Graduate students receive full ride
Within the course of a semester, two bilingual UH students received a scholarship that will cover tuition costs for their two years of graduate school.
The Graduate College of Social Work welcomed Maria Cano and Yuliana Medina, the lastest recipients of the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health Bilingual Scholarship, into its program last fall.
“We are extremely pleased that, once again, University of Houston social work graduate students are being recognized for their excellence by the prestigious Hogg Foundation for Mental Health,” said Ira Colby, dean of the UH Graduate College of Social Work.
“This scholarship offers important support for the professional education of bilingual social workers in Texas.”
Cano and Median were nominated for the scholarship by the college.
One of the requirements of the bilingual scholarship is that each recipient will have to work a minimum of two years in the social work field in Texas upon their graduation from the program.
“Texas has a large Hispanic population and a large percentage of folks in Texas don’t speak English, or it is not their native language,” Merrell Foote, communications director for the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health, said.
“If you’re in need of medical services, the most effective way to get those services is to meet with someone who speaks the same language as you do.”
Cano and Medina have both experienced working in the social work field, according to a UH news release.
Cano has 10 years experience working with companies such as Child Advocate Inc. in Houston and the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services in Brownsville.
Medina, has worked in nursing homes and in shelters for women and children who are survivors of domestic violence. Her inspiration to join the social work field comes from watching her family help children in foster care.
The Hogg Foundation for Mental Health Bilingual Scholarship began offering the scholarships in 2008 and has since awarded it to 82 students. The Graduate College of Social Work created the first bilingual scholarship for social work in Texas and the Hogg Scholarship Program was modeled after the initiative put forth by the college, Colby said.
The program has to date only awarded scholarships to students who are bilingual in English and Spanish, but Foote said the Hogg Foundation has opened the scholarship program to languages other than Spanish if the school could show the need for it.
“This year, for the first time, the University of Houston has said that they want to expand the scholarship program to Asian languages,” Foote said. “So we’re very exited to see how that’s going to work.”
The college is in the process of raising funds to launch the program by the Fall semester of 2012, if not sooner, Colby said.
“We proposed to the foundation our desire to expand our initiative, given the multi-cultural nature of Houston and the necessity to ensure that our social service agencies are staffed with individuals who can work with growing diversity of the greater Houston community,” Colby said.
The Hogg Foundation for Mental Health’s ultimate goal regarding the scholarship program is to increase the linguistic diversity across Texas, Foote said.