Two students from the University of Houston received the highly-competitive Hogg Foundation Bilingual Scholarship, which is awarded to students who are bilingual and intend to work in Texas mental health care services.
Victoria Reyes and Emilio Herrera will use the funds to fully cover tuition and fees for their upcoming semesters at UH’s Graduate College of Social Work.
“There is a great need for bilingual clinicians in the field of mental health,” said Reyes, who said she intends to work with child victims of sexual abuse after she graduates.
“In the past four years the program has awarded (more than) 100 scholarships to bilingual students who have demonstrated a passion and dedication to work with the Spanish-speaking population of Texas.”
Herrera, who has experience working within youth-related services, said he hopes to assist Spanish-speaking youth and families in the Houston area who may find mental health services inaccessible.
“As an individual who is fortunate to speak two languages, English and Spanish, I find myself in a privileged position to assist families who, as they navigate the mental health system, may find it difficult to receive proper care due to language barriers,” said Herrera.
Winning the highly-competitive scholarship came as a shock to both students.
“I knew that the scholarship process was a competitive one and to be completely honest, I wasn’t exactly holding my breath when it came to expecting good news about the scholarship,” said Herrera.
Reyes had been considering postponing her education before receiving the scholarship.
“There were things going on in my life that made me question whether or not this was the right time to pursue my master’s degree, and receiving the news of the scholarship was exactly what I needed to reassure me that my time was now,” said Reyes.
Reyes has recently been selected to be part of the Child Trauma Project, a nonprofit program in Houston that helps mistreated and traumatized children through direct service and education.
Herrera plans to arrange an extensive “Day-Laborer for a Day” project, he said.
“To be completely honest, I have no clear objective for the project — simply a desire to better understand and appreciate the plight of the undocumented immigrant,”Herrera said.
Both students accredit their success to helpful faculty members and professors for their assistance and encouragement that led them to win this award.
The scholarship was awarded to the students on March 12 by the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health.