Serendipitously, Eggensperger happened to be taking a grant writing class at UA Little Rock during the Fall 2022 semester. He worked with Holly Barron, executive director of NASW Arkansas, to write a grant to support the conference.
Thanks to their efforts, NASW Arkansas received a $5,000 grant from the Arkansas Minority Health Commission to provide free community health screenings at the NASW Arkansas Annual Conference for conditions that disproportionately impact minorities as well as other citizens in the state, such as diabetes, hypertension, and high cholesterol.
“This is the first time I’ve ever written a grant, and it was a very rewarding experience,” Eggensperger said. “I’m glad that we will be able to provide free educational materials and health screenings for everybody, but there is an emphasis on providing those health screenings for minorities that are at higher risk of those health conditions.”
Eggensperger first got involved in NASW Arkansas when he served as the Bachelor of Social Work student representative on the Board of Directors. In addition to helping to organize the annual conference, he also organized NASW Arkansas’s Lobby Day on Feb. 16 at the Arkansas State Capitol.
“Students get the opportunity to visit the state capital, tour the rotunda, meet with state legislators, and network with social workers and social work students from across the state,” he said. “It’s really a valuable experience because social work belongs in policy, and social work students should have experience in that so they can pursue policy work and enact change during their careers.”
Eggensperger is grateful for the experience he received in Mary Ellen Kubit’s grant writing class. He is already putting his skills to use writing two other grants this semester for the NASW Arkansas.
Eggensperger will graduate with a Master of Social Work degree in May. Afterwards, he plans to work in a clinical setting for two years while he earns his licensed clinical social worker certification. He would next like to work as a social worker in nonprofit management.
Eggensperger’s long-held desire to become a social worker stems from his desire to help people.
“I am a firm believer that in order to help people go through hard times in their lives, you need to understand what it’s like to have gone through hard times in your life,” he said. “In the beginning, it was always focused on wanting to help people reach their full potential and learning how to do that for myself in the process. It’s a humble profession that aligns with my personal values. Being a proud member of the LGBTQ community has shaped who I am today, and I want to give back to the community who helped me when I needed it. I want to thank my parents, Steve and Tami, for the support they have provided me throughout my schooling and the support I’ve received from my partner James.”