Two students from the University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg were recently awarded $1,500 fellowships from West-Central Independent Living Solutions (WILS).

A press release from WILS says UCM seniors Bailli Mammen, of Knob Noster, and Matt Mullins, of St. Louis, received the Dave DeFrain Fellowship.

The fellowship is open to UCM seniors studying in a field of social work or human services. The DeFrain Fellowship was established in 2016 and is named in honor of WILS past Board member and president Dave DeFrain, who is also a retired director of the Department for Academic Achievement at UCM.

“I decided to get my education in social work because I see the climate of society and want to help make the world a better place,” says Mullins.

WILS collaborates with UCM’s Department of Social Work to select candidates to participate in an interview and application process with WILS’ Associate Executive Director and program supervisors.

WILS says once recipients are selected, they participate in a 480-hour practicum which includes case management, professional development and other special projects with WILS staff.

Mammen says, “At WILS I am able to apply my social work values to empower people to live independently and advocate for a more inclusive society.”

WILS is a consumer driven, non-residential, 501(c)3 nonprofit resource center that serves people with physical disabilities and their families at all stages of life.