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Scholarships Help UTB Graduate Student Mold Her Career Future

BROWNSVILLE, TEXASAUGUST 29, 2013 – It is a simple phrase that Andrea Morales often tells her art students at Coakley Middle School in Harlingen: “I’m not saying that I’m the best, but I’m the best.”

The phrase is a way to boost her students’ confidence both in themselves and their academic and artistic work.

Andrea MoralesAndrea Morales
“The students are treated with the same respect in which my fine arts professors treated me,” said Morales. “I believe in them and I let it be known every day. I pour out my soul so that they may one day discover theirs.”

Morales, 30, of Harlingen received a Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood – 12th grade in May 2012 from The University of Texas at Brownsville. She is working on a Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction with a concentration in Art Education and is scheduled to graduate in 2014 from UTB. After this she wants to go on to pursue a doctoral degree at the university.

Scholarships have helped pay for some of her education. She has received the George Truan Scholarship Endowment and the Oris Robertson Scholarship Endowment.

“While attending college, I worked, coached T-ball and gave art classes,” said Morales. “It was difficult but I had a goal to meet. The scholarships were that extra push not only monetary but mentally. For once I felt that people believed in me and because of this I pushed myself further always giving 150 percent and beyond. I believe that scholarships can be a student’s saving grace not only because of the money but because of the confidence that is gained once you learn that somebody believes in you and has given you their support.”

Earlier this week Morales began her second year of teaching at Coakley Middle School. Her students’ first lesson was about how to respect others in her classroom. During the academic year her students will also learn about drawing, color theory, sculpture, print making and other mediums.

“They come out of here learning something,” said Morales. “Art is a freedom of expression.”

Morales grew up in the Richgrove neighborhood of Los Angeles and remembered walking to her elementary school and seeing people paint murals on the sides of buildings.

“I remember passing by and a muralist giving me a bucket of paint and that I would color a small part in,” she said.

The early exposure to art was the building block for Morales’ lifelong appreciation and work. She enjoys working with oils and often uses her boys ages 11, 10 and 6 as her subjects.

“I paint as it comes,” said Morales. “I don’t sketch or plan. I put down the foundation and build up from there. I paint what I feel at the moment. I make it honest and real.”

Morales attended her senior year at Brownsville’s Pace High School where she graduated in 2001.

Attending UTB was a natural choice for her because she felt she had more opportunities here. Morales said Carlos G. Gomez, a Professor in the Department of Visual Arts in the College of Liberal Arts, was a big influence in her academic work for constantly pushing her to better her artistic techniques.

“Andrea came into the art program with a sense of determination and the attitude that she was going to be the best in the department,” said Gomez. “She always had artwork that was above her peers and also was far more complicated. This sense of determination was her trade mark. At a very early point she was already preparing for the teaching profession and on many occasions she would help her classmates.”

To learn more about giving to UTB, contact Executive Director of University Relations Laurie Howell at 956-882-4334 or laurie.howell@utb.edu.

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