a member of the National Association for Social Workers.
His scholarship comes at a time when Texas is facing critical shortages in the state's mental health workforce. Texas ranks far below the national average in the number of mental health professionals per 100,000 residents. In 2009, 173 counties in Texas were designated as mental health profession shortage areas, and 40 Texas counties did not have a single social worker.
The Hogg Foundation for Mental Health awards up to five $5,000 scholarships annually to graduate social work students in Texas who plan to provide mental health services after graduation. The scholarship program was created in 1956 by Houston philanthropist Ima Hogg to attract students to mental health careers.
"These scholarships enable the recipients to finish their advanced studies and begin practicing their profession at a time when these skills and knowledge are sorely needed," said Octavio N. Martinez Jr., executive director of the foundation.
The Hogg Foundation was created in 1940 by the children of former Texas Governor James S. Hogg, and is part of the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement at the University of Texas at Austin. The foundation advances recovery and wellness in Texas by funding mental health services, policy analysis, research and public education.
The annual Center for Innovation, Technology and Entrepreneurship (CITE) 100K Venture Competition and Exposition will be held on the Main Campus on Dec. 1. Twenty-eight teams from across the university will exhibit their project; six teams will compete for a prize pool of more than $100,000 in funding to launch their new venture / company. More than 650 students have participated in launching new technology ventures.
Biotechnology, Sciences and Engineering (BSE 2.102), Main Campus
This concert features 50 community children performing music in the UTSA Downtown String Project Winter Concert. The children, led by UTSA music students studying to be music teachers, will join together in playing the Theme from Batman at their concert. The Batman of San Antonio, a local celebrity figure, will make an appearance at the concert. This event is free.
Buena Vista Theatre, Downtown Campus
Graduate student uses storytelling to highlight important issues facing children
As touch screens and e-books demand more and more attention from both casual readers and scholars, many people say the handwriting is on the wall for the printed page.
At UTSA, the handwriting is on the wall for a library that doesn't have any printed books.
Since March 2010, the bookless library in the Applied Engineering and Technology Building has given UTSA students an innovative way to read, research and work with each other to solve problems.
With ultra-modern furniture and a décor featuring desktop computers, scanners and LCD screens, the AET Library is designed to engage students in an online format. But it also offers group study niches and study rooms with whiteboards and glass walls on which students can write. The space encourages teamwork, communications and problem solving for the next generation of scientists and professional engineers.
Did you know? The UTSA AET Library is the nation's first completely bookless library on a college or university campus. It served as a model for Bexar County's first-in-the-nation public bookless library system and one of its branches, the Dr. Ricardo Romo BiblioTech.
The University of Texas at San Antonio is dedicated to the advancement of knowledge through research and discovery, teaching and learning, community engagement and public service. As an institution of access and excellence, UTSA embraces multicultural traditions and serves as a center for intellectual and creative resources as well as a catalyst for socioeconomic development and the commercialization of intellectual property - for Texas, the nation and the world.
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