Nontraditional Baylor Student Awarded $5,000 Hogg Foundation Scholarship to Work in Mental Health

July 7, 2010
News Photo 4909Suzanne White

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Suzanne White thought her academic career was behind her. She had earned undergraduate and graduate degrees in political science a decade ago, had married and was at home in Waco raising two children. It seemed to her that her course in life was set, and she didn't necessarily like it.

"The years at home were painful because I had not figured out what to do with the burning inside of me, the passion for healing, for individuals and for our society," White said.

In 2009, she began her master's degree in social work at Baylor School of Social Work. This week, it was announced she is one of only 10 students at Texas graduate social work programs to receive $5,000 each in special scholarship awards honoring the 70th anniversary of the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health.

"Becoming a mental health practitioner is the reason I went back to school, and receiving this scholarship is just a wonderful confirmation of that," White said. "As a mother of two young children, I was counting on financial aid that does not require me to work in addition to my fulltime course load and internship schedule. This scholarship provides that very thing."

As a social work graduate student, White has worked with children in the Communities In Schools Heart of Texas program in Waco, counseling children in the Mentoring Children of Prisoners program. This coming year, she expects to intern at the Department of Veterans Affairs, working with its SMILE program (Seriously Mental Ill Life Enhancement program).

"I want to work with people in Central Texas who are in need of compassion and support as they struggle through mental illness and help them reach their goals for recovery and wellness," White said. "I hope to impact the community by advocating for improved access to services for people who could benefit from professional mental health services."

White's family made significant adjustments when she returned to college, but she said the program has been fulfilling and healing for her.

"The hope it has restored to me has made me more functional, despite the busyness, and I have grown tremendously, which has improved all my relationships. I know that it has made me a better mother."

Helping others achieve wholeness is what she longs to bring to her clients as a social work counselor. "I hope that by receiving competent services, my clients will bring more honesty and functioning into their own families and networks, and have greater confidence in their ability to impact their communities," White said.

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Hogg Foundation for Mental Health

In recent years the Hogg Foundation has awarded five $5,000 Ima Hogg scholarships annually to graduate social work students who plan to provide mental health services after graduation. This year, to mark its 70th year of promoting mental health in Texas, the foundation doubled the total scholarships and students who receive it. The scholarship program was created in 1956 by Miss Ima Hogg to attract students to mental health careers.

Baylor Contact: Vicki Kabat, Baylor University School of Social Work, (254) 710-4417

Hogg Foundation Contact: merrell.foote@austin.utexas.edu

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