TEXAS – JULY 1, 2013 – Although Sergio Vasquez and Maria Cisneros have
different career goals, they are on the same springboard to launch their varied
a 2012 Brownsville Early College High School graduate, wants
to become a U.S. Marshal. Cisneros, a
2012 Harlingen Early College High
graduate, has her eyes set on corporate marketing.
Greater Texas Foundation Scholars Sergio Vasquez and Maria Cisneros
springboard is three-fold: graduating from an early college high school with
two years of college credit, becoming Greater Texas
to complete their upper level university classes in two years, and fulfilling
the requirements expected of GTF Scholars.
a Greater Texas Foundation Scholar has been such a blessing for me and my
family,” said 18-year-old Cisneros. “My mom was thrilled, because it is saving
her from a mountain of expenses, and for me, the program is really helpful in
keeping me focused on my goals.”
Greater Texas Foundation began its
scholars program in 2012, making Vasquez and Cisneros members of the first
cohort of 20 students.
critical component of the program is peer mentoring.
a peer mentor is a real plus of this program,” said Vasquez. “We met our
mentors before classes started late last summer. Since we are the first GTF
cohort, our mentors were from the University Scholars program,
similar to ours, and we have kept in touch all through the year. It is always
helpful to have someone to contact who knows the ropes.”
said she looks forward to the mentoring training she and her cohort will have
in August, shortly before meeting their peer mentees.
curious if they’ll have the same questions that I did,” Cisneros said. “Being
from Harlingen, I didn’t have the exposure to the UTB campus that the BECHS
students did, and I was full of questions when I first started. I know what
it’s like, and I’ll be happy to help the new ones out.”
Scholars are also required to select a faculty mentor, generally from the
students’ area of interest, who will be a “go to” person for any number of
now one year away from his bachelor’s in criminal justice with a major in
police administration, selected Dr. Benjamin Brown, Associate Professor of
Criminal Justice, as his mentor.
faculty advisor helps us look into our future and figure out what kind of job
we might want that uses our skills and interests,” Vasquez said. “We have
talked about my plans – going with the Navy after I finish at UTB. I’m a water
person – my Grandpa is a shrimper and I’m always swimming whenever I can – so
the Navy seems a good fit for me. I hope to be accepted into officer candidate
on campus is not a requirement for GTF, but Vasquez plans to apply for a campus
job starting in August. He is spending his second summer working as an
assistant in the Cameron County
District Clerk’s office.
worked at Little Caesar’s Pizza during spring semester and at TJ Max during the
Christmas holidays, but I really hope to get a campus job lined up for fall
semester,” Vasquez said.
year away from achieving her Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing,
Cisneros is spending the summer as a social media intern with the UTB Department of Creative
in the Division of
here with the creative services team is such a great opportunity for me,”
Cisneros said. “I am learning how the efforts of a lot of people come together
to help promote the university. There are so many positive stories to tell
about what our students are accomplishing. Every day is a learning experience.”
maintain their scholarships, GTF Scholars must complete a minimum of 15 credit
hours each full semester, must continue full-time progression for two years
and maintain a cumulative GPA of 2.7 or better. Students must also comply with
peer and faculty mentor meetings, and meet with the program director at least
once during the semester.
are required to participate in campus events such as meetings, speeches, music
performances, sports events and job fairs,” Cisneros said. “That has been a big
help, because I know it is opening us up to new and different college-life experiences.”
service is another requirement for the GTF Scholars. Cisneros and Vasquez
joined their cohort to collect items and filling goodie bags for overseas
troops during the Martin Luther King Day of Service.
Aldape, GTF Scholars Assistant Program Coordinator for UTB, said he is
impressed daily by the Scholars’ commitment to pursuing higher education.
first challenged themselves to complete a rigorous high school curriculum, and
now as university students, they continue to demonstrate a level of
responsibility and maturity well beyond their years,” Aldape
more information on the Greater
Scholars Program, contact Michael Adape at 956-882-7088 or Michael.Aldape1@utb.edu.