Texas State Student is One of Five Statewide to Receive 2011 Hogg Foundation Scholarship
July 12, 2011
AUSTIN, Texas – Caroline Muster, a Texas State University-San Marcos social work graduate student, is one of five students in Texas to receive the 2011 Ima Hogg Scholarship in Mental Health.
Muster, originally from Canada, transferred to Texas State her sophomore year of college from the University of Florida. She is diagnosed with Osteogenesis Imperfecta, better known as "brittle bone" disease, and initially majored in architecture and aspired to design handicap-accessible buildings.
“I want to be a little voice for people with special needs,” Muster said. “We may look different, function differently, but we all have the same wants, needs and desires.”
Muster changed her major from architecture to psychology after taking a University of Florida introduction to psychology course. She said she believed she could do more to help people than by “just studying their behavior.” A Texas State undergraduate adviser gave Muster more information about the School of Social Work, and she decided become a social worker instead.
“I always had a heart for social work, I just didn't even know what social work was,” Muster said. “It’s a huge compliment that faculty members who I look up to and who have been instrumental in my education and have seen my work efforts think I’m deserving of this $5,000.”
Muster has worked with Connections, a nonprofit organization in New Braunfels for homeless, abused, or at-risk youth, as an intern and residential support specialist for two years. After graduating from the School of Social Work in May 2012, she would like to run a support group for young adults with special needs. She also wants to advocate for eliminating the term “disabled.”
Her scholarship comes at a time when Texas is facing critical shortages in the state’s mental health workforce. Texas ranks far below the national average in the number of mental health professionals per 100,000 residents. In 2009, 173 counties in Texas were designated as mental health profession shortage areas, and 40 Texas counties did not have a single social worker.
The Hogg Foundation for Mental Health awards up to five $5,000 scholarships annually to graduate social work students in Texas who plan to provide mental health services after graduation. The scholarship program was created in 1956 by Houston philanthropist Ima Hogg to attract students to mental health careers.
“These scholarships enable the recipients to finish their advanced studies and begin practicing their profession at a time when these skills and knowledge are sorely needed,” said Dr. Octavio N. Martinez, Jr., executive director of the foundation.
The Hogg Foundation was created in 1940 by the children of former Texas Governor James S. Hogg, and is part of the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement at The University of Texas at Austin. The foundation advances recovery and wellness in Texas by funding mental health services, policy analysis, research, and public education.