By Nicole Wood
College of Human Ecology
Two master of social work students were recently selected to receive nationally-competitive scholarships. Both the Christine Smith Graduate Studies Scholarship and the GlaxoSmithKline Opportunity Scholarship are awarded based on the student’s academic performance and personal or faculty recommendations.
Stacy Connor of New Bern will use the $15,000 Christine Smith Scholarship to cover the cost of her graduate degree and the exams to become a licensed clinical social worker and licensed clinical addictions specialist.
Any remaining money will help support the two years of clinical supervision required for licensed practitioners.
The Educational Foundation, with funding from the estate of Christine Smith and the members of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, established the Christine Smith $15,000 Graduate Studies Scholarship for graduate level studies specializing in children and family issues.
Connor was overjoyed when she heard the news of her accomplishment. She said she selected ECU’s School of Social Work because of its distance education program.
“I am a working professional and the DE program allowed me to work while going to class on Saturdays. I would not have been able to attend a regular track program,” said Connor. She said that she was also drawn to ECU’s nationally-accredited social work program for its focus on relationships.
“Being immersed in the clinical-community relational perspective is important when seeking licensure. ECU has one of the few programs in the nation that specialize in this form of study,” said Connor.
Christina Unruh of Cary, recipient of the GlaxoSmithKline Opportunity Scholarship, was selected for demonstrating the potential to succeed despite adversity. Unruh began her graduate work in another department at ECU, but in 2011 had to take a leave of absence due to a personal matter. Upon returning to East Carolina and changing her program of study, Unruh enrolled in the social work program in 2013.
Unruh explained that she too chose East Carolina because of the program’s perspective. “The clinical-community relational perspective is what drew me in initially,” said Unruh. “Its fundamental premise is that problems in living and psychological problems are almost always exacerbated by social isolation and lack of resources.”
Thankful for the opportunities the $5,000 scholarship will provide, Unruh said, “The scholarship will pay my tuition and fees which will allow me to focus on my internship and volunteer work; giving me educational opportunities all while building my résumé.”