ACU student Portillo receives Hogg Foundation scholarship

Posted July 08, 2010

Abilene Christian University student Heather Portillo is one of 10 students at Texas graduate social work programs to receive $50,000 in special scholarship awards honoring the 70th anniversary of the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health.

Portillo wants to become a licensed clinical social worker providing therapy and counseling for teenagers. Her dream job is to be a high school student assistance services counselor. She also hopes to establish a free teen center in Abilene, giving students a safe place to go, as well as tutoring, mentoring and guidance.

"Teenagers in counseling are treated either like adults or like children, and they are neither," Portillo said. "I want to develop a type of counseling that is suited specifically for teens."

ACU's School of Social Work offers Portillo an education that integrates faith and social work. Students who receive a Master's degree in Social Work from ACU go on to work in case management; counseling or therapy; advocacy; and community organization practice, planning, research and management.

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. The scholarship program was created in 1956 by Miss Ima Hogg to attract students to mental health careers.

This year, the Hogg Foundation doubled the number of scholarships to mark its 70th year of promoting mental health in Texas. The foundation was created in 1940 by the children of former Governor James S. Hogg and has awarded millions of dollars in Texas to support mental health services, research, policy analysis and public education.

"Miss Ima truly was gifted in her vision for improving mental health in Texas. The scholarship program she created five decades ago is more relevant than ever today as Texas faces a serious and widening gap between the mental health workforce and the need for services," said Executive Director Dr. Octavio N. Martinez, Jr.

Scholarship recipients must attend a Texas graduate social work program that is accredited or pending accreditation by the national Council on Social Work Education.

The Hogg Foundation is part of the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement at The University of Texas at Austin.

 

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