Master of Family Therapy Program Announces Inaugural H.T. Anderson Scholarship Recipients

HT Anderson Scholars
Alana Barkman
Alana Barkman

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

The MFT program aims to transform MFT and medical 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 Alana Barkman; Jayla Head, M.S.; Maham Husain; Kaela S. Jackson; Kristen Partin; and Sanchita Sharma.

Barkman earned her bachelor’s degree from The College of Saint Rose in Upstate New York, where she also worked as a preschool teacher.

Jayla Head
Jayla Head

“Receiving the H.T. Anderson Scholarship has afforded me the ability to move more than a thousand miles from home to study at Mercer’s MFT program,” said Barkman. “I am excited to learn and strengthen my abilities in working with children and their families.”

Head earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Missouri and master’s degree in human development and family studies from Texas Tech University.

“My acceptance into Mercer was life-changing because of this program’s commitment to training culturally competent clinicians, which aids in my aspirations of serving Black and brown communities,” said Head. “Being a H.T. Anderson Scholarship recipient makes it possible to not only attend this prestigious program, but also helps me afford books, a laptop and other resources needed to be a successful student.”

Husain earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Mercer and plans to work with underserved, diverse and immigrant populations.

Maham Husain
Maham Husain

“I aspire to use the skills gained through the MFT program to benefit individuals suffering from trauma, abuse, depression, anxiety and more. Upon obtaining licensure, my long-term goal is to receive my doctoral degree and start my own private practice,” said Husain. “This scholarship means that I am one step closer to my dream: to become an adept mental health problem-solver and to work to better the family unit as a whole.”

Jackson is a recent graduate of Spelman College in Atlanta.

“Through my experiences at the Grady Nia Project, combined with community service around the city of Atlanta, I have been driven toward a goal of planning to provide culturally competent and affordable therapy for minorities, as well as for Spanish-speaking people and people who are hard of hearing or deaf,” said Jackson. “The H.T. Anderson Scholarship is a foundational block of my graduate school education.”

Partin has lived in Middle Georgia for the past three years and is a single mother to 3-year-old daughter Emory.

Kaela Jackson
Kaela Jackson

“Receiving the H.T. Anderson scholarship has meant so much to me because it is a way of proving to myself that I can accomplish what I set out to do and try to provide a better life for my daughter,” said Partin. “I have struggled with trying to figure out a way to get through this program financially and still provide for my daughter, and receiving this scholarship has helped tremendously.”

Sharma earned her master’s degree in psychology and has worked as a researcher exploring mental health issues in her home country.

“I want to work as a therapist and also liaison with other professionals to provide opportunities to train those who can’t access specialized training because of the paucity of resources,” said Sharma. “As an international student from India, being awarded the H.T. Anderson Scholarship is extremely valuable for me, as it helps in easing my financial pressures as I work toward achieving my dreams.”

Kristen Partin
Kristen Partin

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 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.”

Sanchita Sharma
Sanchita Sharma

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, Navicent Health 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.

Kyle Sears
Kyle is the director of media relations at Mercer. In addition to being the primary media contact for most academic and administrative units of the university, he coordinates hometown and university news releases and serves as editor of the News@Mercer e-newsletter and Reach magazine.​