Why your support matters
Sandra Olarte-Hayes, MSSW ’15, 2013–2015St. David’s Foundation Bilingual Social Work Scholar
The last day of her internship at LifeWorks, Sandra Olarte-Hayes was offered a permanent position. Since then, she has mostly worked as a bilingual counselor with Spanish-speaking individuals.
“When I started the program I thought I was going to work with women who had experienced sexual and domestic violence. I didn’t imagine that my career was going to be mostly working with individuals involved with the justice system and that I would come to realize that the dichotomy between victim and perpetrator does not really exist. It is not what I expected, but it’s definitely working!”
When not at LifeWorks, Olarte-Hayes is active in the Austin community: she has facilitated restorative circles with incarcerated adults, and with teenagers through an East Side high school and through Youth Rise Texas, which congregates teenage community organizers with a parent or caregiver who has been incarcerated or deported.
“The St. David’s Foundation scholarship allowed me to graduate without debt, which is completely transformative if you think about how much social workers make,” Olarte-Hayes says. “None of the community work and volunteering that I did right out of school would have been possible if I had debt. The St. David’s Foundation scholarship really changed my career path and opened so many opportunities for me.”
Why I Give
Dieter Gaupp (MSSW ’52) and his brother Peter applied for the master’s program in 1950, the year the School of Social Work opened its doors.
“Peter kept getting mail and I didn’t get anything. So one day we went to the social work office in Austin and I inquired about my file. And the answer was ‘Oh, there are two of you?’! We were a small group of students in that first class, all pioneers. We had to face some adversity, being housed in Old B Hall, which was creaky and falling apart and what not.”
Gaupp did his first field placement with Family Services and Travelers Aid Agency, in Amarillo: “In those days we still had Route 66, and many people going west got stuck in Amarillo, for whatever reason, so we helped them. I went up there with another student, Bob Willis. We didn’t have much money, so we moved into a trailer that was barely big enough to turn around, but we somehow made it.”
“I give because I was a student with no money, so I want to make sure students have funds! I also give because I am grateful. Going to the School of Social Work was a great experience for me, and a lot of what I learned is part of my DNA now.”
2017 Class Gift Contributors
Diana Anzaldua, Ireneusz Banaczyk, Olivia Branscomb-Burgess, Kay Coleman, Elizabeth Cook, Alex Elder, Meredith Englehart, Kristian Fleming, Melissa Forrow, Yesenia Lares-Martinez, Ellen Line, Ana Lopez, Katie Martin, Charlotte McDermott, Ryan McEwen, Margaret Neaves, Marisa Ortega, Victoria Ortiz, Rachel Poppers, Nataly Sauceda, Betty Jo Schafer, Catarina Silva, Abby Smartt, Samantha Synett, Hope Underwood, Anneke Valk, Nicollette Violante, Jessie White-Ledet, Maya Williams
Silence = Death
Alan Silverman and Steve Cadwell Fellowship in LGBTQ Social Work Studies
Alan Silverman (MSSW ’80) passed away April 15, 2017, after a long battle with brain cancer. His classmate, friend, and fellow LBGTQ activist Steve Cadwell (MSSW ’80) shared his thoughts on what motivated the two of them to establish this endowed fellowship.
“Alan and I represent the generation of gay men who spanned the eras from ‘the love that dare not speak its name’ to gay liberation and out and proud. We also survived the AIDS epidemic, which catapulted us even further into our work — just by chance, we didn’t die. We learned the full meaning of the AIDS activism motto: Silence=Death. Alan lived that motto of activism and took it all over the world.
We’ve made enormous gains in civil rights for LGBTQ in our lifetimes but the work is not done. It’s never done in this imperfect world and as social workers we’re committed to change for the better. With this endowmnet we wanted to support frontline work by students who are committed to that cause, no matter what their orientation is.
We lived through the late 1970s, with all the social chaos and change. When we joined the School of Social Work, we were fortunate to be part of a class that was full of activists with really diverse experiences and backgrounds — so much of the learning is from peers in the program!
In that era, most of us received financial help in some way. By ensuring funding for students who are committed to LGBTQ issues, Alan and I want to ensure that others benefit from the diversity and classroom conversations that we benefited from in our time.”
Children are our future
Ruth G. McRoy Scholarship in Services for Children and Families
Ruth McRoy’s early social work career as a marriage counselor and later in an agency serving children and families impacted by adoption posed the main question that she has sought to answer throughout her long, fruitful career as a researcher and scholar: how can we best serve and improve outcomes for children and families?
“Children are our future and we need to do everything we can to enable them to be successful,” says McRoy, who in addition to producing research on child welfare and adoption has worked nationally and internationally on policies to improve service delivery for children and families. She was a member of the School of Social Work faculty for 25 years, and is the Ruby Lee Piester Centennial Professor Emerita.
McRoy launched this scholarship with the goal of providing financial support to students who plan to pursue a career in services for children and families. She is thankful to all who have contributed to this fund and those who will do so in the future.
“My years at UT Austin as a doctoral student first and as a faculty member later were the best years of my life. I want to give others the opportunity to have that experience.”
To contribute to any of these initiatives or learn more about endowments, contact Laura Turner, email@example.com, or 512-750-1015.