Social Work

Social Work Student’s Perseverance Honored with Invincible Knights Scholarship

Written By: UCF School of Social Work | February 11, 2022

Social Work Student’s Perseverance Honored with Invincible Knights Scholarship
Sarah Haynes, ‘21BSW (left) standing next to her son during commencement where Haynes received her BSW.

A big obstacle for many students who want to pursue a master’s degree is the cost. The College of Health Professions and Sciences (CHPS) understands the importance of furthering one’s education and is helping to make it more affordable by creating the Invincible Knights Scholarship for undergraduate and graduate students. Sarah Haynes, ‘21BSW, a student in UCF School of Social Work’s Master of Social Work (MSW) program, received the scholarship last year and says the scholarship helped to ease the financial burden of her education.

“Being awarded this scholarship made me feel a little safer and a little more secure. It was affirming, seeing that CHPS recognized my hard work and perseverance. It spoke volumes on how they care,” said Haynes.

“Being awarded this scholarship made me feel a little safer and a little more secure. It was affirming, seeing that CHPS recognized my hard work and perseverance. It spoke volumes on how they care,” said Haynes.

Haynes enrolled in the Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) program a year after she found out her husband needed to have a kidney transplant. During that time, they were foster parents to nine children and struggled with finances forcing her to close her hair salon.

“My loans were outrageous, and I thought about stopping at the BSW level. But I didn’t stop because school is the end game – at the end of the day, it is how I will provide for my kids and support my family,” said Haynes, who is now working toward an MSW, thanks in part to the scholarship.

A requirement for the scholarship includes an essay where students are asked to share their story of overcoming hardship. Though she was unsure if she would receive the scholarship, Haynes took a chance by applying anyway knowing she had a story to share. “Part of opening up to people about your story is being vulnerable, but that’s what makes you brave. Someone else may be able to identify with you and that’s where it brings us together as a community,” said Haynes.

Haynes works full-time and commutes between St. Augustine and UCF for classes. In addition to her work and school responsibilities, she is also a single parent to four children ranging between the ages of 5 to 21. She is excited to finally be graduating with her MSW this Spring.

“My son was so delighted to watch me graduate with my BSW; words can’t describe how proud of me he was. Seeing his reaction to my achievement, I knew then that I was setting a great example by continuing my education with an MSW for him and all my children. They can see that no matter where you are in socioeconomic status, good intentions and hard work will be rewarded,” said Haynes.

With her MSW, Haynes plans to work toward her clinical social work license and will continue to advocate for people who have been through similar situations. She currently works at assisted living and skilled nursing facilities as a hospice social worker, where she encounters dire situations every day.

“I see death every day, but dignity, respect and worth are what social workers are all about. My passion is people, and I won’t stop giving back to the community,” she said.

To donate to The Invincible Knights Scholarship fund, visit www.foundation.ucf.edu/invincibleknights or email [email protected] for more information.

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