For DonorsFor Applicants
user profile avatar

Stephanie Dowd

6305

Bold Points

45x

Nominee

3x

Finalist

1x

Winner

Bio

Hi, I am Stephanie Dowd - a Christian, wife, mother to three beautiful children, and a candidate for a Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. Over the course of the past 13 years, I have built a career in the surgical specialty field of bariatric weight loss. Obesity is becoming an increasingly alarming issue for Americans. Surgical interventions are considered the most effective mode of achieving optimal weight and improving quality and longevity of life. Prior to receiving surgery, a patient is required to present for one pre-operative psychological evaluation by their insurance. This requirement provides the carrier and physician satisfaction that the patient will not suffer psychosis after surgery and, therefore, the clearance needed for surgical services. However, one session is inadequate for the therapist to build a repertoire with the patient; without time to establish trust, the counselor can not rule out risks. As a crisis counselor for the Suicide Hotline, I have learned that there is a dire need for more counselors who are comfortable assessing depression, suicidal ideation, and self-harm habits. Research indicates as much as a 50% increase in risk for completed suicide and self-harm for post-operative bariatric patients. I plan to utilize my current network to provide necessary post-surgical mental healthcare to combat post-bariatric surgery depression and lower suicidal rates following surgical weight loss operations. Your support would be so appreciated and would allow me to help my community in an extraordinary way. XOXO -SD

Education

LeTourneau University

Master's degree program
2021 - 2025
  • Majors:
    • Clinical, Counseling and Applied Psychology

LeTourneau University

Bachelor's degree program
2019 - 2021
  • Majors:
    • Psychology, General

LeTourneau University

Bachelor's degree program
2019 - 2021
  • Majors:
    • Applied Psychology

Trinity Valley Community College

Associate's degree program
2012 - 2014
  • Majors:
    • Liberal Arts and Sciences, General Studies and Humanities

Kemp H S

High School
2006 - 2010

Miscellaneous

  • Desired degree level:

    Master's degree program

  • Graduate schools of interest:

  • Transfer schools of interest:

  • Majors of interest:

    • Biopsychology
    • Clinical, Counseling and Applied Psychology
    • Neurobiology and Neurosciences
    • Genetics
    • Theological and Ministerial Studies
  • Not planning to go to medical school
  • Career

    • Dream career field:

      Mental Health Care

    • Dream career goals:

      I hope to become a Licensed Professional Counselor specializing in research on obesity, childhood traumas, and eating disorders.

    • Accounts Receivable Coordinator

      STAT Medical Management
      2019 – Present5 years
    • Consultant/Accounts Receivable Coordinator

      KB Billing and Consulting
      2015 – 20194 years
    • Accounts Receivable Coordinator

      LakeWood Weight Loss
      2011 – 20154 years
    • Admission

      Forrest Park Medical Center
      2011 – 2011
    • Reception/Medical Assistant

      Kennedy Bariatric
      2010 – 20111 year
    • Crisis Counselor

      Crisis Textline
      2020 – Present4 years

    Sports

    Skateboarding

    2024 – Present6 months

    Archery

    Club
    2023 – Present1 year

    Canoeing

    2010 – 20122 years

    Basketball

    Varsity
    2007 – 20103 years

    Artistic Gymnastics

    Varsity
    2004 – 20106 years

    debate

    Varsity
    2007 – 20103 years

    Cheerleading

    Varsity
    2007 – 20103 years

    Bodybuilding

    Varsity
    2007 – 20103 years

    Research

    • The impact of psychological care following surgical weight loss

      2019 – Present
    • The effects of sexual trauma on weight

      2020 – Present
    • The the correlation of depression amongst the overweight population in America

      2020 – 2021
    • The effects of the gut microbiome on post-surgical depression with bariatric weight loss patients

      Researcher
      2020 – 2021
    • Weight loss surgery and depression

      Researcher
      2020 – Present

    Arts

    • Music
      Present
    • Drawing
      Present

    Public services

    • Advocacy

      Pan Atlantic Foundation — Area Representation/Laison
      2021 – Present
    • Volunteering

      KASA — Competition League Coach
      2008 – 2010
    • Volunteering

      SPIKE — Rapid response crisis counselor
      2020 – Present
    • Volunteering

      C|Life Missions — Popped Corn Stand/Hot Dog Stand
      2018 – 2019
    • Volunteering

      KASA — Cheer Coach
      2008 – 2010
    • Volunteering

      CRISIS HOTLINE — Certified Crisis Counselor
      2020 – Present

    Future Interests

    Advocacy

    Politics

    Volunteering

    Philanthropy

    Entrepreneurship

    TEAM ROX Scholarship
    My personal and professional journey, a unique blend of nature and nurture, has been instrumental in shaping my skills development and commitment to helping others. It was during my own healing journey that I discovered my calling to be a counselor, a realization that has since become my purpose and passion, setting me apart in this field. At LeTourneau University, I have been fortunate to learn from incredible professors and mentors who have played a significant role in equipping me with the skills and understanding necessary to pursue my career in counseling. Their guidance and expertise have been instrumental in shaping my approach and philosophy as a counselor. Through their mentorship, I have developed a deep empathy, strong communication skills, and a comprehensive understanding of mental health counseling principles. Additionally, the combination of nature and nurture has influenced my development as a counselor. My innate qualities, such as empathy, compassion, and a genuine desire to help others, have been nurtured and refined through my education and experiences at LeTourneau University. The nurturing environment at the university has allowed me to cultivate these qualities and develop them into valuable skills that I can use to support and empower others. As I embark on the next phase of my journey with Practicum, I am keenly aware of the need for continued support and learning. The practical experience gained during my Practicum will further enhance my skills and allow me to apply the knowledge and insights gained from my professors and mentors. This hands-on experience will be invaluable in helping me refine my counseling techniques, deepen my understanding of client's needs, and further develop my ability to guide and support individuals on their path to mental and emotional well-being. Securing this scholarship is of utmost importance to me for several reasons. As I dedicate myself to pursuing my degree in clinical mental health counseling, my husband tirelessly works outside the home to provide for our family. His efforts are deeply appreciated, but they also highlight the financial strain we face as student loan debt quickly accumulates. This scholarship would significantly alleviate our family's overall financial stress, reducing the burden of student loan debt and allowing us to focus on our aspirations without the weight of excessive financial obligations, a direct and practical benefit of this support. Furthermore, the scholarship would enable me to completely focus on my education and training without the distraction and concern of financial constraints. It would provide me with the peace of mind and stability needed to excel in my studies, Practicum, and future endeavors in mental health counseling. Ultimately, winning the scholarship would support my personal and professional growth and contribute to my ability to serve others effectively and compassionately as a counselor. In conclusion, I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to share my journey and aspirations with you. My development of skills and my commitment to helping others be their best have been shaped by both nature and nurture. The guidance and mentorship I have received at LeTourneau University have been instrumental in honing my skills and shaping my approach as a counselor. Winning the scholarship would significantly alleviate financial stress, allowing me to focus on my education and future career, ultimately enabling me to make a meaningful difference in the lives of those I serve. I am committed to using this opportunity to its fullest potential and to making a positive impact in the field of mental health counseling.
    Sean Carroll's Mindscape Big Picture Scholarship
    As a clinical mental health counselor, I believe it is crucial to work towards understanding the nature of our universe, as it can profoundly impact our sense of purpose, meaning, and overall well-being. Exploring existential questions and the nature of reality can provide valuable insights that can be integrated into counseling practices to support clients in finding meaning and direction in their lives. In alignment with LeTourneau University's Christian mission, I view the pursuit of understanding the universe as a means of gaining a deeper appreciation for the complexity and beauty of God's creation. By striving to comprehend the nature of the universe, I aim to cultivate a sense of awe and wonder that aligns with the principles of stewardship and reverence for creation, as emphasized in the Christian faith. This perspective can be integrated into counseling sessions to foster a holistic approach to mental health, addressing spiritual and existential concerns alongside psychological well-being. Drawing on the ideas of Dr. Carolyn Leaf, a cognitive neuroscientist and Christian author, I aspire to utilize the principles of neuroplasticity and mind renewal in my counseling practice. Dr. Leaf's work emphasizes the inherent capacity of the human brain to rewire and adapt, promoting the concept that individuals can intentionally change their thought patterns and cognitive processes. By integrating these concepts into counseling, I aim to empower clients to engage in transformative thinking, leading to positive changes in their mental and emotional well-being. Moreover, my education at LeTourneau University equips me with a foundation rooted in Christian principles and ethical values, which I intend to integrate into my practice. Through the lens of LeTourneau's mission, I strive to approach counseling with compassion, empathy, and a commitment to serving others. By embodying these values, I seek to create a therapeutic environment that fosters trust, respect, and spiritual support, allowing clients to explore existential questions and find solace in their faith if desired. In leveraging my education and training, I aim to contribute to the betterment of the world by promoting mental health awareness, resilience, and holistic well-being. By exploring the universe's nature in counseling practices, I hope to inspire individuals to embrace a sense of purpose, find meaning in their experiences, and develop a deeper connection with themselves, others, and the divine. Ultimately, my goal is to facilitate personal growth, emotional healing, and spiritual fulfillment, drawing upon the Christian mission of LeTourneau University and the transformative insights of Dr. Carolyn Leaf to positively impact the lives of those I serve. As I dedicate myself to pursuing my degree in clinical mental health counseling, my husband tirelessly works outside the home to provide for our family. His efforts in funding our household are deeply appreciated, but they also highlight the financial strain we face as student loan debt quickly accumulates. Receiving this scholarship would significantly alleviate our family's overall financial stress by reducing the burden of student loan debt, allowing us to focus on our aspirations without the weight of excessive financial obligations. I earnestly hope to be selected as a recipient of this scholarship, as it would make a meaningful difference in our lives and contribute to our pursuit of academic and professional fulfillment.
    Elevate Mental Health Awareness Scholarship
    Mental health care is an issue that has been plaguing society for a long time. Unfortunately, women have suffered a lot due to the broken mental health care system. The issue has been prevalent for so long that it is not surprising to see women dealing with mental illnesses alone. As a child, I experienced the broken system when my child-psychiatrist missed familial abuse during a complicated custody dispute. The experience left me feeling like I was alone and helpless. As I grew older, the issue persisted, and I was carted off for depression during my teenage years. Sadly, I never received any treatment for my depression, which left me struggling to cope with the condition. The situation was even worse when I became an adult. The workforce taught me that women are often left to deal with their depression, which was evident when I lost three wonderful patients due to suicide. The suffering was dismissed by providers during regular check-ups, making me realize that mental health problems are often ignored, choked out, silenced, or pushed aside. As a mother, I realized that mental health care is essential, and people need to speak up and help. Unfortunately, it seems like no one wants to help. However, I do. As a student in the mental health counseling program, I offer my services for free of charge, in lieu of a paid position. I serve my underserved community so that those who might feel silenced and misunderstood might see that someone is willing to help and listen. It is my hope that my small impact will make a significant difference in the lives of mothers, sisters, and daughters. I understand that the broken mental health care system has caused a lot of pain and suffering, and I want to make a difference. That is why I am applying for this scholarship. This scholarship would mean so much to my family, and it would help me to continue serving my community without worrying about the financial burden. I am passionate about mental health care, and I want to continue helping people who are struggling with mental illnesses. I believe that with the right support, people can overcome mental health issues and live fulfilling lives. The broken mental health care system has affected countless people, especially women, and it breaks my heart. As a mental health counseling student, I am more determined than ever to make a difference in the lives of people who are struggling with mental illnesses. I am deeply passionate about helping people, and I believe that with the right support, anyone can overcome their mental health challenges and lead a fulfilling life. This scholarship would mean the world to me, and I am truly grateful for the opportunity to apply. Pursuing my education in this field is not only a personal dream but also a calling that I feel deeply. My husband is currently supporting my dream, and we have children, so this scholarship would take a significant financial burden off of his shoulders and my conscious. It would allow me to focus on my studies and serve my community without worrying about the financial strain. Thank you for your time and consideration.
    Dwight "The Professor" Baldwin Scholarship
    She said, "In the real world, they won't accept your excuses." Reading was -- or has -- been difficult for me. Each of my older siblings are gifted and learned to read long before pre-school. However, I, still struggled at seven years old. I embarrassed the entire family. My school placed me in a slower paced class with many who were diagnosed with learning disabilities. But, because my parents believed that my disability was just an excuse to be lazy, I was not allowed to be tested or treated. Instead, as my entire class went to the learning lab, I stayed in my classroom alone with my teacher. This was a fortunate experience, as I was still gaining individualized help from my teacher. I did learn, but it was slow and aggravating. As it turns out, the real world does not care about my reading speed. In fact, many people are sympathetic to my dyslexia, and there are many applications that help me. I am able to navigate life without being accused of having an excuse. It had been years since I had been very bothered by dyslexia. Sure, it has slowed down my studies tremendously, but what I lack in speed, I make up for in repetitive memory. That is, until I was faced with a pencil and paper exam. The Comprehensive Examination of Counselors Education is the "exiting" exam at my university. One must pass it with a 70% or more in order to continue to practicum and internship. As I sat down, I noticed the words shaking, floating, and doing their little dance off of the paper. My nerves continued to make it worse. I was not able to read the exam out loud to catch the sneaky mishaps. Instead, my inner voice screamed at my brain like a dad teaching their child math. I was doomed. I persevered and turned in the exam. Certain that I had made the lowest grade in history, I walked to my car and sat down to a puddle of tears. I just knew that I would not be moving on with my degree. I chatted with my professor the next day, letting her know that my dyslexia had gotten the best of me. Her jaw dropped. "We would have offered you accommodations had we known." I heard my mother's voice, "The real world will not accept your excuses." I flushed, "I don't want you to think I'm lazy. I want to earn this." She gently reminded me that I had to work twice as hard just to do what others were doing naturally. The next day, I received my exam results. Yet, I could not fully comprehend how I passed. I cried, again. Tears of relief and of humility. I had done it. My disability held me back for many years. However, passing the comprehensive exit exam has been a pivotal point in my career trajectory. Entering practicum will pose many challenges. But, I can rest assured that regardless of the battles I face, I will persevere. It is simply what you do when you have dyslexia.
    Priscilla Shireen Luke Scholarship
    As a third-year graduate student in the Clinical Mental Health Counseling program, I have had the privilege of completing all of the textbook and lecture courses, passing the Comprehensive Education Counselor Examination, and gaining knowledge that will allow me to make a positive impact in my community. I am thrilled to be starting my practicum this week, where I will be providing free counseling services to underserved populations in my area. My journey towards becoming a counselor has not been an easy one. I live in an impoverished community where many single-parent homes struggle to make ends meet. This has made it challenging for me to pursue my dream of becoming a counselor, but I was fortunate enough to find a practicum supervisor who was not only willing to waive her clinical fees but was also willing to supervise me on weekends and evenings, allowing me to offer my counseling services at times that are convenient for those with busy work schedules. I feel incredibly grateful to have found a practicum supervisor who understands the importance of providing free counseling services to those who cannot afford them. It is my firm belief that mental health services should be accessible to everyone, regardless of their financial situation. I am proud to be part of a program that shares this belief and provides opportunities for students like me to make a difference in our communities. As I embark on this new journey, I am excited to know that this semester marks the beginning of the end of my collegiate career and the start of my professional career as a counselor. I am looking forward to learning from my clients and applying the knowledge and skills I have gained over the past three years to help them overcome their challenges and improve their lives. I am determined to make a positive impact in my community and help those who need it the most. As I approach the final stages of my graduate program in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, I am filled with excitement and anticipation of the opportunities that lie ahead. However, I am also keenly aware of the financial burden that comes with completing my practicum and internship. As a student from a single-income home, the cost of these programs is a significant challenge for me and my family. A scholarship would mean the world to my family as it would alleviate the financial strain that we are currently facing. It would allow me to focus on my studies and my clients without worrying about the financial burden that comes with completing these services for free. This scholarship would be a lifeline for us and would help me achieve my dream of becoming a counselor without sacrificing the well-being and mental health of my family. I am confident that with this scholarship, I will be able to complete my practicum and internship with the utmost dedication and focus. It would also allow me to make an even greater impact in my community, by providing mental health services to those who need them the most. A scholarship would mean the world to my family, and I am sincerely grateful for any support that can be offered during this time. With this scholarship, I will not only be able to complete my graduate program but also make a real difference in the lives of those within my community.
    Nintendo Super Fan Scholarship
    Being a 90's baby, I shared many hours of bonding with my older siblings through the Nintendo 64. In the quiet hours of the night, long after our parents had warned us to stay in bed, my sisters, brother, and I would sneak out of our twin beds and meet at the console to play Donkey Kong. I was always the little chimp. I distinctly remember the summer between eighth and ninth grade. It was my sister's last year at home. Our older siblings had already left, and she was eager for the freedom that came with moving out. She woke me up at midnight and asked if I wanted to play a game for old times sake. We played until 8 AM and had finally beat the entire game. We relished in the accomplishment of our childhood dreams. We had done it! Conquering the game with my sister before she moved into her own house was a bittersweet closing on a chapter of our life. People always talk about the last child moving out, but they never mention being the last to leave. I am glad to say that our relationship has always stayed strong, but I would love to go back -- even for an hour -- to a time where we were all children under the same roof. Together. Playing the Nintendo in the wee night hours.
    Cat Zingano Overcoming Loss Scholarship
    "A miscarriage is not an unforeseen medical emergency, Mrs. Dowd. Your assignment will be due tomorrow, just like everyone else's." My palms were instantly wet. A pain in my chest began to spread. I felt my face melting outwards. My ears reverberated the speech in a "whoom, whoom, whooooom" as the floor beneath me began to move. This was not a panic attack. It was not an earthquake. I could feel my last nerve shattering as my lungs deflated. Surely, my professor—a fellow female—knew that opening up and asking for help was already a massive challenge. Surely, my professor—a Licensed Professional Counselor—understood the magnitude of stress and sadness I was going through. I had just told her that I was losing my child and would be spending the weekend enduring a silent tragedy. But her words cut like ice as she reminded me that counselors don't abandon their tasks. My task would be a final exam and dissociation. During the next six months, I lost two more children. Her words stung harder each time. I compartmentalized my pain to keep a 4.0 GPA. I shoved my depression down into a deep part of my stomach, allowing myself to continue working 50-hour weeks and raising two beautiful, healthy children. I allowed myself time to cry in the shower so I would not be a bother. They still deserved a good mother. In September, I found myself shaking as I took another pregnancy test. Positive. Dread filled my core as I realized this pregnancy may also be ripped from me. But, in June, my boy was born, bearing three angel kisses from his angelic siblings. His first cries released grief that I had held onto for a year and a half. He was laid on my chest and began healing a part of me that was deeply wounded. I've realized that sometimes we can not have what we want; I will always mourn the loss of my three very wanted babies. However, I am blessed with three healthy children who remind me to live daily.
    Little Miami Brewing Native American Scholarship Award
    In the early 1900s, my paternal, great-great-grandfather, and his wife changed their names. They did not change their names because they were fascinated with American culture; they changed their names to survive American culture. We were never told their true names. Instead, our family genogram shows the shame of oppression and assimilation. My grandmother would talk about growing up and seeing the "wild Indians" riding up on horses to bathe in the creek by her house. She lived in a house and, therefore, identified as "domesticated." Until my grandmother, no one in her family had married a "white" man. Though her father accepted mine, his choice to marry a "white-passing" woman who was half-Cherokee was unacceptable. As such, I was never accepted by my father's family. On the other side of the family, my great-grandfather stole a beautiful Cherokee woman to be his bride. Family history says that this abduction was due in part to his brother's death by dragging, a retaliation for another offense between two groups. She kept her name and was called "Mishe," but little else was told about her story besides the number of children she mothered and how hard she worked to keep them safe. All in all, our family lost our nativeness. Due to the watering down of my lineage, I'm often uncertain about claiming my native blood. When people ask, "What are you?" I usually respond with, "I'm mixed." The truth is, without the rich cultural upbringing, I'm not certain that I have a right to be proud of my roots. My heart breaks for my grandmothers who were torn away from their families. Though one was loved dearly, the other was abused due to her family's dealings. Why did no one come for her? Why did my great-grandfather not love the quarter-Apache my father passed me? There are so many questions I have about my ancestry. As a future mental health provider, I realize that many bi-racial people face the same challenge. It is confusing and uncomfortable to question whether or not you deserve to belong to your people. Sometimes, it can feel like you don't fit in with any culture, race, or ethnicity. Worse, it can feel like you don't deserve to be interested in or experience your culture. As such, my mission is to help others find and reconnect to their identity by exploring their roots, facing the hard questions, and finding comfort in learning about their cultural history.
    Lester and Coque Gibson Community Service Scholarship
    Advocacy is a calling. It requires skill, gall, and a heart for the people. Growing up, my mother would encourage me to "fight for the underdog." I was told, "always do what is right, even when no one would ever find out." The culmination of my spiritual calling is embodied by the very nature of mental health counseling; fighting for those who cannot defend themselves. I'm Stephanie Dowd. Though, I am no longer an undergraduate student, I have $27,812.27 in student debt owed for my undergraduate degree that I hope will be reviewed in your favor. Mental health counselors must attain a Masters-level degree in order to obtain licensure in Texas. Therefore, I also have over $45,000.00 in student debt owed toward my current degree-in-progress. I will graduate in 2025 with a Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. Any help toward paying these loans off early will be tremendously appreciated, as it reduces the stress for myself, my spouse, and our children. For my Practicum, I turned down paid positions so that I could provide service for the underserved minority population in my area. I will be working with children who are in foster care, families that have been victimized by domestic abuse, and people who are suffering from various mental health disorders that cannot afford care. My services will be offered in the evenings and weekends, when clients are actually "off" work. I will never stop fighting for the "underdog," but I am hopeful that through my education, I can help my clients grow through their current state and begin thriving.
    So You Want to Be a Mental Health Professional Scholarship
    Volunteering at the crisis hotline has been an incredibly rewarding experience for me, both personally and in terms of the impact it has on my community. The crisis hotline is a vital resource for individuals who are struggling with mental health issues, substance abuse, domestic violence, and other crises. By volunteering my time, I am able to provide support and guidance to those who need it most, and help my community in a meaningful way. One of the most important ways that volunteering at the crisis hotline helps my community is by providing a safe and confidential space for individuals to talk about their problems. Many people who call the hotline are dealing with issues that they may not feel comfortable discussing with their friends or family members. By providing a non-judgmental and compassionate ear, I am able to help these individuals feel heard and understood. Another way that volunteering at the crisis hotline helps my community is by connecting individuals with resources and services that can help them get the help they need. Many callers are in crisis because they don't know where to turn or what resources are available to them. As a volunteer, I have access to a wealth of information about local services, including mental health clinics, substance abuse treatment centers, and domestic violence shelters. By providing this information, I am able to help callers take the first step towards getting the help they need. In addition to providing support and connecting individuals with resources, volunteering at the crisis hotline also helps my community by reducing the burden on emergency services. Many individuals who call the hotline are in crisis, but may not require emergency medical attention. By providing support and guidance over the phone, I am able to help these individuals avoid unnecessary trips to the emergency room or other emergency services. This not only helps to reduce the burden on these services but also ensures that individuals are getting the appropriate level of care for their needs. Finally, volunteering at the crisis hotline helps my community by raising awareness about mental health and other issues that affect our community. By providing a safe and confidential space for individuals to talk about their problems, we are able to shed light on the struggles that many people in our community face. This helps to reduce the stigma associated with mental health issues and substance abuse, and encourages individuals to seek the help they need. In conclusion, volunteering at the crisis hotline is an incredibly important way to help my community. By providing support and guidance to individuals who are struggling with mental health issues, substance abuse, domestic violence, and other crises, I am able to make a meaningful difference in people's lives. Whether it's by providing a safe and confidential space for individuals to talk about their problems, connecting individuals with resources and services, reducing the burden on emergency services, or raising awareness about important issues, volunteering at the crisis hotline is an essential part of helping our community thrive.
    Mental Health Importance Scholarship
    As a mother, wife, and student, life can get pretty hectic. There are always so many things that need to be done, and it can be easy to neglect our own mental health in the process. However, neglecting our mental health can have serious consequences, not just for ourselves, but for those around us as well. That's why it's so important to prioritize self-care and make time for activities that help us maintain a healthy balance. For me, self-care has become an essential part of my daily routine. One of the things that helps me maintain a healthy balance is hygiene. This might sound like a small thing, but taking care of myself physically helps me feel better emotionally as well. I make sure to shower every day, brush my teeth, and take care of my skin. These small acts of self-care help me feel refreshed and ready to tackle the day. Another activity that I find helpful for maintaining a healthy balance is gardening. There's something about being outside in the fresh air and sunshine that is incredibly therapeutic for me. I love planting new flowers and vegetables, and watching them grow and thrive. It's a great way to connect with nature and take a break from the stresses of everyday life. Trying out different herbal teas is another self-care activity that I enjoy. I find that experimenting with different flavors and blends can be very relaxing and enjoyable. It's a simple way to treat myself to something special and take a break from the usual routine. Reading is also a big part of my self-care routine. I love getting lost in a good book and escaping into another world for a little while. It's a great way to unwind at the end of a long day and relieve stress. Talking to my sister is another activity that I find helpful for maintaining a healthy balance. We talk on the phone frequently and share what's going on in our lives. It's great to have someone to talk to who really understands me and can offer support and encouragement when I need it. Finally, spending time hiking and caring for my animals is another self-care activity that I enjoy. Being out in nature and spending time with my pets helps me feel connected and grounded. It's a great way to relieve stress and get some exercise at the same time. Overall, self-care is essential for maintaining a healthy balance as a mother, wife, and student. It's important to make time for activities that help us feel refreshed and rejuvenated, both physically and emotionally. Whether it's taking care of our hygiene, gardening, trying out new herbal teas, reading, talking to loved ones, or spending time with animals, there are many different ways to practice self-care. By making self-care a priority, we can better care for ourselves and those around us, and live happier, healthier lives.
    Netflix and Scholarships!
    If you are a fan of crime thrillers and are looking for a show that will keep you on the edge of your seat, then "Mindhunter" is a must-watch on Netflix. This gripping series has garnered widespread acclaim for its compelling storyline, exceptional acting performances, and in-depth exploration of the psychology behind some of the most notorious criminals in history. Here are the most salient reasons why you should not miss out on watching "Mindhunter." Firstly, the show is based on a true story, which adds an extra layer of intrigue and authenticity. Set in the late 1970s, "Mindhunter" follows two FBI agents, Holden Ford and Bill Tench, as they develop a revolutionary approach to criminal profiling by interviewing serial killers. The show is based on the real-life experiences of FBI agents John E. Douglas and Robert K. Ressler, who were instrumental in developing criminal profiling as we know it today. By watching "Mindhunter," you will not only be entertained but also educated on a significant chapter in criminal investigation history. Secondly, "Mindhunter" pays meticulous attention to detail, which makes the show an immersive experience. The production team has gone to great lengths to recreate the atmosphere of the late 1970s, from the fashion to the music, which transports you back to that era. Moreover, the interviews with the serial killers themselves are bone-chillingly realistic, with the actors delivering outstanding performances and the dialogue taken directly from transcripts of real-life interviews. Thirdly, the cast of "Mindhunter" is exceptional, and their performances are one of the show's main strengths. Jonathan Groff and Holt McCallany play the two FBI agents with great chemistry on screen, and Groff's portrayal of Holden's descent into obsession is particularly impressive. Anna Torv gives a commendable performance as a psychologist who assists the agents in their research, and Cameron Britton's portrayal of serial killer Ed Kemper is nothing short of mesmerizing. Finally, "Mindhunter" delves deep into the psychology behind serial killers, which is both intriguing and unsettling. The show does not shy away from the gruesome details of their crimes, but it also explores the motivations and thought processes that drive them to commit such heinous acts. Through the interviews with the killers, we gain insight into how they think, which is both fascinating and terrifying. Additionally, the show portrays the impact of this work on the agents themselves, as they grapple with the toll that delving into the minds of these killers takes on their sanity. In conclusion, "Mindhunter" is an exceptional show that is sure to captivate and enthrall you. With its basis on a true story, attention to detail, exceptional cast, and in-depth exploration of the psychology behind serial killers, "Mindhunter" is a must-watch for anyone who loves crime thrillers or is fascinated by criminal investigation. Don't miss out on the chance to experience this incredible show - add it to your Netflix queue today!
    Robert Lawyer Memorial Scholarship
    As I type this, my eight-month-old is happily nursing; his "getting bigger every day" toes are kicking at my arm, and his fingers scratch a symphony across the woodgrain of my desk. If I look at him, he will squeal with glee in an effort to communicate, "Yes, Momma, see me?". My toddler and second-grader are comfortably napping. This babe should be... Momma should be studying for an important exam. Yet, strangely, everything in this house is important, including my "going through another growth spurt" and thirsty baby. I scheduled study times according to naps and nights. Still, sometimes, my plans and his plans are conflicting, so here he is, watching me multitask. I wonder, "Will he have an emotional attachment to the bottom of my jaw?". I should prioritize eye contact. This exam is due soon, and I have another five hundred pages to read before I take the test. If I do not pass the exam, it will result in my failure to complete the program and, thus, a large, unpayable student debt. Was my return to school misguided and selfish? How can I triage priorities and rank them effectively? My children are growing bigger daily, and I want to give them the best mother they can have. They deserve that much. I have to remind myself to relax -- anxiety increases cortisol, and that passes through breast milk. It is always something. Oh, I'm Stephanie. I apologize; my identity has been overcome by motherhood and being a student. What began as a mother to one completing her Bachelor's Degree has now turned into a mother of three, finishing the last year of her master's Degree. In one year, I will triumphantly crawl or walk across the stage, claim our degree, and begin my journey to becoming a healer. However, that degree is so much more than a paper and a licensing requirement. It's funny how much a piece of paper can mean. The Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling means that my children have spent four years waiting for their mom to be able to schedule family time without guilt. It means that when my children wake up in the middle of the night, they won't have to look in our office first. It means I can go to bed at the same time as my husband. I can be "just" a mother the whole time I am home. The paper means that all of our sacrifices have paid off. In light of my future goals, I continue to give my best in every direction. The light at the end inspires me with self-care and the ability not to need to multitask anymore. Though I am losing time daily, my children see me doing my best to ensure everyone has what they need (and some of what they want). They see me hustling. I hope they are inspired to go about college traditionally before the world's weight tops their shoulders. However, should they follow in my footsteps, I expect that my empathy and understanding, along with our degree, will provide support to lift some of their weight. They've certainly inspired me to continue the fight.
    Trudgers Fund
    I woke up in the emergency room for the second time in a month. The small room's lights pierced my swollen eyes, and I could hear beeping from various machines, the shuffling of busy feet, and a constant humming from the lights. I sat up to find my mother's solemn gaze. My head throbbed, and the feeling in my gut told me that I was about to heave. Hi, my name is Stephanie, and I am an alcoholic. Or, at least, I have been an alcoholic. I stopped drinking the day before I turned 21. Odd, isn't it? I spent 11 years in a drunken state. Twice, alcoholism nearly claimed my life. Yet, here I am. When I was 10, I drank my first sip of alcohol, and it immediately sank its teeth into me. However, when I met my husband at 18, I fell into irrevocable love. He was steady, compassionate, and loyal. He set boundaries early in the relationship that he did not like alcohol and would not date someone who drank. So, I hid my drinking. When he found out, we broke up and my life fell apart. Alcohol had been the only "thing" that had never abandoned me. I began drinking more and more until my body could no longer handle itself. In the morning, I drank a small glass of whiskey to steady my hands. By noon, I needed a drink to calm my shivers and sweats. I would come home and have a six-pack of beers. I would have a glass of whiskey to get myself to sleep. I was convulsed at the very thought of sobriety. I saw ghosts and suffered from anxiety. Still, it took almost dying for me to fight for my sobriety. Sobriety has not been an easy road to travel. I am very fortunate that my husband never gave up on me and that he endured my voyage with me. At the age of 21, all of my friends were just beginning to hang out at bars, and even lunch or dinner plans meant beer being around. I would have to leave events early or just stay home. It took six months to feel detoxed and five years to feel comfortable in social settings - especially those where others were drinking. My inner circle is a lot smaller than it was a decade ago. Yet, I have never been so healthy and alive. Becoming sober forced me to deal with the roots of my addiction. It challenged me to learn to have compassion for the worst parts of myself while setting boundaries for those parts. Because of my addiction, I have a greater understanding of how quickly life can be changed by a single decision. Let me introduce myself again; I'm Stephanie, a student in the mental health counseling program at LeTourneau. I am here to shed light on how behaviors can change and authentic health can be achieved. No one has to fight the battle with addiction alone. Together, we can!
    Christina Taylese Singh Memorial Scholarship
    I am Stephanie Dowd. I am a Christian, a wife, a mother, and a student in the Master of Arts, Clinical Mental Health Counseling program at LeTourneau University. I hope to graduate in May 2025 and obtain an LPC-A license to conduct psychotherapy. Like many other students, I believe the therapeutic direction is a spiritual compulsion that requires empathy, compassion, and a non-judgmental, welcoming disposition. I have always thought that I wanted to be a counselor. However, I postponed my educational career due to the costs of education, wanting to be a mother and homemaker, and needing to understand the occupation fully. Various occurrences motivated me to return to school to complete my graduate degree. Foremost, working in the field of surgical weight loss led me to see a significant gap in mental health care options. There is little research completed to allow surgeons to understand the toll of bariatric surgery on the mental health of patients—still, the available research points toward a dire need for preventative care. Obesity is associated with a reduced sense of self, impaired social support, decreased availability of dopamine and oxytocin receptors, and disturbances in serotonergic signaling. Studies indicate that obese people have a higher statistical risk of depression, childhood sexual abuse, encounters with bullies, and complex traumas. Further, disturbances to the gut microbiome wreak havoc on mood-regulating bacteria and hormones during the two years following surgery. Clinicians continue to ignore rising mental health concerns, growing the chasm between physical and psychological health. The support from the Christina Taylese Singh Memorial Scholarship would allow me to continue working on my degree so that I can bridge the gap for the thousands who undergo bariatric weight loss surgery each year. Beginning with my current network of bariatric surgeons, I plan to advocate for the implementation of authentic informed consent, post-surgical psychological assessments and screenings, and ongoing therapy during the initial two years following surgery. I plan to educate surgeons and clinical staff on the effects of surgery and the signs of depression and suicidal ideations. Finally, I plan to continue research on counseling bariatric clients who have co-morbid mental health concerns so that I can help create a safer treatment modality for this underserved population. This scholarship would significantly reduce the financial stress on my family as I finish the necessary educational training and certification process. I appreciate the panel's consideration of me as a candidate.
    Elevate Mental Health Awareness Scholarship
    When I was 18, I could not wait to enter the workforce and make money. My parents' rule was that I work somewhere other than a restaurant. So, when I presented my new job title, "Beer Girl," my mother sighed and told me I would start working with her on Thursday. I thought the situation was unfair; Seniors were let off for Thursday and Friday to prepare for Saturday's graduation. However, I failed to meet their requirement and begrudgingly accepted my first job. Immersed in surgical weight loss, I met some of the most inspiring, persevering people. They had goals, ambition, and a plan of action. Yet, something was off. Many seemed sad after surgery despite accomplishing their dream of being physically healthy. There was a noticeably high rate of divorce, a higher rate of depression, and noticeable suicidality. Their whole world seemed to be crumbling as excess weight was lost. I checked the statistics and found that my surgical practice was not abnormal. People all over the world underwent surgical weight loss, met their goal weight, and then lost their mental health and support system. This sparked an interest in returning to school to conduct research, become an advocate for change, and implement new preventative practices. However, Krystal was my final push to complete schooling. I met Krystal when she came to my surgical practice for a second opinion on revisional weight loss surgery. Her initial procedure had complications that resulted in reduced weight loss. She went to each consult with young children in tow; occasionally, her mother came, too. Krystal was bubbly around the staff, but you could sense her stress and sadness in the waiting room. Before surgery, she was admitted to an in-patient psychiatric care facility due to thoughts of suicide. This postponed her surgery but did not redact her pre-surgical psychological clearance. Krystal proceeded with surgery two months later, and it seemed that things would work out and she would be healthy. Six weeks after surgery, Krystal attempted suicide again. After a three-day hold, she came to the office with her children. A week later, she was back in the care of mental health providers due to a second attempt. The cycle continued to repeat, and I would worry about her between appointments. She eventually left her abusive husband and seemed to regain her mental health. She was meeting her weight loss goals and seeing a therapist. However, by her one-year post-surgical appointment, Krystal completed suicide. The broken healthcare system failed Krystal. Krystal struggled with pharmaceutical drugs, inconsistent therapeutic management, and poor clinical care. I believe that she wanted to live for her children. However, without necessary mental health support, she was enveloped with depression and lost forever. Krystal's death pulled the final straw for my educational pursuit. It has been five years, and I still think about her often. I want to allow her memory to continue motivating my advocacy passion. I want to help equip my clients with skills, resources, interventions, and resilience to fight for their lives each day. I want to use my knowledge to improve the current research so that mental health providers recognize the potential impact on mental health so that clients can be prepared and open to seeking continued support.
    Saswati Gupta Cancer Research Scholarship
    Bariatric weight loss surgery promises life-altering results. However, such changes take precedence over mental health. As instruments are introduced to conduct laparoscopic surgery, the gut microbiome is largely altered, relaying changes to the proteobacteria and firmicutes. These specific bacteria have been studied for their bi-directional influences on depression. It takes years to achieve a return to homeostasis. During the post-surgical timeframe, clients face increased depressive states while attempting to re-establish homeostasis. That is, previous maladaptive coping skills have been removed, leaving them victim to their depression. Would it not benefit the client to be warned of such issues prior to surgery? Would it not be beneficial to encourage post-surgical psychotherapy to combat "normal" depressive states? Those two questions drive my future career goals. As a mental health therapist, I will encourage my current network of weight loss surgeons to go beyond the required pre-surgical psychological health assessment. I will encourage them to provide their clients with an authentic, informed consent process and to equip them with appropriate coping skills, resources, and a direct line to a knowledgeable mental health professional. Further, I will ask that they add Beck's Depression Inventory to their usual post-surgical visits. Working within my current network also allows me to offer my pre-surgical clients the option of continued therapy for the first two years at a heavily discounted price. I will also encourage active participation in direct (in-person) and indirect (social media, zoom) group therapy sessions. It is my mission to undermine the role of depression in post-surgical suffering.
    VonDerek Casteel Being There Counts Scholarship
    I am Stephanie Dowd. I'm a Christian, a wife, a mother, and a student in the graduate program at LeTourneau University. As a child, I suffered from parental abandonment and domestic abuse. To comply with a lengthy divorce process, my siblings and I attended family therapy with a child psychiatrist. I often wonder, "How did he miss signs of C-PTSD?". As a student, I am passionate about advocacy. I want to be the specialist that I should have had as a child. I want to help others. I want people to think "wow, I am so glad that she did not miss the signs." Throughout my educational journey, I have been absorbed in research on trauma and the varied signs of complex trauma. I hope that my childhood experience can benefit others. I hope I can be an excellent advocate for those in need. As a future professional, I hope that I can spread awareness, empower victims, and offer support to my community. Complex trauma manifests in various forms, typically forming maladaptive coping mechanisms. So, while discovering the root of trauma is one thing, resolving and retraining coping mechanisms is another. I am excited to help facilitate healing changes. My main goal is to contribute to psychological research for childhood abuse, childhood post-traumatic stress disorder, complex trauma, and the impact of bariatric weight loss. I hope that my work can inspire others and lead to a better understanding of mental health issues. Attending school has not been easy; it has been an arduous journey. For the majority, I have been a full-time remote employee, homeschool mom, and 4.0 student. However, upon delivering my final child in June 2023, I returned home to the notice of termination of employment as my employer had frantically hired an external billing and management group to replace me and four other employees. Though I have applied to countless jobs, I have not been successful in finding a place willing to work with my scheduling needs for school and motherhood. With inflation at an all-time high, I worry about to costs of finishing my final seven courses to complete my Masters. This scholarship would take some of the financial pressure off of my family. Specifically, it would mean that my husband and I don't have to choose tuition and textbook costs over necessary bills and expenses. I humbly request that you consider me for this gift.
    Mental Health Scholarship for Women
    Tiktok released a video snippet comparing the abilities to multitask for men and women. Their findings suggest that women are superior multi-taskers. But, when we look into "why," the findings may point toward poor mental health. Multi-tasking requires hypervigilance and proactive thinking. Thus, a constant state of arousal is required to "stay on one's toes." Last night, I got into bed at the exhausted hour of 12:30AM as my husband was leaving for work. He sighed, "you stayed up all night watching television?". "No. I put away dinner, bathed the children, read to them, prayed with them, laid out their clothing for tomorrow, cleaned the kitchen, and swept and mopped the house. I prepared the next two weeks of homeschool lessons and crafts. I folded laundry and started another load. Then I decided it was the best time to take down Christmas decorations so I brought down the bins and quietly tucked each item into it's place. I realized that school begins next week, so I downloaded my syllabi, read through each assignment, created an Excel sheet to help keep up with all of the reading and assignments, and then ordered my text books. I completed two assignments and started studying for CECE. I meal planned for the month of January and scheduled grocery pick-up for tomorrow. I re-swept where the tree was and then took the trash out to the garage. I made your breakfast, snacks, and lunch and ironed your work clothes. Finally, I showered while thinking about everything that must be done tomorrow." And.... can you sense the anxiety and hypervigilance? I have struggled with an over-active amygdala my entire life. I pre-plan, plan, and plan some more. I spend so much time overthinking about what could potentially happen that I forget to be present. I stay in a constant state of fatigue. Due to my mental state, I am not always a joy to be around. Sure, I can disengage and focus on conversations, but I feel guilty for not being able to multi-task while I engage in such conversations. If I have an assignment due, I feel compelled to complete it first - but did I mention that I have three children and a husband that also want for my attention. As a student in the counseling program, I recognize that many of my clients will consult me for similar mental health concerns. Is it hypocritical for me to advise them while I, myself, have the same issue? Yes! So, what steps can I take to make my mental health a priority? I can set a time-limit. I can make a promise to focus on one thing at a time. I can take deep breaths, go for a walk, and disconnect from technology. I can schedule a facial or massage. I make time to include my children in chores and baking. I can ask for help and delegate tasks. I can seek personal therapy. Though multi-tasking serves a purpose, I must recognize the need to slow down and enjoy life, one thing at a time.
    Elizabeth Schalk Memorial Scholarship
    Hi. My name is Stephanie Dowd. I am a Christian, wife, mother, daughter, friend, and student. I hope to be considered for this precious scholarship, as it would greatly reduce my family's financial burden and stress about student loans. Scientists claim that every action bears a consequential sequence of inevitable reactions. Psychologists propose an argument of nature vs. nurture to support personality development. However, it is my belief that each of the three proposals is correct; the past and the present state of nature and nurture influence humans. My natural father was a detective. He was honored for many high-level cases. Yet, his life was traumatically changed when he was in his thirties, and, consequentially, my family was also affected. He and his brother-in-law were deep undercover, working with a cartel. My mother was pregnant with me, and he had returned home due to some pregnancy-related complications. His sister found her husband's number in my father's phone and copied it. She snuck away and called her husband. Much to her surprise, a woman answered, and she responded with agitation, accusing her husband of adultery. Her actions revealed both my father's and her husband's identities, leading to a dangerous situation. While his brother-in-law was murdered maliciously, he was tracked down and shot in the chest. My father was rushed to the hospital and saved, but the doctors discovered a mass in his lungs. Upon further investigation, the mass was non-cancerous, and he was advised that it was a potential twin absorption. I'm not sure which "domino" provided the final breaking point, but I'm told he was an amazing, generous man before the sequence of events. Shortly after returning home, he developed a personality disorder, resulting in rage, paranoia, auditory hallucinations, deception, adultery, and various forms of abuse. He abandoned our family and disappeared seven years later. What would life have been like with a loving father figure? Would he have returned to his natural self if he had received trauma-informed care? These are questions I often ponder. These questions shape the person I have become. As a professional counselor, I recognize the potential for similar questions to arise in counseling sessions with clients. Many people suffer from trauma, parental abandonment, and various mental health concerns. My experiences provide me with empathy, compassion, and hindsight. Additionally, my experiences make me vulnerable and human. I believe that my hurt can help heal others. The road to becoming a counselor has been a tumultuous and slow process. Financial burdens and finding classes that align with my full-time occupational schedule and family needs have reduced the speed at which I could complete coursework. I am so happy to be close to the finish line! I would be greatly honored to receive the Elizabeth Schalk Memorial Scholarship. As I enter the Spring 2024 semester, I have six courses to complete to finish my degree. Upon completion, I will advocate for my community, help my clients attain a healthier mindset, and be a change agent.
    Girls Ready to Empower Girls
    Our childhood does not have to be the defining of our character. I was raised in a home where men were the superior sex. My father would say things like, "I wouldn't let a woman operate on me; what happens when she has a mood swing?" and "Women can't drive/fix things/keep up/etc.". I always needed to be better and faster to appease him. In his eyes, women were practically worthless. Due to his words, I developed a similar thought about women over time. I was sure that I was weak. However, my first job was for a female surgeon and she challenged my preconceptions. She was the brightest person I had ever met. Not only had she earned a place of prestige amongst her peers, but she demanded respect from them. She took the time to explain the surgical process to her patients and was patient with their questions. She encouraged and welcomed communication and worked diligently to discover the roots of problems to ensure appropriate care was delivered. When she found herself in a place of uncertainty, she replied honestly, "I'm not sure, let's find out right now!". She welcomed opportunities for growth and she maintained a flawless surgical record in the operating room. This surgeon was different from any man I had ever met. She might have even been better, despite (or consequentially to) her anatomy. Not only could she compete with the men, but she could outperform them while keeping an impeccable bedside manner. Patients loved and trusted her. Is this not what everyone wants from the person they must entrust their life to? Because of this woman, I recognize the role of femininity and how being a woman empowers me to keep compassion, warmth, positive regard, and nurturance toward others. These skills have been especially vital to my educational pursuit in the field of mental health care. As a counselor, my disposition requires such feminine energy. Yet, being female also permits me the strength to sit with challenging positions while welcoming relentless honesty. It allows me to be both soft and strong. Along the way, I've been blessed to meet more inspiring women that taught me to work toward my goals unapologetically. Women have a place at the table! We have so much to contribute to the discussions. However, to take the seat, we must shelve the ideation that women are weaker, lesser, slower, and/or unqualified. We must decide our own worth.
    Our Destiny Our Future Scholarship
    What will your last words be? And, who will hear them, for that matter? Will that person care to remember your words? Will they be a person you care about? Will anyone even remember you? I am a certified crisis counselor, and I honestly care about every person I have had the privilege to speak with on the Hotline. Their stories grow in me, making me a better counselor, and I think about them often. When I began volunteering as a crisis counselor, I hadn't imagined my conversations would be so impactful. I was already a clinical mental health care program student, but I knew the experience would help me with skills development. I did not realize how much it would heal me. Volunteering helped me gain insight into the BLM movement, the gay rights movement, drug addiction, abortion, COVID panic, self-harm, rape, domestic abuse, and the darkness of suicidality. It helped me be more empathetic and compassionate with others; we truly never know what others are going through. I learned what it meant to truly set aside bias and be unconditionally loving and accepting toward another human. Volunteering demystified what it means to be a Christian counselor. As I have volunteered, I've been able to speak with people in their darkest moments. I've helped teenagers roleplay telling their parents they were pregnant, decide when to come out of "the closet," conceptualize their feelings on whether to adopt or abort, come to terms with terminal diagnoses, put the knife or pills down, back away from the ledge, and stop the car. If you're going through a breakup, fleeing a toxic marriage, or concerned about where you will sleep at night, I am there to listen and help unjudgmentally. As I finish my graduate degree, I am reminded of my impact on the world. I wish that I would have had authentic Christians around me when I was growing up. I am truly becoming the person I needed as a teenager - someone who can listen without transferring personal beliefs and install unconditional respect for the fellow. I am still gaining skills and will eventually be licensed to practice professionally - yet, I will actually be helping people feel empowered enough to save their own lives. When you ask, "How do you plan to make a positive impact on the world?" my answer is this: I can positively impact the world by influencing the people in it to believe that they are worthy and loveable again.
    Meaningful Existence Scholarship
    Winner
    It has been twelve years, but I still remember Krystal's face. Two toddlers would attend each appointment with her, and she would apologize for the messes they made and the noise from their play. I loved when she visited; it reassured me that she was safe. Krystal was being seen for a surgical revision to her gastric bypass. She had maintained her goal weight, but she was having several complications. Her appointed psychiatrist approved Krystal for surgical clearance despite major red flags. A common depression screening would have shown that she suffered from severe depression and had suicidal ideations prior to her surgery. Within a month of her surgery, she had attempted suicide a dozen times. We received several notifications from in-patient mental health units that Krystal was unstable and would need continued monitoring. Still, they would hold her for 72 hours, and then she would be released. Krystal died before her three-month post-operative appointment, leaving her children, husband, and mother behind in the wake of her pain. Many things should have been done to save Krystal. Krystal needed an advocate for her mental health. Yet, surgeons miss obvious cues to mental illnesses that threaten their patients' safety. Without continued psychological care, bariatric surgery is dangerous for most morbidly obese patients. As I complete my master's degree, I am eager to work to establish a "red light" barrier to help eradicate the problem of post-bariatric surgery suicidality. Foremost, my goal is to work with insurance carriers to mandate continued psychological assessment in the one-year post-operative time frame as a contingency of surgical coverage and reimbursement. Though some surgeons will still discount depressive states, the continued screening will help families prove where surgeons chose to look the other way in the presence of obvious mental illness. In addition to saving lives, red light barriers will help families ensure accountability from the surgeons. Secondly, it is a goal of mine to establish a protocol for mental health care needs during the one-year time frame following bariatric surgery. To date, there are few studies that compile evidence about the physiological changes and mental states during the postoperative period. Through research, we can find the most effective means of recognizing trends and ensuring client safety. Throughout my degree, I have worked full-time, raised my children, and applied myself to maintain a 4.0 GPA. However, due to my pregnancy, I have been laid off. I begin my practicum next semester and cannot have a full-time job, but there is little hope of paying for my last seven courses without a full-time job. There are many other applicants, but my family and I would appreciate the monetary help in achieving my goal.
    Bold Financial Freedom Scholarship
    In 2012, I began following Dave Ramsey. I feel as if I can say, "I followed Dave before he really 'made it'." Yet, although his ideas and tactics have significantly helped me financially, some of them have become outdated and hypocritical. The absolute best financial advice I have ever received came from a beloved friend. He told me, "I know you want a new car, but you have a good car. It's paid off. Now, you can put that car payment in your savings, allow it to add up, and drive this car until its' wheels are falling off." And that is just what I did. Three years passed and I had what was still a very good car. The car payment which was being made to my high interest accrual account each month had offered me more than what was required for a down payment on my first home and saved me from high interest mortgage rates. Moreover, it gave me the feeling of financial safety while my spouse and I were trying to build stable careers. I followed his advice for years; It wasn't until I was about to deliver my first child that my husband and I decided to buy a new car. After selling my good car, I turned a sizable profit and paid cash for a newer model car that had fewer miles and allowed for child-safety features. It has been almost a decade from the first time he said it, but I will still follow my dear friend's financial advice for this car and will drive it until the wheels fall off while trying to fund my way through college.
    Bold Mental Health Awareness Scholarship
    I used to think that people who used positive affirmations were suffering from delusions or hallucinations. I would rationalize, "if I begin talking to myself, I will wind up in an infirmary." Yet, when my face broke out into cystic acne, and I found myself wallowing in self-misery and depression, my aesthetician told me that I needed to focus on self-love and practice positive affirmations. So, there I stood one morning, facing the mirror, grimacing as I spoke to myself. "You are beautiful. Look how amazing your body is - it's healing itself and driving out bacteria. You are a wonderful woman, who is healing and deserves grace and time." Days passed and weeks dragged on, but the most amazing thing happened. I found myself giving myself grace freely for the first time ever. Moreover, I was no longer self-loathing every time I thought about my appearance. I found my depression practically vanished within 4-5 weeks. Perhaps, the most amazing progress, though, was the physical changes; my back was no longer hurting and my face was actually healing. Still, I feel strange performing such an act and will pause if my husband or daughters walk in. Though, I am sure that they would not think I was delusional nor hallucinogenic - and certainly would not qualify for a trip to the infirmary - I still have not gotten over the oddity of someone hearing me speak to myself. However, hearing my own voice repeat positive affirmations transformed my thinking. It is a tool that is free, practical, and highly effective.
    Mental Health Movement x Picmonic Scholarship
    A deep gasp always brings me back to the surface of reality. It has happened since I can even remember. I zone out and my body "forgets" to function properly. Soon, the walls begin to turn dark and move, at a slow-but-constant pace, closing inward until I feel tangible pressure of being crushed alive. It isn't real; still, it's terrifying. My heart is skipping pace. I must question, "am I shaking, or is everything around me trembling?" Yes, perhaps like a scene from Inception, the area around me is trembling to make this is all a dream and I am just waking back up. Certainly, despite the destruction, like surfacing after you've been underwater for all too long, I can finally breathe again. It is then that I realize, this is "just" another panic attack. I begin utilizing the coping mechanisms that my counselor taught me: square breath, use Scripture to remember my purpose, and count my fingers. Yet, I worry who saw my reaction, hastening my search for calmness. After years of seeking help from doctors, it was finally diagnosed as anxiety. It felt like eternity before I found a physician who understood these symptoms. Though, as a student of psychology, I realized that these are textbook symptoms; ones that should have never been overlooked. It is only now that I realize I am not alone in this battle. As a child and a teen, experiencing such terrors produced depressive thoughts, extrapolated anxiety, and possibly induced trauma. Yet, as a student of counseling, I am able to use such experiences to understand and empathize with my clients. Moreover, because of my personal experience, I am better suited to help guide parents, teens, and children to attain the knowledge of helpful treatment options which can reduce the occurrence and severity of anxiety.
    Carmen V McMillan Memorial Scholarship
    Many consider missionary work to be that which takes place outside of one's natural nation. I believe that missionary work is needed everywhere. A missionary is "one who is sent on a mission to do religious or charitable work". As Christians, we are called to spread the gospel all over the world (Philippians 1:5) including the part of the world in which we inhabit. Titus 2 furthers this call, admonishing older women to train up younger women by ministering to them. My calling is not to reach the nations - at least, not to my knowledge. Instead, I feel compelled toward missioning to those who suffer from mental health crises; those, whose thoughts and actions are overwhelmingly out of their own control. I choose to deliver such a message of irrefutable, redemptive love and atonement to those who feel as if they have been stuffed into a dark pit. I choose to walk by faith and allow the light of Jesus to shine through me. I choose to be their helper. In America, the majority of the population suffers from some psychosis at some point or another during their lifetime. I am just one person, but I know that God can use me to make a large impact in my city. I understand that my humble stewardship can and will spread the love of Christ to those who are lost. This setting isn't too far from where I currently am and it certainly is not too far from where I was 10-years ago. As a teen, I often felt trapped and unseen by God. After seeing a counselor and clearing out psychological pains, I found Christ and received His redemptive love. I have always felt compelled toward psychology, though, as an adult, I found LeTourneau University - a Christian university that teaches an integrative model of psychology and theology. I am being mentored by Christian counselors who understand that forgiveness and redemption come from God. I know that the training that I receive can alter my future as a counselor, so it is extremely important that I attain such training from Christians who share that same faith as I do. I have been stretched as a Christian as I completed my degree at LeTourneau. Now, I am beginning their master's program for clinical mental health counseling. I know that this program will continue to emphasize the importance of ministry and mission in psychology - which has been a predominantly secular field. With their approach, I am sure that I will be able to mission to those around me while helping them heal from past traumas and receive the love and light of God.
    Elevate Mental Health Awareness Scholarship
    Shakenly, the 15-year old version of myself made a life-long commitment to making a significant change to the world of mental healthcare. After enduring the physical and sexual abuse of a vicious stalker for many years - and knowing what he had promised would ensue should I gain a voice to speak out about such occurrences - I found myself suffocatingly trapped between the decision of protecting my family from him or protecting myself from him. "I love him... I will kill myself if you arrest him. Everything was consensual." The words came out like vomit. I was immediately handcuffed and escorted to the back of a police vehicle. The silence was deafening. But then, a smile crept across his face as the police officers turned him free and I knew that I had eliminated my only chance at ever getting help. I was frail and wrought with fear of what was to come. The young officer wept as he said he was going to have to take me to an asylum though he felt in his heart that there was much more to my story. We walked through the adult unit to get to the adolescent unit. He admonished, "should anything happen, please just run as fast as you can and push the red button on the wall." He pointed through a tiny window in the steel door to make sure that I saw it. He was sweating now and nervous about escorting me through. At the last moment, he decided to uncuff me so that I would not be hindered in any attempt to escape if I should need to. Why am I telling you this? Because I was a 70-lb, 4'11", 15-year old child who was facing sexual and physical abuse, depression, and expressed suicidal ideations and perhaps, what came next was actually worse. Upon admission to the facility, the officer told me that he would be praying for me and he was sorry about having to leave me there. I was then forced into a room with 3 male security guards and a female assessor who advised me to remove my clothing and bend over for a full cavity search. When I expressed discomfort, they laughed and showed me optional restraints, so I complied tearfully as the woman watched me being searched and documented cuts and bruises. I received a paper gown and was shoved into a room with another girl. At 2 AM, guards came and forcefully removed me from my bed, slammed me into a chair in front of a nurse, and began doing blood work on me. When I asked why they mimicked my question and told me that it was not "my business what they do to me" because I was in their custody now. By the grace of God, my mother's boss intervened on my behalf, and I was released after 20 hours instead of the minimum requirement of 72. It's odd to me how people with an utter lack of empathy find their way into the field of mental health. Yet, because of these people who left such an unforgettable stain on my life, I found myself motivated - at 15-years old - to fix the system. In fact, I still find myself - at 29-years old - motivated to fix the system. Therefore, not only do I volunteer as a certified crisis counselor for the Crisis Hotline, but I work as an area representative for teenagers so that I can be a compassionate and understanding advocate and I am continuing my education to obtain a Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. Using my experience (both personal and professional) I intend to make a large impact in the field of mental health care. There is a dire need for health professionals who can not only look at the darkness from a position of the light, but walk into the darkness where the client is, sit down with them, and light a candle so that they know that they do not have to be alone. Suicidality is something that weighs heavily on our world. People who talk about such ideas are told that they are attention seekers, scolded for being selfish, and hushed. However, through my Bachelor level research, I have found several studies which indicate that the gut flora and hormonal balances influence susceptibility to suicidal ideations, indicating a biological - and not an intentional - factor. Moreover, the research identifies heritable constituents, further substantiating suicidality's involuntary occurrence. Those who suffer from disturbances should receive the help and tools that they need to become healthy. My degree is just a small step at fulfilling such a humble role.
    AMPLIFY No Code Scholarship
    When I was growing up, obtaining a website for ones' business was a business all on its' own. At one point, you would need to check the yellow pages for a reputable company, call said company, and schedule a time to meet to discuss details, and then wait for the computer technicians to create your site. Then, there would be multiple meetings to sort out the details until the site was perfect. I remember my parents being delighted when - at 14 - I was able to set them up a basic webpage. It was mundane and boring, but having a MySpace account had provided me with a delicate understanding of the way the computer world works. Flash-forward six years and I found ease in developing intricately designed web pages for many of my clients with sites like Wix. Behold; we have entered into the no-code era. Creation is something that should not require too much thought; we are born to create. As a future counselor, I rely on my ability to create. Not only to be able to understand a client, but to promote my business. I will one day be able to create my own company's webpage and be able to create resources that are eye-catching and draw new clients in. The no-code era allows people like me to obtain the necessary resources to create promotional products which are dire to small businesses.
    "Wise Words" Scholarship
    Aldous Huxley wrote the profound literary work, "Brave New World" in the 1940's. His dystopian masterpiece came well before its' time and encases a few of my favorite quotes, yet there is one that stands out high above the crowd. In a heated rush, the main character exasperates, " "Don't you want to be free and men? Don't you even understand what manhood and freedom are?" Rage was making him fluent; the words came easily, in a rush. "Don't you?" he repeated but got no answer to his question. "Very well then," he went on grimly. "I'll teach you; I'll make you be free whether you want to or not." " I know that this seems to put a damper on things; most "favorite quotes" are inspirational and motivational. Still, I find myself quoting Huxley's work in many circumstances. Huxley elicits a pragmatic response from the reader; when we lose "manhood" and "freedom" we become lost. One of the things that begets manhood and freedom is wisdom. When we lose interest in wisdom, we become futile. As a future counselor, I find that seeking understanding and wisdom are highly important. I spend countless hours researching and studying theory and textbooks to better understand the human psyche. So, Huxley very eloquently emphasizes the importance of seeking wisdom and understanding, utilizing logical reasoning, and fighting for these freedoms so that we do not lose our manhood.
    Misha Brahmbhatt Help Your Community Scholarship
    If you are religious or have read any number of C.S. Lewis's literary compositions, you know that Christians hold charity to be one of the greatest forms of human love. One form of Christian charity involves giving one's time to help those who could benefit from it. As a Christian and a student of counseling, I choose to combine the two in an integrative approach -- not to push an agenda flagrant with theological ideology or religiosity on unassuming, disparaged clientele, but to contribute charitable acts to those who can benefit from my training and education. One of the most significant and profound organizations that I have found which guarantees a mode to give back to my community is the crisis hotline. There, potential counselors undergo a system of vetting, empathy training, and participate in mandatory vigorous lessons on therapeutic techniques, ethical standards, and triage screening. After undergoing the necessary training and obtaining the proper certification, I obtained the privilege to provide the community with a free, precious resource. I have found that there is a significant lack of precocious counselors who are comfortable identifying key indicators and discussing the implications of suicidality and self-harming habits, LGBTQ, abortion, and addiction (amongst other clinical presentations that could lead to heightened risks of developing disordered thinking) - especially free of charge. Further, there is a lack of Christians who would provide counsel on such issues without super-imposing their theological beliefs and life views. As a Christian counselor, I am able to provide ethical, unbiased support while giving back to a demographic of clients that desperately need the support. Being in such a role is especially humbling. While I am helping others, I learn and grow as a counselor and am able to see the beauty of charity in humanity. Moreover, I am able to see a clear delineation from unhealthy to more healthy throughout the counselor-counselee relationship. Perhaps, the most touching circumstance was being able to help others develop important coping mechanisms to defend themselves against the tribulations of mental illness. I am obligated to keep to ethical standards and not disclose details further - and this is the greatest privilege (being able to treasure their divulgences) - though, I feel it necessary to state that I feel as if I've created a lasting impact; people learn to lean in toward help and that their life matters regardless of their circumstances. I hope that as I gain a better understanding of the clinical mental health field, I am able to create a bigger impact on people's lives. One thing that limits my outreach is the 4-hour time slot I have to participate in counseling. This statute is in place to guarantee the health of the crisis counselors and is appreciated, but I nonetheless, want to be able to help more people. I hope that people will look back on our anonymous conversations and think, "because of that person, I have renewed hope".
    Act Locally Scholarship
    Have you heard the way that the public speaks about those who suffer from suicidal ideations? I've heard suicidal peoples called "attention-seeking" and "dramatic" amongst other names. There is a certain stigma that comes when one seeks the aid of a mental health provider. Literary works like "13 Reasons" have begun to destigmatize such topics, but have also caused some harm to the mental health community. This is where I come in. As a certified crisis counselor, I currently volunteer to combat this stigma. On any given night, our hotline may receive anywhere from 9,600-24,000 texters from all over the United States. There is a dire need for mental health care providers who are trained and have the necessary empathy and patience for this demographic of clients. As a student, I am pursuing a Masters of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. This degree, once earned, will allow me to sit for the NCE and obtain my professional license so that I can begin counseling clients face to face. Where I currently am, I am required to have an overseeing supervisor and am limited to 4 hours per week and am confined to the implicated undertones of text; because I can not see the client, I am unable to see the early signs of how they are understanding and interpreting my messages. Still, I encounter roughly 12 new clients each week and make a small impact on a big issue. As a licensed counselor, I will be able to help as many as 45 clients each week while providing follow-up care. As someone who has first-hand experience with losing loved ones to suicide, I know that the follow-up care and repertoire that a counselor establishes can make or break a client's mental health healing journey. It is my hope that I will be able to provide outreach and support for those in my community who desperately need it. It is my hope that I will be able to save lives, marriages, and relationships. I also hope that I am able to build my client's excellent coping skills and boundaries so that they can achieve true mental health. Over the past ten years, I have worked in the field of bariatrics and seen many patients suffer from depression and suicidality following surgery. One of the demographics that go magnificently underserved is the bariatric community. These clients receive little-to-no aftercare from counselors following their life-altering surgical interventions. Given the research which indicates the gut microbiome inducing depression symptoms during the first year following surgery, this is a significant area of pure negligence. As a future counselor, I intend to use my education to serve such clients. Because of my history in bariatrics and working with a team of bariatric surgeons, hospitals, and nutritionists over the past decade, I intend to use my current network that I've built over the course of the past decade. Together, we can impact the community and actively work to bring an end to suicidal completion and reduce suicidal ideation.
    Art of Giving Scholarship
    Sarah was 100-years old when she and Abraham had their first baby and she named him Isaac (which means laughing) because God’s timing made her laugh. This Scripture reference keeps me humble - though understandably weary - to God’s calling on my life. The past 10 years have felt like 100; I’ve had to take breaks from school to pay back loans, have two jobs (one to fund school, the other to fund family) and have maintained an 3.98 average. I’ve applied to so many scholarships over these year and have never been picked. I’m not sure why. And it’s disheartening. As a mother to two small children, I have a difficult time financing my education. I work one full time and two part time jobs, home school both girls, and am diligent (however tired I may be) to be studious. I know that — in everything — I must trust God’s timing and plans for me. Still, I would be so encouraged to receive the TAS scholarship to help me fund my education. Winning this scholarship would mean so much to me. It would be an answered prayer; it would cover the cost of classes so that I didn’t have to borrow from our grocery and bills. It took 10 years but I finished my BS-psychology and will be starting my MA-clinical mental health counseling this Fall. This scholarship would mean a less-stressed, more hopeful mommy and wife. And it would mean staying in school and finishing the race instead of having to pause to wait for funding accrual or taking yet another loan. Like Sarah, the past decade has felt like a century and though I’ve taken breaks, and paid back scholarships, I am still left largely in debt to two. I would be so thankful to receive this scholarship.
    Liz's Bee Kind Scholarship
    Like "The Great Gatsby", he was larger than life. A "lady's man" and a "man's man" all in one. He dressed well, had a flashy smile, and everything good seemed to follow him around. He was successful and had a love for life. At least, that's how it appeared from the outside looking in. Indeed, as he humbly served others and impacted lives, his own world was falling apart from the seams. Being the youngest surgeon to ever be admitted to the board, he had a vibrancy that other surgeons lacked. He was empathetic and warm and being around him made you feel like everything would have to be okay. When I was 15-years old, our worlds collided and mine was forever changed. I was a raggedy child - one who was in much trouble at the time. Misunderstood by my parents and incapable of digging myself out of the metaphoric hole I found myself within, I was gracious as ever for his sunshine. See, in a flight of panic, I'd said something that caused me to be "ascertained" by officers. It hadn't been true, but it saved some people from harm and that was worth it to me at the moment. Yet, I was miserably faced with repercussions from my verbalism. Had it not been for Dr. McCarty, I would have found myself swirling in the deep end for a long time. My mother worked for him at the time and - hearing the odd story from the office gossip - he found himself compelled to help me; regardless of how much she vehemently rejected the offer. He came to my rescue and pledged his aid. This was no easy act. It meant meetings and formalities; his arguing and his lawyers'. Though he'd never met me, he took it upon himself to save a kid that seemed to have shared a similar story to his own. He became the person he needed when he was my age. This is something that I have sense always leaned into. Years later, I happened to meet him again. This time, he offered me a job within his new office. His life was back on track (and thanks to him, mine was, too) and he necessitated a trustworthy helper to facilitate his new endeavor. He has since passed away, though his legacy lives within my passion and purpose. He will forever be appreciated and missed. And I will always pledge to be the person (for others) that I needed the most when I was young.
    SkipSchool Scholarship
    Georg Baselitz is a very unusual creator, but he is nonetheless one of my favorite artists. He is a Neo-Expressionist German painter known for displaying upside-down art. His choice to showcase his talent in such a unique way is due to the endless psychological experience. By mentally stimulating his audience, he is able to create emotional charges with his paintings.
    Little Bundle Mother's Day Scholarship
    Gosh, there really is so much to say about being a mother. It’s one of the most prestigious honors I have. After struggling for 13 months through infertility with my first child, I found that I was pregnant and cherished every single moment. This is a far cry from my second (whom I really do adore) where we got pregnant the first try and the pregnancy was agonizing and traumatic. With my first, the worst experience was getting use to breast feeding. She would tear my nipples to shreds with her razor sharp baby gums. My second was born while I was in the midst of finals for my 3rd year of college and as soon as she was born, everything was better. Yet, the entire pregnancy my OB continuously told me, “she may be stillborn”. So, when she arrived healthy and safe, I was overjoyed. Two, beautiful girls! What would I do with myself? In fact, that question was more than accurate. I’d lose days between caring for their every need, keeping up with a full time work-from-home job, homeschooling, and keeping up with 12-16 hours of school, the farm animals, and housekeeping. I was running ragged and barely holding on to myself as I went sleeplessly into the week, week after week. Then something amazing happened. The sleep schedule worked out. I got a glorious night of sleep and demanded help from then on from my husband. We worked out a master plan. Once a month, I leave for 3 hours to go get a facial and speak to another human being (a glorious, spiritually charged human being) and then come back recharged. I squeeze it in to the schedule because it keeps me sane. I love my children, but I’ve learned, when my cup runs empty I have zero left to pour out for them. This simple gesture of driving and listening to the radio on full blast (something other than the Trolls soundtrack) whilst singing and drumming on my steering wheel, getting my face massaged and hearing from another adult is soul healing. Still, my favorite thing is walking through my living room door refreshed and being greeting by my two toddlers with affirmations of their love and need for me. It never fails that I feel more loved when I’ve been in a minute amount of absence. Getting away can be so difficult, especially since the COVID close downs. First, I had to trust that my husband would not lose out children while he was absorbed in ESPN or locked in the restroom doing whatever men do for forty minutes at a time. Secondly, I had to come to terms with not knowing what they’d be doing and eating for 3 hours and if they were safe. Thirdly, grilling my husband about the rules for safety and making him promise to call me if anything where to happen at all. Finally, I just had to relax which is a small, but difficult feat after you’ve have one child continuously on your hip for 4 years (less one night in a hospital to deliver the younger sibling) and the other for 2. My motherhood quickly became my identity and I realize that I must be my own person. For that reason, I prioritize my self care now, so that they learn that momma always comes home and that I love them so very much!
    Bryent Smothermon PTSD Awareness Scholarship
    Sometimes, the wind blows and it reminds him; maybe it’s the color of the clouds or the sudden pungent smell... maybe it’s the rustle in the trees, or the way the air hits his face. It takes him back. In a flash, his smile fades to thin line and the crinkles by his eyes harshen as his brow furrows. His eyes - especially the one that was slashed open - become dark. It’s a traumatic experience for all around but especially him. With age, it seems that the attacks get worse. It began by him flying out of bed in the middle of the night after a particularly stressful day, flapping and fighting in panic following a dream, but now different things bring it on. Each time, he hurts himself. We’ve seen him break his ribs, dislocate his shoulders, and even fling himself through a window. When he comes to, he is embarrassed and humiliated and terrified that he may have hurt someone else. I hate it for him. My dad is a retired shooter for the USMC. As a marine, he was honored to be called to fight for this country. But after being in hand to hand combat, escaping capture, watching many of his friends die, and barely carrying his spotter out, he understandably suffers from the memories. As a student of psychology and clinical mental health counseling, I love learning about the brain and the human psyche. Moreover, I adore that it allows me to understand and help him better. While I plan to focus my practice on the field of bariatric post-surgical care, I also feel called to learn how to make his life easier and my moms safer. I’ve given much thought to volunteering time at the VA to help with others who suffer such fate. I know that as he ages and his cognitive health declines, it creates a worsened environment which is conducive to the PTSD symptoms. I am hopeful that during my next 3 years of graduate level school, I can learn how to help him beat this. As an American (as well as a personal) hero, I feel that he deserves to be mentally healthy and equipped with the things he needs to be healthy. I can only hope and pray to be a vessel for this healing. In the mean time, he is supported with love and respect and a fervent understanding that his worth is not diminished by his internal struggle.
    Breanden Beneschott Ambitious Entrepreneurs Scholarship
    Did you know that bunnies can be litter-box trained? Moreover, did you know that they can sense human emotion and respond accordingly? According to one study, domesticated rabbits understand the emotions of their owners. If you’re happy, you’ll find your rabbit reflecting this joy; If you are withdrawn and depressed, a rabbit will express concern for your predicament. So could bunnies be good candidates for PTSD and emotional support animals? Probably so. Rabbits are highly trainable. Whereas K9's can take weeks of specialty, costly training, rabbits can be trained within a matter days with the incentive of food, alone. As an additional factor, rabbits are generally free or range around $25.00 per bunny while a puppy can cost as much as 10x this amount in upfront costs. While rabbits reach maturity rather quickly and develop attachment rapidly, training with puppies may be put on hold for 3 months or a year while the puppy grows into adulthood and bonds with the owner. Still, their average life expectancy is around 12 years which is comparative to most dog breeds. While some people have a difficult time sustaining an environment that is acceptable for their dog, rabbits may be a better alternative. In comparison to dogs, rabbits do well with small spaces and little-to-no exposure to the outdoors. They need not go outside to use the restroom due to their ability to litter-box train and can easily accompany their owner almost anywhere. Unlike dogs, most people are not allergic to rabbit dander. Rabbits are self groomers and rarely require bathing and grooming services to keep clean. Further, because they are prey-animals, they have a keen understanding to the struggles of anxiety, depression, and uneasiness. Finally, rabbits are almost noiseless, so they will not bother a neighbor with their excitement and playtime as a dog might. I love dogs and feel sad for people who do not have room to occupy a K9 friend, too little time, or allergies to them. However, I feel that these factors should not negate a person's ability to receive emotional support if it is needed. I feel that Mechanism would find outstanding benefits if they conducted research to train bunnies to be emotional support animals and respond to PTSD attacks. Further, I think that this addition would be a great way to serve our returning soldiers, as rabbits breed rapidly and we would be able to easily accommodate our returning soldiers. As a future counselor, I have went back and forth on having a trained emotional support animal in office. However, because of the physical needs of a dog and the possibility of extreme allergies of my clients, I feel that it is not an option to have a K9 in office. However, a bunny would not pose such issues and may be a better option overall. For this reason, I have been looking into conducting research on such an option and feel that - if proven through research - may be an option that is conducive for many apartment owners, physically disabled peoples, and people who struggle with allergies but still need an emotional support animal in their home. I hope that this is a study that may interest Mechanism and look forward to the response I may receive. I appreciate your time in reviewing my interest in this subject.
    Mary Jo Huey Scholarship
    As a young professional, I have helped start many healthcare practices within the past few years. However, the one that I most look forward to is my opening own. In 2023, I will finally graduate with my Masters of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and be able to start my own practice. That is - if I am able to afford it. Currently, I am on the path to being indebted $70,000 if I am unable to secure a scholarship. I have learned that being bright and earning good grades only takes you so far. I earned a 3.95 GPA, but school comes at a high cost. However, I've learned the true meaning of "never working a day in your life" when it comes to doing something that you truly enjoy. Of course, I love mental health; I love seeing people transform into bolder, healthier versions of themselves. I love seeing people leap up from their depression and walk transformed and chain-free. Indeed, I have large aspirations for my private practice. I plan on making a big difference. I intend on counseling a demographic of peoples that have been largely left out when it comes to mental health. Contrast to their need - there is a projected 50% increase in risk of depression and suicidality following weight loss surgery and an 85% risk of marital failure - they receive little psychological care following such an invasive, life altering procedure. My intention is to fill that gap and eliminate or reduce their downfall of mental warfare. Mental health care can be expensive - insurance carriers do not like to dole out payment for such services and instead, limit visits to 12 per calendar year. As part of my goal, I not only plan to fight this disservice to these clients, but intend to provide cost effective services and will discount my services for routine follow-up during the initial two years following surgery, as this is the timeframe where the gut microbiome is most susceptible to causing depression. My motivation comes in part from seeing people that I've adored over the past decade suffer. I've lost 5 precious patients to the grasp of suicide, seen countless marriages fail, and seen people who justly deal with depression as if it will never leave them. In their honor, I will work with my network of bariatric surgeons to ensure that they are aware of my services. It is my hope that I can eventually employ a multitude of counselors to help reach a larger demographic area for this specialty service.
    Breanden Beneschott Fire Memes Scholarship
    I hope that you love these as much as I do! You can't lie to your therapist. We're literally trained to see through your illusion. #rollupyoursleeves #itstissuetime #letsgetthatmentalhealthglow Your therapist is your best-for-tha-resty. We care about your mental health and love seeing you grow! #beingyoursunshine #watchingyougrow #letyourmentalhealthglow Don't forget to look for the bright side of things today. #optimismopportunities #mentalhealthisbeautiful #wewillovercome
    First-Gen in Health & Medicine Scholarship
    Being a first-generation student has been no easy feat. Unlike my peers, I do not have parents or siblings to turn to when I have scholarly inquiries. Neither do I have aunts, uncles, or cousins to go to for sound advice. I have had to depend on myself for gaining understanding and passing my courses. However, where they fail to help me with guidance in this area of life, I have found solitude in expressing my questions to my professors. Because of this, I am forced to establish relationships with my professors; I say "forced" because I had always struggled with doing this. Being an introvert, I had to learn to go to people for help, regardless of how uncomfortable this is for me. This helps me develop humility and empathy for my future clients, as I know that turning to a mental health professional (a stranger) for emotional support is a harrowing task. That said, being a first-generation student has been both a humbling and strengthening portion of my educational pursuit.
    3Wishes Women’s Empowerment Scholarship
    I think that our generation has done much to empower women. For the first time, women are out-earning men, we have pay equality in gender-neutral jobs, and are seeing studies that show that women are often stronger candidates in the work place. The American workplace has failed to decrease the burden on women - however - as very few companies allow for maternity and post-partum care. We are required to continue stressful work throughout being pregnant (placing us at higher disposition for stressful womb environment) and immediately after having our children (placing us at a higher disposition for post-partum depression). This is not something that is comparative to a biological man's duties and responsibilities, as they do not go through pregnancy and labor as women do. I believe that there should be a system established - such as the one in Canada - that would allow women to take a break during the final trimester and directly following child birth. This would allow the woman to decrease stress during the final months of pregnancy, finish up needed projects for the child, heal following bodily trauma, and bond with their child. It would decrease the mental health burdens that women experience during this life-altering time of their lives. Further, it would decrease the worries regarding financial burdens during a precious time. Finally, this would show that society cares about the life-giving power that women hold.
    Nervo "Revolution" Scholarship
    I'd love to begin by saying, "Thank you for this opportunity." I am a student pursuing a Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. There is nothing more truly beautiful than the human brain. We are resilient, vibrant, knowledgeable, and creative creatures/creators. Everything we do stems from our mental function and no two people are the same. I hold an associates of liberal arts and a bachelors of science in psychology. That said, I have a love for literature and psychology (and psychological literature). My artistic ambition - albeit likely different from most of your candidates - is to allow my light and colorful personality to influence those dealing with depressive thoughts, self-harm, and suicidal ideations. I find that bringing color to darkness helps so much when you are dealing with harmful thoughts. Have you ever seen that film with Robin Williams called Patch Adams? I live by this. As a Crisis Counselor for the Suicidal Hotline, I work with a variety of people who reach out for help. They might be having trouble "coming out" to their families, dealing with teen pregnancy and considering the implications of abortion vs. being a young, single mother, who were in the midst of self-harm, planning suicide or bidding a final goodbye, or going through a break-up. I've had clients who were experiencing panic attacks, dealing with racism, and were concerned over COVID-19 shutdowns. Each of their situations were important and unique. I love seeing each person create their own therapeutic forms of self-love. I helped people find healing through dressing their dogs in their own sweatshirts, applying make-up while watching a YouTube instruction video, and listening to their favorite bands while writing about how the songs make them feel. I've helped people by being a sounding board for their feelings. I find that artistic expression and creativity is innate to humankind and helps with inner-healing. While my work is not such an artform of which I can show you in a PDF file, my art is written on other people's hearts and minds; my voice is the helper, shutting down negativity and coloring with vibrancy the inner - once dark - corners of the mind's of my clients. My voice matters, because their lives matter.
    Bold Moments No-Essay Scholarship
    I thought that 2015 would be the hardest year of my life. I'd been struggling with infertility for almost two years and found myself sobered by the idea that I might never have a child of my own. My niece - a prayer warrior - had influenced me and my husband to come to church with her. She, my husband, and myself all found salvation on the same day and were baptized together. This is something that I was excited about - albeit, I was embarrassed about my age - and plunged into freezing water. We now have two children.
    Brynn Elliott "Tell Me I’m Pretty" Scholarship
    As odd as it sounds, my Obstetrician may be the most profound woman I have ever encountered; she certainly made me want to be a better woman. When I expressed my intent to have a natural birth, she looked at me with discerning eyes and bid me good luck: "I've never had a patient actually do it, but if that's what you want, I will certainly cheer you on." And cheer, she did. From the end of the bed, her blue eyes sparkled as she woo-hoo'ed and hoorayed me throughout labor. I was able to make it through the most painful day of my life with enthusiasm because of her spirited guidance. Afterward, I found a renewed respect for myself. I felt like superwoman. I finally understood feminism. Women are amazing and should be celebrated. As a future counselor, I hope that I can encompass such cheerfulness and help others see their value.
    Little Bundle Supermom Scholarship — College Award
    I watched my mother from the doorway as she rolled coins into little tubes to pay our utility bills. She was tired; she worked three jobs to support the four of us. The mattress that had once been in her room had been sold and she sat in the floor, slumped against the bedframe which lacked any value. She wore second-hand clothing and had tears running down her cheeks as she hashed out little lines to tally to total. We were short again, and she would either need to ask my 16-year old brother or her parents for some money to make ends meet. She felt like a failure and was unsure that she would ever be able to make ends meet on her own. My father had requested everything in the divorce and - in an effort to keep us safe from domestic abuse - she had relented to his desires. In exchange for the contents within the bank and the home, he had relinquished custody and vowed to leave us alone. We were left with rags, poor, and hungry, but we were safe and well-loved. She never complained about our poverty but from listening to the walls, I knew that she cried very often in the night. My brother eventually graduated and left for college, leaving her with me and my two sisters to care for. She sold the house and was able to buy a smaller place that she could afford with her jobs. Then came a day when she found a job in healthcare which allowed her to comfortably only work one job and spend the nights being a mother. Eventually, she opened a private consulting business and was able to comfortably make living expenses while employing others. Her life was less than perfect, but she made every effort to ensure that mine was. From her, I learned that hard work accomplishes much, that I should never settle for a man that did not treat me to my worth, and that parenting is an education makes job security more easily attained. Because of her, I married a man that fit my standards - one whom is an excellent father for our two children and treats me well. My mother also taught me the value of perseverance and that no one has the right to keep you down. Finally, she taught me that I should always keep my chin up. I am seeking to obtain a Masters of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Care so that I can encourage women like her to hold steadfast and continue the fight. I want to ensure all people that there is hope in this world and that being single does not mean that they are alone. Finally, I want to be an open door for those who - like my mom - feel that they must cry alone in the middle of the night. As a community, we must promote social well-being for those who feel like they may lose hope.
    A Sani Life Scholarship
    It's funny - the way that things meant for harm are turned into things that are good for us. At the beginning of the pandemic shut down, I remember thinking, "oh, we are going to lose so much time". Yet, I hadn't realized how wrong I was. Instead of the pandemic causes chaos within our home, we found ourselves practicing gratitude for the first time in a long time. In fact, time was not only gained, but better appreciated. For the first time in a long time my husband and I cultivated a garden, worked together, put together a puzzle, read and discussed literature, and played games. We implemented several traditions, celebrated holidays while focusing on their true meanings, eliminated distractions, and watched the sun rise and falls many times within a week. We began taste-testing different foods and teas, organized closets, cleaned out broken toys, participated in charity drives, and found ourselves praying for those whom we do not know. I found myself able to take on a higher load of coursework while maintaining an "A" average within my classes. I also found myself building friendships with my peers and professors. Finally, I found a true sense of compassion and calling for the field of mental health care as the world around us began to ooze with mental health disorders. Luckily, as a student, I was already focused on the field of mental health and found a place as a crisis counselor within the Crisis Hotline. Because of the time lost to other activities, I was able to counsel 70 people (for free) within my first month. Thus, instead of losing time, I have found time for the most important deeds.
    Pandemic's Box Scholarship
    It's funny - the way that things meant for harm are turned into things that are good for us. At the beginning of the pandemic shut down, I remember thinking, "oh, we are going to lose so much time". Yet, I hadn't realized how wrong I was. Instead of the pandemic causes chaos within our home, we found ourselves practicing gratitude for the first time in a long time. In fact, time was not only gained, but better appreciated. For the first time in a long time my husband and I cultivated a garden, worked together, put together a puzzle, read and discussed literature, and played games. We implemented several traditions, celebrated holidays while focusing on their true meanings, eliminated distractions, and watched the sun rise and falls many times within a week. We began taste-testing different foods and teas, organized closets, cleaned out broken toys, participated in charity drives, and found ourselves praying for those whom we do not know. I found myself able to take on a higher load of coursework while maintaining an "A" average within my classes. I also found myself building friendships with my peers and professors. Finally, I found a true sense of compassion and calling for the field of mental health care as the world around us began to ooze with mental health disorders. Luckily, as a student, I was already focused on the field of mental health and found a place as a crisis counselor within the Crisis Hotline. Because of the time lost to other activities, I was able to counsel 70 people (for free) within my first month. Thus, instead of losing time, I have found time for the most important deeds.
    Cat Zingano Overcoming Loss Scholarship
    My grandfather was larger than life. He stepped in when my own father rescinded his position; Pop ensured that I had a father-figure that was worthy. He taught me that education was important - it was something that he never was given. At age 8, Pop was required to discontinue formal education and work in a cotton field to help his family survive the Great Depression. At 13, he moved to Dallas to live in a one bedroom apartment with his two older brothers and their wives to pave roads and send his money back to his mother and father. My educational start was a rocky one. I was less than a prominent scholar, but I maintained my grades and looked forward to him seeing me attain a degree. However, a month before I completed enough work to ensure a 2-year degree, I found out that he would soon die from progressive lung cancer and kidney failure. I chose to close my degree and graduate with an Associates in Liberal Arts so that he would see me walk in my cap and gown, but God called him home early. In grievance, I graduated and took bereavement for the next 5 years. One night, I realized that while Pop would have been proud of me, my educational pursuit should have been about my own goals, dreams, and accomplishment. Pop was already proud of me; but I could not help others if I continued to deny my education. I enrolled to finish my 4-year degree and will graduate Sum Cumma Laude at this Friday. In the Fall, I will continue to pursue a Masters in Arts in Clinical Mental Health with the aspiration of obtaining an LPC license to begin counseling by 2023. His legacy lives within me and I know that he would be proud of whatever I accomplish, so long as I work hard.
    Elevate Mental Health Awareness Scholarship
    "It was not my fault." This is a sentence cost me roughly $1,000.00 per word. It seems concise, yet this sentence extrapolated my sense of self and helped me to see my worth. Therapy is meant for self-exploration, self-love, and personal growth. In 2010, I was an anxiety-ridden alcohol with a victim mentality. I was crushed under pressure and plagued with flashbacks and sleeplessness. My relationships suffered while my soul seemed to slowly slip away into the abyss. That is, until I met my counselor; a kind woman whose passion for healing enveloped my spirit and set me back on my feet. Having had a rocky beginning, I found myself alone and perishing. A simple gesture from Dr. Donahue allowed me to grasp hold of myself and begin healing. In remorse, I found that not only did I blame myself for someone else's intentional destruction in my life - but I had perpetually trapped myself in the grip of victimization. Forgiveness sets us free. Beginning with myself, I had to learn about letting go and forgiving – especially myself – for the past to move into the present. This meant falling apart, removing strong-holds that had long been set about to remove myself from pain, and letting people in. Unintentionally, these walls had stopped protecting me and had instead, blocked out anyone who might have allowed me to begin healing. Something beautiful happened because of these sessions. I found that the money did not matter as much as I figured it would. I built relationships with people that I loved and allowed them to love me and to know me. I found understanding and empathy with others. Moreover, I found that relationships require forgiveness because we are all imperfectly perfect. I found myself because someone cared enough to help me dig and uproot the things that were burying me. This is what I wish to do for others. As a graduate student at LeTourneau University, I have found a clear path to becoming a mental health professional. My goal is to graduate in the Summer of 2023 with my Masters of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, to obtain my LPC license, and then open a private practice so that I may begin counseling the area that I find most underserved. As a medical professional and student of psychology, I have compiled research indicating that as many as 70% of patients suffer from post-surgical depression, 85% are at risk for divorce following surgery, and 100% of patients have significant gut-microbiome changes that are responsible for mental health dysfunction for the year following surgical weight loss. This said, these patients are not offered mental health care during their post-operative time frame. My role will be to use my current network of bariatric surgeons to obtain outreach for this demographic of clients. In doing so, I feel that I can make a stark difference, lower suicidal completion rates, reduce depression rates, and decrease post-surgical divorce rates. It is my hope that I am at least as effective as Dr. Donahue was for me. In preparation for this important role, I have devoted my leisure time to volunteering at the Crisis Textline to combat suicidality, depression, and a vast array of mental health issues.
    Ethel Hayes Destigmatization of Mental Health Scholarship
    "It was not my fault." This is a sentence cost me roughly $1,000.00 per word. It seems concise, yet this sentence extrapolated my sense of self and helped me to see my worth. Therapy is meant for self-exploration, self-love, and personal growth. In 2010, I was an anxiety-ridden alcohol with a victim mentality. I was crushed under pressure and plagued with flashbacks and sleeplessness. My relationships suffered while my soul seemed to slowly slip away into the abyss. That is, until I met my counselor; a kind woman whose passion for healing enveloped my spirit and set me back on my feet. Having had a rocky beginning, I found myself alone and perishing. A simple gesture from Dr. Donahue allowed me to grasp hold of myself and begin healing. In remorse, I found that not only did I blame myself for someone else's intentional destruction in my life - but I had perpetually trapped myself in the grip of victimization. Forgiveness sets us free. Beginning with myself, I had to learn about letting go and forgiving – especially myself – for the past to move into the present. This meant falling apart, removing strong-holds that had long been set about to remove myself from pain, and letting people in. Unintentionally, these walls had stopped protecting me and had instead, blocked out anyone who might have allowed me to begin healing. Something beautiful happened because of these sessions. I found that the money did not matter as much as I figured it would. I built relationships with people that I loved and allowed them to love me and to know me. I found understanding and empathy with others. Moreover, I found that relationships require forgiveness because we are all imperfectly perfect. I found myself because someone cared enough to help me dig and uproot the things that were burying me. This is what I wish to do for others. As a graduate student at LeTourneau University, I have found a clear path to becoming a mental health professional. My goal is to graduate in the Summer of 2023 with my Masters of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, to obtain my LPC license, and then open a private practice so that I may begin counseling the area that I find most underserved. As a medical professional and student of psychology, I have compiled research indicating that as many as 70% of patients suffer from post-surgical depression, 85% are at risk for divorce following surgery, and 100% of patients have significant gut-microbiome changes that are responsible for mental health dysfunction for the year following surgical weight loss. This said, these patients are not offered mental health care during their post-operative time frame. My role will be to use my current network of bariatric surgeons to obtain outreach for this demographic of clients. In doing so, I feel that I can make a stark difference, lower suicidal completion rates, reduce depression rates, and decrease post-surgical divorce rates. It is my hope that I am at least as effective as Dr. Donahue was for me.