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New scholarship for Black social work students

By Alina Mansuri and Alikhan Mansuri November 19 2021—

The Faculty of Social Work has recently introduced the Dr. Wanda Thomas Bernard Leadership Scholarship. This scholarship is available to Black students in the faculty who have demonstrated excellent leadership skills in the community.

Dr. Wanda Thomas Bernard is an inspirational Nova Scotian who has persevered through various obstacles on her path to a Ph.D. in Social Work. Indeed, such barriers still exist today.

Dr. Patrina Duhaney, co-chair of the Anti-Black Racism Task Force, and an assistant professor in the Faculty of Social Work, emphasized the importance of these scholarships in “recognizing Black experiences, perspectives and contributions while strengthening Black communities.”

Duhaney noted that the Dr. Wanda Thomas Bernard Leadership Scholarship is one of three scholarships that were initiated by the Task Force to help alleviate some of “the challenges and barriers that [Black students] experience.” Research indicates that Black students tend to be more marginalized economically, and thus these scholarships are designed to help Black students gain access and flourish in academic spaces.

In addition to the Dr. Wanda Thomas Bernard scholarship, the Emerging Black Voices Entrance Scholarship is available to undergraduate students enrolled in the second year of the social work program and who demonstrate involvement and leadership in Black communities; each scholarship has a value of $1,000. The Dr. Dave Este Excellence Graduate Scholarship — is available to Black graduate students who are committed to conducting research focusing on Black communities.

The scholarships are available to Canadian, permanent residents, and international students in recognition of their unique barriers.

The Task Force is also carrying out several other initiatives, including hosting several university-wide events during Black History Month and offering a new Africentric Perspectives in Social Work course. 

Applications will be available soon, and students are encouraged to regularly check the Faculty of Social Work website.

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