Institute for Families in Society

  • Smith Scholarship

Be A Champion for Youth and Families!

The Michael Daniel Smith and Alexander Tyler Smith Scholarship is funded by an endowment created by Mr. Robert L. Thomas and awarded to the University of South Carolina in memory of the boys, who died under tragic circumstances. Each year, the Institute for Families in Society is pleased to offer one scholarship ($1500-$2000, depending on available funds) to a full-time undergraduate student from the UofSC Columbia campus who shows outstanding promise to become a helping professional for children and families in need. To be eligible, students must be a junior in standing, and majoring in either Psychology, Social Work, Nursing, or Public Health. The scholarship funds will be awarded during the student’s senior year.


To be eligible to apply, the student must be

  1. Of Junior level standing
  2. Major in Psychology, Social Work, Nursing, or Public Health on the Columbia Campus of UofSC
  3. Planning to pursue a career in direct service to children, youth, or families, and
  4. Be recommended by a faculty member in Psychology, Social Work, Public health, or Nursing.

NOTE: Completed applications must be submitted by April 16, 2021. The scholarship awardee will be notified in early May of 2021. 

The application has two parts, one for the recommending faculty member to complete and one for the student applicant to complete. Both parts of the application need to be completed and submitted via email to Sheila Heatley at by April 16, 2021.

(Applications can also be printed, scanned and then faxed to the attention of Sheila Heatley at 803-777-1120, by the same deadline).

Questions? Please contact Dr. Cheri Shapiro at

2020 Smith Scholarship Recipient

Jared D. Dawson


Jared (JD) Dawson is a senior Public Health major and native South Carolinian. His time at the University of South Carolina has afforded him a number of opportunities that have shaped his perspective of the world and given him directionality toward a career in service. These experiences include volunteering as a translator at a free clinic, studying International Business in Japan, interning at a community hospital in Washington DC, and serving on a medical mission trip in Costa Rica. JD's clinical experiences have demonstrated to him the unique health challenges experienced by underserved families and communities of color across the world, driving his desire to become a Family Medicine physician in South Carolina.

Please join us in congratulating him on this award.