Sierra Perez
Sierra Perez

MSSW student Sierra Perez has been awarded the Kenneth H. Ashworth Fellowship for the 2014-2015 academic year.

This fellowship program was established in 1997 by members of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to honor Dr. Kenneth H. Ashworth for his services as commissioner. The purpose of the program is to provide financial assistance to Texas students pursuing careers in public service. Deans and other administrators of graduate programs in various disciplines, including Criminal Justice, Public Affairs Public Health, and Social Work, are invited to nominate students. Only two students are selected each year.

“We are pleased that the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board recognizes the contributions of social work in public service and very proud that Sierra was chosen as the fellowship recipient this year,” said Jane Kretzschmar, assistant dean for master’s programs.

Perez is on the Community and Administrative Leadership (CAL)* concentration of the MSSW program at the School of Social Work. She also participates in the university’s Graduate Portfolio Program in Nonprofit Studies at RGK Center for Philanthropy and Community Service. Perez has demonstrated exemplary leadership through her involvement with several student organizations, including  Social Justice Action Coalition (SJAC), Social Workers Enriching Latino Leadership (SWELL), and the Dean’s Ambassadors. She has already gained real world public service experience through her work through AmeriCorps in College Forward,  Communities in Schools, and Front Steps’ Keep Austin Housed program. Currently, Perez contributes to the School of Social Work as a graduate assistant at the DiNitto Center for Career Services.

“I feel incredibly grateful for this fellowship opportunity,” said Perez. “To me, this fellowship means that I will be able to further pursue a career in public service, continuing my work with nonprofit organizations, and paying it forward to the very same community that has helped me to pursue higher education.”

* In 2015 the CAL concentration changed to Administration and Policy Practice.