Friday, November 17, 2017

UTSA Top Scholar program celebrates 5 years of excellence

The 2017-18 UTSA Top Scholars

The 2017-18 UTSA Top Scholars

The new cohort of UTSA Top Scholars for 2017.

The new 2017 cohort of UTSA Top Scholars

(Sept. 8, 2017) -- The Top Scholar program at The University of Texas at San Antonio is welcoming 10 of the nation’s most competitive students to campus this semester. In all, 34 students are enrolled in the program, which is housed in the UTSA Honors College.

A merit based program that helps UTSA recruit some of Texas’ brightest students, the Top Scholar program provides personalized experiences in academics, leadership and service to high-achieving students. UTSA Top Scholars receive four-year, merit-based scholarships covering their tuition, fees, room and board. They also receive financial support for internships and study abroad programs and have opportunities to pursue research, internships, service projects and more as undergraduate students.

Bianca Pulido, a senior majoring in English and classical studies, has participated in the program for four years.

“The Top Scholar program’s personalization has allowed me to make the most out of my two majors,” said Pulido. “I was able to participate in the Santa Susana Archaeological Project in Redondo, Portugal last summer. Top Scholar has also supported my attendance at out-of-state conferences, at Indiana University and Harvard, which have both indelibly enriched my college experience.”

This Top Scholar is grearing up for graduate studies as a Mellon Humanities Pathways fellow and is excited to start a financial services internship to prepare for business school.

Of the 10 new Top Scholars joining UTSA this fall, four were the valedictorians at their high schools. Additionally, this elite group of students scored an average score of 1451 on the SAT and have an average of 32 on the ACT.

The 2017 cohort of Top Scholars comes from all around Texas, including East Texas, the Rio Grande Valley and Austin. It includes:

Amber Chin – Chin is a psychology major who graduated from Sandra Day O’Connor High in San Antonio. She volunteered and interned at multiple national marrow donor programs and was ambassador for Generation Give at South Texas Blood and Tissue Center. While at UTSA, the freshman hopes to continue working with the National Marrow Donor Program, participate in athletic programs and volunteer as a tutor.

Edgar Garza – Garza is a kinesiology major who graduated from Mission High School in the Rio Grande Valley. He volunteered at multiple local community non-profits and was a member of several university level programs, including Med Ed Program of South Texas UT Health Science Center, UTRGV Talent Search and UT Outreach. Garza would like to become a sports medicine surgeon.

Taylor Helmcamp – Helmcamp is a global affairs major who graduated from McAllen High School in the Rio Grande Valley. She founded Treats-for-Troops McAllen, an organization dedicated to raising donations and materials to send care packages to soldiers. Helmcamp looks forward to joining student government, foreign language clubs and participating in community service.

Kurt Johnson – Johnson is a mechanical engineering major who graduated from Jack C. Hays High School in Austin. While at UTSA, he plans to join the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. With the opportunities presented by UTSA and the Top Scholar program, Kurt hopes to study abroad in Germany.

Natalie Malluru – Malluru is a biology major who graduated from McNeil High School in Austin. She loves to read and travel, so she hopes to study abroad while at UTSA. She also wants to join civic engagement organizations and have the opportunity to do research in neuroscience during her time as a Top Scholar.

Ileen Montemayor – Montemayor is a political science major who graduated from San Benito High School in the Rio Grande Valley. This first-generation college student was a National Hispanic Scholar and helped organize canned food drives at her high school. She wants to join the Student Government Association, participate in debate clubs and plans to continue her volunteer work.

Kyra (Caity) Pace – Pace is an anthropology major who graduated from Athens High School in East Texas. While in high school, she was a tutor and participated in several community service activities. As a Top Scholar, she hopes to join Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society and other groups focused on volunteer work and political activism.

Daisy Paredes – Paredes is a medical humanities major who graduated from Los Fresnos High School in the Rio Grande Valley. Paredes volunteered in high school and plans to continue her outreach while at UTSA. She hopes to get involved in intramural sports and other clubs as a Roadrunner. Paredes wants to be a neonatal or forensic nurse.

Christian Strong – Strong is a chemical engineering major who graduated from The Science Academy of South Texas in the Rio Grande Valley. He was the president of his high school’s astronomy club and participated in the UTRGV High Scholar Research Program. Strong has a passion for science and research and he hopes to become a UTSA research assistant.

Jack Wegrzyn – Wegrzyn is a biomedical engineering major who graduated from Communications Arts High School in San Antonio. He is a member of the National Honor Society, Spanish National Honor Society and has volunteered for the San Antonio Food Bank and other organizations around San Antonio. As a Top Scholar, Wegrzyn wants to join groups that focus on politics and science.

UTSA is ranked among the top 400 universities in the world and among the top 100 in the nation, according to Times Higher Education.

- Kara Soria


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