MSSA Graduate Scholarship

The MSSA Graduate Scholarship is awarded to master's degree or PhD candidates in a health and human services-related graduate program who have demonstrated a passion for and commitment to working in the health and human service field.

Award Amount & Number of Scholarships

MSSA awards two (2) graduate scholarships in the amount of $2,500 each.

Application Timeline

November 1: Application period opens
January 15: Application period closes
February 15: Judging process completed
March 1: Scholarship winners announced

Graduate Scholarship Details

Eligibility Requirements - Graduate Scholarships

Only applications that meet all eligibility requirements will be reviewed.

  • To apply, applicants must be members of MSSA and must maintain active membership throughout the award period. Membership for students is free; more information can be found here.
  • Students must be enrolled in an accredited program at a nonprofit academic institution leading to a degree in a health and human service-related field. Common majors and Masters programs include, but are not limited to:
    • Social Work
    • Psychology
    • Counseling
    • Healthcare Services Administration
    • Alcohol and Drug Studies
    • Family Consumer Science
    • Health Science
    • Criminal Justice
    • Human Development and Family Services
    • Sociology
    • Public Administration
  • The scholarship award recipient will be asked to submit verification of full-time enrollment for the fall 2021 semester. 
  • Preference is given to applicants planning to work in the Midwest—Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, South Dakota or North Dakota. 
  • For the Graduate Scholarship, applicants must: 
    • Have at least two semesters left in Fall 2021 before graduating.
    • Have applied to, have been accepted into, or are currently enrolled in an accredited graduate degree program. Payment of the award will be contingent on the full admission of the candidate into the program.

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Congratulations to our 2021-2022 Graduate Scholarship recipients!

Mandi Coppess, University of Minnesota School of Social Work

Mandi Coppess grew up in Southeastern Europe as the child of humanitarian aid workers. She is currently a social work masters student at the University of Minnesota, pursuing her masters degree in Child and Family Welfare. She has been a licensed social worker for the past 3 years, working for the YMCA and Ampersand Families as an advocate and permanency specialist for older youth in the child welfare system. Mandi is passionate about keeping children in the system connected to their biological families and is pursuing her degree in hopes of becoming a therapist that specializes in adoption/birth family connections. She is a strong advocate in striving for equity and dismantling the racism and disparities embedded in the child welfare system.


Sookyoung Park, University of Minnesota School of Social Work

Sookyoung Park is a Ph.D. student in social work at the University of Minnesota. After attending elementary and middle school in the United States, she returned to South Korea and completed her undergraduate studies at Ewha Womans University, where she worked as Editor-in-Chief of the student English newspaper, Ewha Voice. She earned her master’s degree in social welfare from Seoul National University focusing on child welfare and gerontology. Her master’s thesis was titled, “The Relationship between Academic Stress and Depression among Korean Adolescents—The Moderating Effects of Self-efficacy and Parental Support.” While volunteering at an orphanage in Cape Town, South Africa she decided to pursue a Ph.D. in social work. She was especially moved by the need to care for orphans in less privileged areas and decided to devote her life to helping children without parents. Thus, Sookyoung’s research interests include out-of-home placement care for children, youth aging out of foster and institutional care, child abuse and neglect, crossover youth, stability perceptions of child protection workers, adolescent mental health, and advance care directives. She is currently working on two publications on the stability perceptions of child protection workers. After graduation, Sookyoung is looking forward to a career as a professor in child welfare, and then building the childcare infrastructure in less privileged areas internationally to help children without parents.