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Honors College announces incoming special scholars

Honors College announces incoming special scholars

JUNE 23, 2021 — The UTSA Honors College is pleased to announce the fall 2021 cohort of Top Scholars and Terry Scholars. Together, these programs make up the university’s Special Scholar Programs — highly competitive programs for exceptional students across the state of Texas that offer dedicated support, specialized programming, and a four-year comprehensive, last-dollar scholarship that includes funding for tuition, fees, room and board.

The UTSA Top Scholar program is welcoming its ninth and most diverse cohort, with 40% of its incoming scholars identifying as first-generation college students and 60% identifying as either Hispanic or African American. Additionally, the program has recruited its first scholar from El Paso.


FALL 2021 TOP SCHOLAR COHORT


Jordan Burchfield

• From: El Paso
• Major: Biology
• Plans for a career in medicine

 

Aliyyah Busari

• From: Houston
• Major: Cyber security
• Plans to be a cyber security analyst

 

Catherine De Guzman

• From: Edinburg
• Major: Neuroscience
• Planning for a career in medicine

 

Edith Estrada-Contreras

• From: San Antonio
• Major: Civil engineering
• Plans to be an environmental engineer

 

Carolina Gonzalez Soto

• From: Laredo
• Major: Biochemistry
• Planning for a career in pathology

 

Josh Klopfenstein

• From: San Antonio
• Major: Computer science
• Plans to be a software engineer

 

Samantha Lugo

• From: Houston
• Major: Psychology
• Plans to be a clinical mental health counselor

 

Emily Nguyen

• From: Houston
• Major: Biochemistry
• Plans to be a dentist

 

Alana Schwartz

• From: San Antonio
• Major: Biochemistry
• Planning for a career in medicine

 

Kayla Trujillo

• From: Laredo
• Major: Biology
• Planning for a career in medicine

 

“Joining a close-knit community that fiercely supports and empowers one another definitely makes me excited to be a Top Scholar,” shared De Guzman. “I’m thrilled to start this chapter surrounded by like-minded people.”

The UTSA Terry Scholar program is welcoming its 15th cohort this fall. The Terry Foundation, which funds freshman and transfer scholarships at 13 Texas public universities, has supported more than 300 scholars at UTSA since 2006.


FALL 2021 TERRY SCHOLAR COHORT


Ali M. Azzam

• From: San Antonio
• Major: Computer science
• Planning for a career as a computer science engineer

 

Hy X. Chu

• From: San Antonio
• Major: Biology
• Plans to be a dentist

 

Brook M. Ellerbe

• From: Aubrey
• Major: Biology
• Plans to be a physician

 

Amanda Escalante Tamayo

• From: Del Valle
• Major: Cyber security
• Plans to be a chief information security officer

 

Zenetta A. Hinojosa

• From Corpus Christi
• Major: Biology
• Plans to by a psychiatrist 

 

Toan My Le

• From: San Antonio
• Major: Architecture
• Plans to be an architect

 

Emily A. Leon

• From: El Paso
• Major: Microbiology and immunology
• Plans to be a clinical geneticist

 

Emmanuella O. Mbajiofor

• From: Houston
• Major: Biochemistry
• Plans to be a pediatrician

 

Gabriela C. Palacios Martinez

• From: Pleasanton
• Major: Interdisciplinary studies
• Plans to be a university professor

 

Jesse Torres

• From: Dallas
• Major: Biology
• Plans to be a dentist

 

Christian J. Villarreal

• From: San Antonio
• Major: Biology
• Plans to be a pediatric anesthesiologist

 

Layla M. Villarreal

• From: Corpus Christi
• Major: Public health
• Plans to be a physician

 

Both programs seek applicants who demonstrate a commitment to leadership and service. Due to the pandemic, this particular group of students have had to demonstrate their resiliency and commitment to leadership and service in unprecedented ways. Rather than allowing the pandemic to stunt their progress, they simply shifted how they were performing service.

For example, Top Scholar Edith Estrada-Contreras designed, constructed and installed tables for a local daycare so the children could properly social distance. Emily Nguyen supported her local pharmacy by creating custom labels for COVID-19 vaccination cards, which helped the pharmacy staff save time and, as a result, vaccinate more people.

“I am ecstatic to work with this incoming group,” said Kristi Meyer, senior director of the Special Scholar Programs in the Honors College. “This is a special class of uniquely talented young students. They could have gone anywhere, but they chose UTSA because we offer such a high caliber, personalized, experiential program with a proven track record. We are familia, and they can be confident in the community they are joining.”

The UTSA Top Scholar program is a premier scholar program, well-known and highly regarded across the state for developing award winning, academically talented and exceptional servant leaders. Top Scholars receive dedicated support and the ability to customize their academic, leadership, study abroad, and engage in community service experiences that best fit their academic and career goals. They enjoy intellectual camaraderie, close and lasting friendships with other students and professional relationships with faculty, and they are encouraged to gain a broad perspective through service experiences that merge their academic interests with community issues. 

The UTSA Terry Scholar program offers its students many of the same benefits the Top Scholars receive. Unlike other scholarship programs, the selection of a Terry Scholar is not simply based on financial need, test scores or grade point average. Instead, Terry Scholars are chosen because they exhibit a well-rounded personality, grounded in a desire to succeed, and have demonstrated a history of community leadership.


EXPLORE FURTHER

Both programs are housed within the UTSA Honors College, a community of committed students from all majors who boldly chart their own path and make the most out of their college experience. Rooted in experiential learning, the Honors College provides unique opportunities to meet students outside of their major and gain a variety of experiences that help them reach their personal and professional goals.

— KC Gonzalez



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of The University of Texas at San Antonio.

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UTSA Today is produced by University Communications and Marketing, the official news source of The University of Texas at San Antonio. Send your feedback to news@utsa.edu. Keep up-to-date on UTSA news by visiting UTSA Today. Connect with UTSA online at Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and Instagram.


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