Grad student lands Hogg Foundation for Mental Health scholarship

By Jordan Gass-Pooré
University News Service
June 28, 2011

Caroline Muster, a Texas State University-San Marcos social work graduate student, has been awarded an Ima Hogg Scholarship in Mental Health.

The Ima Hogg Scholarship program awards up to five $5,000 scholarships annually to graduate social work students in Texas with an interest in the mental health profession.

The scholarship program was created in 1956 to address the need for more trained social workers in the mental health field.

Muster, originally from Canada, had not heard of the Hogg Foundation or the Ima Hogg Scholarships prior to being nominated.

“Faculty members that I look up to and who have been instrumental in my education and have seen my work efforts and think that they're deserving of this $5,000 is a huge compliment,” Muster said.

Muster transferred to Texas State her sophomore year of college from the University of Florida. She majored in architecture and aspired to design handicap-accessible buildings.

Muster is diagnosed with Osteogenesis Imperfecta, better known as "brittle bone" disease.

“I want to be a little voice for people with special needs,” Muster said. “We may look different, function differently, but we all have the same wants, needs and desires.”

Muster changed her major from architecture to psychology after taking a University of Florida introduction to psychology course. She said she believed she could do more to help people than by “just studying their behavior.”

A Texas State undergraduate adviser gave Muster more information about the School of Social Work. She said it was after this meeting that she decided to add a social work minor.

“I always had a heart for social work,” Muster said. “I just didn't even know what social work was.”

Muster has worked with Connections, a non-profit organization in New Braunfels for homeless, abused, or at-risk youth, as an intern and residential support specialist for two years.

Muster said after graduating from the School of Social Work in May 2012 she would like to run a support group for young adults with special needs. She said she also wants to be an advocate for the elimination of the word disabled.