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Patterson Awarded Tisha Abolt Graduate Assistantship

Abolt

Posted July. 24, 2011
Reported by Leslie Herskowitz
Contact Emily Williams

First-year MSW student Catherine Patterson received the Tisha Abolt Graduate Assistantship this year. She is the first recipient of the assistantship since the completion of its endowment.  The award, intended for an individual who plans to return to the Savannah region to work with children and families, will cover tuition and a monthly stipend for two years in exchange for 13 hours of research per week.

“I was really taken aback just by learning about Tisha and her legacy and how much the professors loved her,” said Patterson. “My dream and passion in the social work arena mirrors hers, and this is a huge honor for me to receive this award.”

Patterson will be doing her research with Michael Holosko, Ph.D., Pauline M. Berger Professor of Family and Child Welfare. She and Holosko are working on a book review as well as conceptualizing a Facebook page honoring Abolt’s family with specific links to child welfare, children and family information for people working in the field.

This summer, Patterson will be doing her practicum seminar in Savannah at St. Joseph’s/Candler Hospital. Upon finishing her master’s degree, she aspires to own and operate a private practice that will service a multi-county region within the Coastal Empire.

“My practice will primarily focus on children and families, but will also service other population groups within the social work spectrum,” Patterson said.

The Tisha Abolt Graduate Assistantship was established to celebrate the life of Tisha Abolt, an MSW student at UGA who grew up in Savannah. She planned to return to the area to work with family and children upon graduating. On April 8, 2000, just weeks short of graduation, Abolt died in an automobile accident.

Her family, in conjunction with the School of Social Work and the Clinical Social Work Association of Savannah, established the assistantship to honor her memory.

“It has been a delight to work with Catherine,” Holosko said. “She is extremely capable—a very good student. She writes well and is very diligent about upholding the legacy of the family.”

Four students have previously benefited from the assistantship.