Ilknur Citlak, MSW, Class of 2013
Recipient of the All College Graduate Scholarship (now known as the Excellence Scholarship for Graduate Study)
One of the most important events in my life that prompted me to think about social work for a career was when I witnessed individuals in my home country of Turkey who were not receiving proper care for their health conditions. I found myself worrying about the health of others and how they were going to survive. During my visits to Turkey, I realized that there were homeless individuals everywhere I went, and that people were experiencing poverty and seemingly had nowhere to turn. Even though I have seen homeless people before, here in the United States, this was different. I saw people who felt as if they had no hope because there was no one, like we have here, to help them find resources. That was when I knew that I could be someone that could help change the way countries provide social resources to their people. I could be someone who gave hope, not took it away.
I applied for the All College Graduate Scholarship to continue my commitment to the field of social work, and to support my career ambition for working with culturally diverse populations. I find that there is a shortage of the multilingual social workers needed to work with more diverse individuals. Where can these individuals go for help if nobody understands what they are going through? My experiences in my own culture led me to become more aware of the social and economic inequalities around us. Not only are these inequalities present here in the United States, specifically around immigrants, but they are present internationally. I noticed a lack of understanding about international issues and find myself curious about the conditions of people in other countries. I believe that this scholarship will continue my graduate education and give me an opportunity to gain exposure in diverse capacities in the field of social work.
Each year, four Excellence Scholarships for Graduate Study (formally known as All-College Graduate Scholarships) are made available to graduate students. The selection criteria include both academic accomplishment and professional promise. Financial need is not an influencing factor.