Master’s student Stella Sacks is the 2020 Ima Hogg Scholarship recipient for The University of Texas at Austin.

This scholarship, awarded by the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health, addresses the need for more trained social workers to provide quality mental health services across Texas. The foundation awards only one scholarship per university per year. Recipients are selected on the basis of academic achievement and their commitment to providing mental health services after graduation.

“My desire to become a social worker was born from my relationship with my older brother,” Sacks said. “He possessed a predisposition for anxiety and depression, which led him to begin recreational use of prescription pills at an early age. I still struggle to understand why, when my brother overdosed at his high school, it took seven hours for any school personnel to take action.”

Assistant Dean for Master’s Programs Sarah Swords said that Sacks rose to the top of a strong group of students in the program’s clinical concentration.

“Stella’s application materials revealed her deep commitment to addressing issues of social justice and to providing high-quality mental health services to people in need in Central Texas. We are proud of her achievements and congratulate her on receiving this prestigious award,” Swords said.

Prior to enrolling in the Steve Hicks School, Sacks worked as a teacher and mental health counselor in a California public high school, where she taught a social-emotional curriculum and offered mental health counseling to all students on campus.

During her time in the master’s program, Sacks has deepened her commitment to school-based social work though  coursework and an internship with an Austin charter high school. After graduation, she plans to use her degree to provide mental health services to students throughout Texas.

“For me, social work is more than a career path,” Sacks said. “It is the only avenue in my life that has ever felt wide enough to encompass my passion for helping others.”

Posted June 15, 2020.