Master of Family Therapy program announces 2021 H.T. Anderson Scholarship recipients

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Mercer's 2021 H.T. Anderson Scholars are (left to right): Kate Coker-Daisie, Cayce Collins, Tanay Abrams, Kaylee Robinson, Lakyah Bullock and Sheena Hinds.

MACON/ATLANTA – Mercer University School of Medicine’s Master of Family Therapy (MFT) program recently announced the recipients of the H.T. Anderson Scholarship.

The MFT program aims to transform MFT students into competent, compassionate and ethical professionals who work collaboratively to meet the needs of individuals, couples, families and communities, including the rural and medically underserved.

The scholarships, based on need, previous achievements and accomplishments, and future potential as a family therapist, were presented to Kate Aba Coker-Daisie, Tanay Abrams and Cayce Allen on the Atlanta campus, and to Lakyah Bullock, Sheena Hinds and Kaylee Robinson in Macon.

Kat Aba Coker-Daisie has an M.A. in business administration and human resource management but felt called to pursue a Master of Family Therapy with the goal of helping individuals and families heal and thrive. “I am extremely honored to have been accepted into such a prestigious program and chosen for the scholarship,” said Coker-Daisie. “I truly believe that receiving the HT Anderson scholarship is a strong confirmation that this second career, my true life purpose is indeed possible.” Coker-Daisie plans to go on to earn her Ph.D. and open an expanded practice focused on helping victims of gender-based violence.

Tanay Abrams has an MBA and was motivated to pursue an MFT to help families in marginalized and at-risk communities, but was reluctant to take the risk of changing careers. “Receiving this scholarship confirms that I’ve made the right choice and am a step closer to reaching a dream that I now realize has always lived inside of me,” said Abrams. “In addition to providing accessible services, it is my goal to change the stigmas around therapy that exist in underserved populations.”

Cayce Collins has a background in kinesiology and joined the MFT program to become a skilled and compassionate marriage and family counselor to serve in underserved, rural areas of North Georgia. “My goal is to help empower others with the tools and knowledge needed to overcome depression, anxiety, addiction, dysfunctional family patterns and trauma to live more fulfilling and connected lives with their loved ones,” said Collins. “Receiving the scholarship has made my hopes and aspirations of becoming a family counselor through Mercer’s MFT program more financially feasible.”

Kaylee Robinson has a B.A. in psychology and moved across the country to continue her education in Mercer’s MFT program. “This scholarship is a tremendous help in alleviating some of the stress that has come along with such a big change,” said Robinson. “I am grateful for this support as I work through my first year of graduate studies toward my goal of working with youth and families in the juvenile justice system.”

Sheena Hinds has a B.S. in psychology and is honored to serve as an example to students who feel limited in pursuing higher education due to financial constraints. “This scholarship will help me to focus my attention on achieving my goals through my academic endeavors without the added pressure of securing income,” said Hinds. Her goal is to destigmatize therapeutic support and make treatment accessible to underrepresented communities.

Lakyah Bullock has a B.S. in psychology and Spanish and feels honored to receive this scholarship as recognition of her dedication to her academics. Bullock has experienced financial stress and understands how financial burdens can hinder someone from seeking therapy. “As an aspiring MFT who wants to work with underserved populations, I believe therapy should be accessible for those of all backgrounds, especially minorities and low-income,” said Bullock. “The MFT scholarship committee has given me an opportunity to give others their opportunities towards a successful life.”

The H.T. Anderson Scholarship was created by William Halstead “Billy” Anderson II, a Macon native, 1959 Mercer graduate and University Trustee, in honor of his late son, Halstead Tindal “Andy” Anderson II, a 1988 graduate of Mercer.

Andy and his brothers William Halstead Anderson III and Samuel Evans “Sam” Anderson each earned degrees from Mercer, along with Andy’s widow, Helen Dunlap Anderson. Maggie Anderson Pietro, daughter of Andy and Helen, is a 2017 graduate of Mercer’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and 2020 graduate of the School of Medicine’s MFT program.

“I am honored and grateful for the generous support provided in the H.T. ‘Andy’ Anderson Scholarship to the Master of Family Therapy Program at Mercer University School of Medicine,” said Dr. Andrea Meyer Stinson, interim program director. “By receiving this support we are able to award scholarships to students who align with our values as well as students with additional financial needs to complete the program. As a result of this scholarship, the MFT program can graduate more clinicians who have a passion for service and a commitment to the communities in which they are embedded.”

Anderson is the founder of Southern Trust Insurance Company in Macon, a member and deacon at Highland Hills Baptist Church and devoted community leader involved in organizations such as the Macon Civic Club, United Way of Central Georgia, Downtown Council, Red Cross, Idle Hour Country Club, Boys and Girls Club of Macon and Museum of Arts and Sciences.

He worked with former Mercer President Dr. R. Kirby Godsey and founding Dean of the School of Business Dr. Charles H. Andrews to develop Mercer’s Executive Forum, an invaluable resource for the local business community and professionals across corporate Georgia to participate in high-quality management and leadership seminars on timely subjects.

Additionally, Anderson made a major commitment to the University’s football program, and Anderson Field at Five Star Stadium serves as a reminder of the enduring support he and his family have provided Mercer. 

About Mercer University School of Medicine (Macon, Savannah and Columbus)

Mercer University’s School of Medicine was established in 1982 to educate physicians and health professionals to meet the primary care and health care needs of rural and medically underserved areas of Georgia. Today, more than 60 percent of graduates currently practice in the state of Georgia, and of those, more than 80 percent are practicing in rural or medically underserved areas of Georgia. Mercer medical students benefit from a problem-based medical education program that provides early patient care experiences. Such an academic environment fosters the early development of clinical problem-solving and instills in each student an awareness of the place of the basic medical sciences in medical practice. The School opened a full four-year campus in Savannah in 2008 at Memorial University Medical Center. In 2012, the School began offering clinical education for third- and fourth-year medical students in Columbus. Following their second year, students participate in core clinical clerkships at the School’s primary teaching hospitals: Medical Center, Atrium Health Navicent and Coliseum Medical Centers in Macon; Memorial University Medical Center in Savannah; and Piedmont Columbus Regional Hospital and St. Francis Hospital in Columbus. The School also offers master’s degrees in family therapy, preclinical sciences and biomedical sciences and a Ph.D. in rural health sciences.

Katherine Lybarger is the marketing and communications specialist at Mercer University School of Medicine.