Schmieding Gift Funds U of A School of Social Work Internship Opportunities

by | Feb 14, 2020 | Features, Gifts, Outreach & Impact

Students walking outside of Old Main.

Students from the School of Social Work will have a new internship opportunity available to them thanks to a gift from the Schmieding Foundation.

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – A $125,000 gift from the Schmieding Foundation in Springdale will fund an internship position and increase visibility for the School of Social Work in the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Arkansas.

The organization’s gift counts in Campaign Arkansas, the university’s $1.25 billion capital campaign, and will provide quality research and learning experiences for students who wish to pursue careers in social work. It will also reinforce the university’s flagship mission of providing service to the state.

“Our mission is to serve children and the elderly,” said Gilda Underwood, president of the Schmieding Foundation. “We have an existing endowment at the university that addresses help for the elderly, so we envisioned this one focusing on the kids in our area. There is an increasing demand for social workers, especially in the schools, and I’m really proud that we have such a good School of Social Work to partner with at the U of A.”

The endowment will create the Schmieding Endowed Internship and provide students with real-world experiences, allowing them to work alongside experienced social workers to assist others from their community.

Recipients of the Schmieding Endowed Internship will be chosen through a competitive application process, and preference will be given to graduate students, though undergraduates will also be considered.

Interns will be assigned to the Schmieding Developmental Center for at least two semesters or nine months. Interns will also be assigned to a faculty advisor, who will monitor their progress with a designated staff member at the center.

The Schmieding Developmental Center, which is part of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, diagnoses and treats children with neurodevelopmental and medical conditions that impact cognitive, emotional and behavioral function. It provides direct care, teaches and trains providers and collaborates with other agencies.

“We are so grateful for the Schmieding Foundation’s support and their ongoing investment in our community and in social work students,” said Alishia Ferguson, director of the School of Social Work. “Available stipends for internships are rare in the School of Social Work. Such a meaningful gift will impact the lives of the social work students who receive stipends and enhance the lives of children and families who receive care at the Schmieding Developmental Center.”

Kim Stauss, chair of the school, agreed and said that thanks to the Schmieding Foundation’s gift, the school will be even better positioned to fulfill its mission to improve the lives of vulnerable persons, families, groups, organizations and communities.  

“Providing students with real-world experiences like these internships is so essential to educating and creating the social work leader practitioners our society needs,” Stauss said. “By working hands-on in our community, these interns will gain valuable critical thinking skills and experience, readying them to help address our community’s pressing need for more social workers.”

The U of A’s School of Social Work is the oldest social work program in the state of Arkansas and has been educating undergraduate social workers since 1940. The school’s master’s program is among the top 30 percent of all Master of Social Work programs nationwide.

The Schmieding Foundation has made additional gifts to the university, including an Advance Arkansas Scholarship and an endowed award for nursing students and the Schmieding Research Fellowship in Arts and Sciences. Lawrence Schmieding was a member of the university’s Campaign for the Twenty-First Century steering committee, Towers of Old Main and an annual member of the Arkansas Alumni Association.

About Campaign ArkansasCampaign Arkansas is the ongoing capital campaign for the University of Arkansas to raise private gift support for the university’s academic mission and other key priorities. The campaign’s goal is to raise $1.25 billion to support academic and need-based scholarships, technology enhancements, new and renovated facilities, undergraduate, graduate and faculty research, study abroad opportunities and other innovative programs. The University of Arkansas provides an internationally competitive education for undergraduate and graduate students in a wide spectrum of disciplines as it works to fulfill its public land-grant mission to serve Arkansas and beyond as a partner, resource and catalyst.

About the University of Arkansas: The University of Arkansas provides an internationally competitive education for undergraduate and graduate students in more than 200 academic programs. The university contributes new knowledge, economic development, basic and applied research, and creative activity while also providing service to academic and professional disciplines. The Carnegie Foundation classifies the University of Arkansas among fewer than 3% of colleges and universities in America that have the highest level of research activity. U.S. News & World Report ranks the University of Arkansas among its top American public research universities. Founded in 1871, the University of Arkansas comprises 10 colleges and schools and maintains a low student-to-faculty ratio that promotes personal attention and close mentoring.

A version of this story also appeared in the U of A’s Newswire publication.

Jennifer Holland

Director of Communications, College of Education and Health Professions

479-575-3138 //