(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.
Celebrate 40 years of BestFest, an annual event hosted by Roadrunner Productions as a part of UTSA Homecoming festivities. The event will feature a carnival, food and drink booths, a golf cart parade, firework and live music from Anthem.
Brackenridge Lot 1, Main Campus
Celebrate homecoming as the Roadrunners take on Rice. Come early for the Spirit Walk, tailgating, games, music and food. Stick around for a halftime show with SOSA and the crowning of Mr. and Ms. UTSA.
Alamodome, 100 Montana St., Downtown San Antonio
The Leadership Storytelling Homecoming Brunch brings together UTSA alumni and students to share a delicious meal as well as a roundtable conversation about how experiences in college carry us forward on unique leadership journeys.
University Center, Denman Room (UC 2.01.28), Main Campus
The conference is dedicated to sharing recent knowledge and experiences gained in the area of Big Data by researchers in academia, industry and the government sectors within the areas of business, national security, infrastructure, healthcare and visualization.
H-E-B University Center Ballroom (HUC 1.104), Main Campus
Former National Security Advisor Susan Rice, via webcast, will examine America’s economic, political and security relations with China during CHINA Town Hall, an 80-city live discussion and Q&A on China and Sino-American relations.
Building Building, Richard Liu Auditorium (BB 2.01.02), Main Campus
The African American Studies program proudly presents William "Cruz" Shaw, San Antonio City Councilman and UTSA Alumnus. Event is free and open to the public.
University Center, Retama Auditorium (UC 2.02.02), Main Campus
The graduate fair is an opportunity for the UTSA student body and local San Antonio community to learn about graduate education opportunities. The event is free and open to the public.
H-E-B University Center Ballroom (1.104), Main Campus
President Taylor Eighmy is inviting all UTSA students to "Pizza With The Prez." Come grab a slice of pizza and take the opportunity to introduce yourself to the President. Pizza while supplies last.
Frio Street Building, Food Court Commons Area, Downtown Campus
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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