Social Work Student Awarded Scholarship12/08/2015
The University of Akron Wayne College announces social work student Amber Wengerd was recently awarded a $5,000 scholarship by Direction Home Akron Canton, the local area agency on aging and disabilities that serves Portage, Stark, Summit and Wayne Counties.
Each year, Direction Home offers the scholarship to one college student studying in the field of gerontology, social work, nursing, or a related social services field. The award recognizes students with a vested interest in the long-term care of older adults and persons with disabilities.
A graduate of Waynedale High School, Wengerd lives in Wooster and said she knew she wanted to be a social worker even before she knew what one was. "I have always wanted to help people who have fallen on hard times or are unable to figure out how to help themselves," Wengerd said. She said she specifically feels a need to advocate for the aging population because of her experience watching her great-grandmother suffer from declining health in a facility that could not accommodate her needs. Wengerd also knows what it is like to personally overcome adversity. She became a mother her senior year in high school and soon after a wife.
Pursuing her education as a non-traditional student has been challenging, but her family has provided the motivation she needed to finally realize her career dream. "I wanted to show my children the importance of education and hard work, and that you can accomplish your goals despite your circumstances." Wengerd also credits her professors and the close-knit feel of Wayne College for her success. "I learned how to embrace other cultures, understand boundaries, and seek the truth in facts. Everyone had endless patience with my incessant need to understand everything!"
Scheduled to graduate in May, Wengerd hopes to find a position working with and advocating for the aging population.
Interested in a career in social work? The next cohort begins January 2016. The application deadline is Dec. 21. A Masters of Social Work program is also beginning fall 2016. For more information visit wayne.uakron.edu.
Image caption: Amber Wengerd is a social work student at UA Wayne College. She was recently awarded a scholarship by Direction Home Akron Canton and hopes to find a position advocating for older adults when she graduates in May.