Kolasa Scholarship


Dr. Neta Kolasa was born in Detroit, Michigan and since 1968, has made South Florida her home. As an esteemed alumna of Barry University’s School of Social Work (MSW, ’75), she went on to earn a Doctorate in Psychology from Nova Southeastern University and has always remained closely connected with Barry University. Married to her childhood sweetheart, John Kolasa, they created a life together that exemplified the Adrian Dominican mission and the mission of Barry University.

John Kolasa was a dedicated member of the Barry University Board of Trustees; he served as Chair of the Finance Committee and was a member of the Executive, Investment, and Audit Committees until his untimely death in 1995. After his death, Dr. Kolasa agreed to maintain her husband’s seat on the Board of Trustees. Since 1996, she has been an active and committed member of the Board and a valuable member of the Barry community. Her skillful management of the Kolasa Trust and Foundation enables Dr. Kolasa to continue her philanthropic work to give back and honor the memory of her beloved husband. Steadfast in her faith, she puts her beliefs and values into action.

Dr. Kolasa is a woman of extraordinary talent, commitment, and generosity. As an inspired artist, author, and dedicated lifelong learner, she is an outstanding model of integrity and professionalism to the future generations of social workers.

Purpose of Scholarship

This scholarship recognizes outstanding MSW and/or PhD students attending the Ellen Whiteside McDonnell School of Social Work at Barry University; students who demonstrate dedication, commitment, and professionalism in practicing the values and skills of professional social work.

This scholarship is designed to advance knowledge, programs, and policies that move service recipients toward self-sufficiency, independence, and social and economic productivity. Students with a particular commitment to professional “best practices” that promote social justice are encouraged to apply.

Scholarship Guidelines

These scholarships will be awarded to qualified MSW and PhD recipients determined by the School of Social Work Scholarship Awards Committee.

MSW applicants must meet the following criteria:

  1. Currently enrolled in the full-time or part-time MSW program.
  2. Must have a minimum 3.5 cumulative GPA in the School of Social Work.
  3. Must have demonstrated a commitment and capability in the area of client empowerment and self-help.
  4. Must have practice or research interest in administration and/or social policy.
  5. Must have demonstrated leadership ability.

PhD applicants must meet the following criteria:

  1. Currently enrolled in the part-time PhD program.
  2. Demonstrates exceptional commitment and capability in the area of client empowerment and self-help.
  3. Demonstrates practice and/or research competence in administration and/or social policy.
  4. Demonstrates advanced leadership ability.

Recipients awarded the Kolasa Scholarship will receive a one-time annual award in the amount of $5,000.00.

Application Process

To apply for the Kolasa Scholarship, students must submit the following:

  1. A cover letter indicating their interest in being considered for this scholarship.
  2. A four (4) to six (6) page essay that (a) perceptively discusses client empowerment, and self-help, and particularly noting ones commitment to professional “best practices” that promote social justice (b) describes ones practice and/or research interest in administration and/or social policy (c) offers illustrations of the applicant’s leadership abilities through paid and/or volunteer work, internships, and/or other professional experiences (d) presents career goals and/or interests that are reasonable and would offer meaningful opportunities for the continued growth and development of the applicant’s leadership and practice skills within the social work profession.
  3. Two (2) letters of recommendation. One reference must be provided by an individual familiar with the student’s academic performance and scholastic abilities and one letter must be provided by a social work professional familiar with the student’s professional and /or community experience, dedication, and potential leadership abilities.
  4. A copy of the student’s most recent transcript from Barry University or previous academic institution, including undergraduate transcript. A request can be made to the Office of Admissions, Enrollment, and Student Services to provide these documents.
  5. A “Thank You” letter to Dr. Neta Kolasa.

All of the above documents must be submitted at the point of application. Partial submission of documents will not be accepted. Letters of recommendations must be sent to the recipient. Special consideration will be given to current and active MSW members of the Social Work Association.

Award Stipulations

  1. Recipients of the Kolasa Scholarship are required to attend the awards reception. A date for the reception will be determined shortly after announcing the 2014 call for scholarship applications.
  2. Recipients must attend at least three (3) professional development seminars approved by Program Director; attend two (2) leadership training luncheons at Barry University School of Social Work.
  3. Recipients serve as active members in the School of Social Work Association while enrolled in the program. PhD recipients must be active members of a professional organization external to the university.
  4. A thank you letter written to the donor upon successful completion of the Program.


A call for Kolasa Scholarship Applications will be announced at the start of the Fall 2014 semester. Scholarships will be awarded to five (5) recipients. Awards will be applied to the following spring semester's tuition.

Submit the required application materials to:

Online submission: pgiarraffa@barry.edu

Hardcopy submission:

Scholarship Awards Committee, Chair
Attention: Mr. Philip Giarraffa, Director of Admissions
Barry University School of Social Work
11300 NE 2nd Avenue
Powers Hall Room 116
Miami Shores, FL 33161

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