UTA Professor Receives Research Grant to Help Military Veterans Succeed in College
May 24, 2010
AUSTIN, Texas – Dr. Alexa Smith-Osborne, an assistant professor in the School of Social Work at the University of Texas at Arlington, will assist military veterans returning to college with the help of a research grant from the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health.
Her proposal was selected from a pool of 47 applicants from 19 universities across Texas. The foundation awarded 10 grants totaling nearly $150,000. The one-year grants are capped at $15,000 each.
Smith-Osborne will use the grant to expand and evaluate a pilot program that provides educational support for veterans who have mental health and reintegration issues that may affect their learning and adjustment to life as a college student.
“My prior research suggests that the GI Bill alone is not sufficient to provide equal access to higher education for veterans with and without disabilities. This project helps veterans with disabilities enter and succeed in college by helping them obtain mental health and crisis services, financial aid, and academic and personal support,” said Smith-Osborne.
The grant will enable Smith-Osborne to enroll 50 more participants in the program and to speed up data collection and analysis. She said the project’s testing of supported education models will provide needed knowledge about which services are most helpful to which veterans.
“Veterans returning from Iran and Afghanistan are experiencing mental health conditions at an unprecedented rate. If proven successful, other universities and the Veterans Administration could use this model to recruit, retain and sustain veteran students who may struggle otherwise,” said Dr. Octavio N. Martinez, Jr., executive director of the foundation.
The Hogg Foundation was founded in 1940 by the children of former Texas Governor James Hogg to promote improved mental health for the people of Texas. The foundation’s grants and programs support mental health consumer services, research, policy analysis and public education projects in Texas. The foundation is part of the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement at The University of Texas at Austin.