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Amanda Hicks receives 2021 Behavioral Health Scholarship

With generous donations from several Children’s Foundation Trustees, The Foundation established a Behavioral Health Scholarship in 2019 to be awarded annually. The goal is to support a student in Michigan pursuing a doctoral degree in a mental health field, specifically focusing on a practice that will serve children and adolescents in behavioral health.

Applicants for the $5,000 award represented a wide range of backgrounds, locations, and ambitions, but one really stood out. Congratulations to this year’s winner of The Children’s Foundation Behavioral Health Scholarship, Amanda Hicks of Howell, Mich. as the 2021-2022 academic year recipient!

Hicks, enrolled in Eastern Michigan University’s Clinical Psychology Doctorate Program is expected to graduate in 2024. Hicks works with children and adolescents treating a wide range of clinical presentations including anxiety, depression, and trauma in order to promote emotion regulation and reduce problematic behaviors. Hicks’ vision and path certainly aligns with The Foundations mission to improve the health and wellness as she translated in her application essay:

“As a lead research assistant for a developmental lab that assesses self-regulation in children as well as parent-child interactions, I have conducted several in-home visits of families with children between 24 and 48 months old to evaluate and observe their ability to control attention, emotions, and behaviors,” Hicks said. “This experience gave me great insight into early childhood development and its impact on developmental trajectories as well as the impact of the parent-child relationship in shaping development. The more we understand how psychopathology and environmental stressors impact child development the better able we will be to provide interventions for children and families that recognize their unique strengths and challenges.”

Hicks’ clinical and research experiences have immersed her in issues of child and adolescent development and psychopathology and provided a fresh and valuable perspective that has created a drive to make a change. Due to her diverse experiences, Hicks aspires to work with youth from impoverished communities suffering from a variety of concerns such as anxiety, depression, and trauma. Additionally, she would like to explore how parental involvement in incorporating child coping skills and teaching effective emotion regulation reduces and prevents future psychopathology.

The stipend will allow Hicks to gain a deeper understanding of how the parent-child relationship influences child development and the negative impact of environmental stressors as well as the need for interventions that treat child emotion and behavioral problems and promote positive practices that help maintain therapeutic gains. Best of luck to Hicks this year and into the future!

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