Three social work students have received Intellectual Entrepreneurship Kuhn Awards for the fall 2015 semester. The students and their respective graduate student mentors or faculty supervisors are:

  • Rachel Walton/Adam MacDonald
  • Taylor Lambert/Wysonda V. Smith
  • Jeanette Pacheco/Nadia Velasquez

Lambert, who aspires to work with children in a clinical setting through play therapy, told the Daily Texan that her mentor has helped her address her fears and anxieties about continuing education.

“[My mentor] and this program have helped me realize that what I’m thinking and feeling is completely normal,” Lambert said. “I definitely feel more secure in my decision to go to graduate school because of her.”

Velasquez, also in conversation with the Daily Texan, said she has enjoyed being a “role model” for her mentee.

“[Pacheco] is a first-generation college student, and so am I,” Velasquez said. “When you go to college at a four-year university, it can be overwhelming. It may even be more overwhelming for students who don’t have social and emotional support [because their parents and siblings have never gone to college].”

The  IE Kuhn Awards are intended to support and encourage first-generation and/or economically-disadvantaged college students to pursue opportunities that further enrich the pre-graduate school internship experience (e.g., traveling to conferences, potential graduate school visits, research endeavors, supplies, and books). Each awardee receives a $1,000 stipend made possible by Michael and Alice Kuhn. The Division of Diversity and Community Engagement (DDCE) provides a matching stipend to the interns’ graduate student mentors.

“We are grateful to the Kuhns and DDCE for providing the funds to enrich the IE Pre Grad Internship experience of these bright students,” said Rick Cherwitz, director of the IE Program. “Awards like these help expand the educational pipeline for underserved populations.”

Since 2013, there have been 86 IE Kuhn Scholars selected from an applicant pool of over 300 eligible students. IE Kuhn Scholars represent 13 UT Austin colleges and schools.

Updated October 21, 2015.