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Disability in Social Work Scholarship

2 winners, $500 each
Application Deadline
Jun 1, 2024
Winners Announced
Jul 1, 2024
Education Level
Recent scholarship winners
Eligibility Requirements
Education Level:
High school, undergraduate, or graduate student
Field of Study:
Social work
Disabled, chronically ill, or neurodivergent

Students with disabilities often do not receive enough support and accommodations throughout their educational journey. Going through school without these supports in place can be isolating and can make higher education seem unappealing. Students deserve a higher education experience and a social work profession that is truly accessible.

This scholarship aims to contribute financially to reducing barriers for students with disabilities who are pursuing social work education.

Any high school, undergraduate, or graduate student who has a disability or is chronically ill or neurodivergent may apply for this scholarship if they’re pursuing social work. Graduates of accredited social work programs are also encouraged to apply, as funds can be used towards student loan payments.

To apply, tell us about yourself and what you hope to focus your social work career on and your experiences with disability, chronic illness and/or neurodivergence will impact or inform your social work career.

Selection Criteria:
Ambition, Drive, Impact
Published February 29, 2024
Essay Topic

Please tell us a bit about yourself, what you hope to focus your social work career on and how your experiences with disability, chronic illness and/or neurodivergence will impact or inform your social work career. You are encouraged to share your personal journey, though specific details of your diagnosis/health are not necessary.

400–600 words

Winners and Finalists

July 2024

Kae Peterman
Claudia Gonzalez
Phoenix Stoddard
Tyrah Sumile
Jalan Webb
Erica Miller
Charly Davis
Matthew Bolton
Simone Simone
Melissa Golebiowski
Michelle Mendoza
Mackenzie McQueen
Jeremiah Lewis
Jessica Adams
Keely Carle
Amanda Nance
Shannon Williams-Morris
Savannah Leaton
Dominick Magno
Kristyn Mason
Justin DeBoer
Quinn Peterson
Alicia McConkey
Dami Caldwell
Andre Harris
Merel Walker

Winning Applications

Jada Cox
Virginia Commonwealth UniversityCHARLOTTESVLE, VA
Erica Hernandez
Salisbury UniversitySILVER SPRING, MD
My name is Erica Hernandez. I am a first generation Salvadoran American student. I was pursuing my Bachelors in Social Work when my whole life changed in the span of a week. In my first semester as a transfer to the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes and spent my first week of class online in the ICU. This was a challenging time for me as I had to essentially learn what diabetes is and also discuss vulnerable situations clients in the social work world may have. I never realized that I too would be a vulnerable client. In my week in the ICU I met an amazing social worker who came and assisted me with connecting me to diabetes education classes and helped me figure out my insurance information, along with doctor information. It felt like she was my guiding light who empowered me and made me feel like I really could make a difference in the lives of people, regardless of my chronic condition. Now in the present day, I am a graduate student who is seeing individual clients, some who have chronic conditions. I also always try to empower my clients who face these adversities. Just like in social work, living with a chronic condition can lead to burn out. It has taken a toll on my mental health. This is when I remember to take care of myself first to then serve others. I must never pour from an empty cup. I prioritize myself and my health which is something that can be forgotten in the social work world. I observe many social workers who don't eat or take lunch breaks, they never leave time in between sessions, and they overwork themselves. I never want to be this stressed in my profession. I realize the work that we as social workers do is very important but we must never compromise our health. This is why I have hopes of one day opening my own private practice, and setting my own boundaries for work. I want to support those with chronic conditions, and make a difference in the lives of others without sacrificing my own. I am looking to get licensed as a mental health clinician and also incorporate case management in my private practice to support vulnerable communities. From managing high and low blood sugars during sessions, to keeping up with progress notes, I realize I have a lot on my plate. This might be true, however, I have the drive and willingness to commit to this field. I will always strive to do what it takes to support my clients, and give my 100% when I am feeling 100%.


When is the scholarship application deadline?

The application deadline is Jun 1, 2024. Winners will be announced on Jul 1, 2024.

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