by Susan White
Two incoming MSW students have been selected as the first to receive UNC School of Social Work’s Hortense McClinton Legacy Scholarship.
Mia Concepcion, a student in the School’s 2-Year Full-Time Program in Chapel Hill, and Mercedes Jackson, a student in the 3-Year Program in Winston-Salem, were recently named recipients of the scholarship, which honors social work pioneer Hortense King McClinton. The students will each receive $2,500 this academic year, funding that can be applied toward School tuition and fees.
The scholarship fund was created last year to honor McClinton’s legacy at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and her impact on social work teaching and practice.
A graduate of Howard University and the University of Pennsylvania and a former social work practitioner with the Durham County Department of Social Services and the Durham Veteran’s Administration Hospital, McClinton paved the way for other African American social workers in the state of North Carolina. In 1966, McClinton joined UNC’s School of Social Work, becoming the first Black faculty member at UNC-Chapel Hill. She retired in 1984 and lives in Silver Spring, Md.
Scholarship recipients are awarded based, in part, on their efforts to exemplify McClinton’s pioneering spirit.
A teacher with Edgecombe County, Concepcion graduated Summa Cum Laude from Hampton University. Her areas of interest include clinical social work, mental health, ADHD, parenting and family processes, and behavioral health.
“There are no words to adequately express the joy and honor I feel to be the first recipient of the Hortense McClinton Scholarship,” said Concepcion, who plans to pursue the direct practice specialization. “I hope that during my time at Chapel Hill I can make even a fraction of the impact she made on the campus and its student body.”
Jackson, a Wake Forest University Civic Scholar and graduate, plans to pursue the community, management and policy practice specialization. Her areas of interest include childhood trauma, adverse childhood experiences, generational trauma, communities of color, women of color mental health, and social determinants of health. Long-term, Jackson views the MSW degree as a vital tool that will enable her to advocate on behalf of marginalized communities.
Both students said they are grateful for the financial support and for being selected as the first to represent McClinton’s legacy.
“It is with great honor and humility that I express my gratitude for being one of the first recipients of the McClinton Scholarship award,” Jackson added. “I am proud to follow in the footsteps of those like McClinton who have paved the way for individuals like myself – a Black woman – to create a more diverse and equitable community where everyone can flourish.”
The students will be great assets to the MSW program, added Sharon Holmes Thomas, assistant dean for recruitment, admissions and financial aid.
“Mercedes and Mia were outstanding MSW program applicants, and I’m so glad they selected our program for their graduate education,” Thomas said. “It was evident based on their statements of purpose, letters of support, and incredible community service that they embody the spirit of Mrs. Hortense McClinton and were selected as our first recipients.”