United Way of Westchester and Putnam (United Way) awarded Maura Knackstedt a Ruth Taylor Scholarship for the 2022-2023 school year.
United Way works with the Westchester County Department of Social Services and the Urban League to offer the Ruth Taylor Scholarship Awards to aspiring public service professionals. The fund was established in tribute to Ruth Taylor upon her retirement as the county’s Commissioner of Public Welfare in recognition of her nearly four decades of outstanding service. Applicants must be residents of Westchester County and enrolled in graduate studies in social work or public health on a full-time basis.
Knackstedt is in her first semester in the Hunter College Master of Social Work Program to become a licensed master social worker. She earned her B.A. in psychology in 2013. Having an interest in mental health, Knackstedt said she feels drawn to the human services field.
“I always knew I wanted to do something to help people,” she said.
Starting as a caseworker, Knackstedt began working at Children’s Village six years ago. Children’s Village is a nonprofit that works with families to help society’s most vulnerable children become educationally proficient, economically productive, and socially responsible members of their communities. The organization’s programs include community programs, residential programs, aftercare support, and pregnancy prevention education. Now, she is a Juvenile Justice Intervention Specialist, assisting youth transitioning back into the community from placement, foster homes, detention, etc.
“Maura is such an excellent choice for this scholarship,” United Way President and CEO Tom Gabriel. “It truly benefits everyone to have people as dedicated as Maura reach their full potential, and if we can help along the way with a scholarship, we are happy to do it. She is a hardworking employee, student, and mother, and we can’t wait to see her continue to thrive.”
Knackstedt said, “Being awarded this scholarship is a tremendous blessing to my family and me. Because of this scholarship, I will be able to earn my MSW and continue to pour passion into underserved children within the child welfare system. I am being afforded the opportunity to make a bigger difference in the lives of the children I work with once I obtain my MSW.”
Since 2008, United Way has awarded a collective total of $188,000 to 68 graduate students through the Ruth Taylor Scholarship Fund.
United Way is seeking more applicants to apply for a Ruth Taylor Scholarship and will accept applications until Dec. 31, 2022. Visit this link to download the application form: https://www.uwwp.org/ruthtaylorscholarships/