(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.
Robert Penn Warren said: “How do poems grow? They grow out of your life.” That is certainly true for Carmen Tafolla. An associate professor of practice with the UTSA College of Education and Human Development, Tafolla has authored more than 20 acclaimed books of poetry and prose, including "The Holy Tortilla and a Pot of Beans." It won the Tom´s Rivera Children’s Book Award in 2009.
Tafolla is a San Antonio native who grew up on the West Side. Attending a private high school, she realized that the literature did not positively portray her community or the people who lived there. She determined to change that in her writing. In published works for both adults and children — more than 200 anthologies, magazines, journals, textbooks and readers in four languages — Tafolla reflects on the rich Mexican-American culture of San Antonio in which she grew up.
Did you know? Tafolla was San Antonio's first Poet Laureate, from 2012 to 2014, and currently serves as the Poet Laureate of Texas.
Discover resources and strategies for teaching Tejano history and culture and get a special educator's tour of the new long-term exhibit, Los Tejanos.
Institute of Texan Cultures, 801 E. Cesar E. Chavez Blvd.
This annual symposium is an opportunity to discuss Texas higher education issues and trends with Texas higher education scholars, state and local government officials, students, and campus and local community members.
This cowboy-themed programming, offered in conjunction with Our Kids Magazine's Kidcation Week, gives families the opportunity to visit with cowboy docents, enjoy readings and visit activity tables.
Institute of Texan Cultures, 801 E. Cesar E. Chavez Blvd.
Join President Ricardo Romo, The Spirit of San Antonio Marching Band, students, faculty and staff to light the monument at the Main Campus entrance at the stroke of midnight.
John Peace Boulevard Entrance, Main Campus
Join university President Ricardo Romo on the Bill Miller Plaza for his annual free BBQ lunch.
Bill Miller Plaza, Downtown Campus
Join university President Ricardo Romo on the Convocation Center lawn for his annual free BBQ lunch.
Convocation Center East Lawn, Main Campus
The UTSA Alumni Association hosts this annual gala honoring the Alumna of the Year, Alumnus of the Year and the Alumnus of the Year Lifetime Achievement award winners.
Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort & Spa, 9800 Hyatt Resort Dr.
Shrugging off retirement, the Bromley founder plans to earn a PhD and complete a 375-mile race
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