Scholarship and Emergency Gap Impact

Increasing SAISD Students’ Success in Postsecondary Education

At the SAISD Foundation, we are committed to increasing the success of our students who are choosing to pursue a postsecondary education. One of the key ways we do that is by supporting scholarships. As an independent 501 c 3 that is a part of the SAISD family, we are able to work closely with campus-based College Bound Advisors and Lead Counselors to make the best matches and fill the highest needs. We also offer a number of supports such as our Emergency Gap Program to ensure that barriers we can remove don’t get in their way as they work to persist from high school graduation through to college graduation. Here, we highlight some of our talented students. Short stories. Lasting impact.

Inspired? Here's how YOU can help.

  1. Serve as a Remote College Mentor to support one of our first-generation college students to and through college. More than 80% of seniors in SAISD high schools do not have a parent who has taken a course in college and having a trusted adult who has successfully navigated college can be a critical support system. Learn more.
  2. Donate to an existing named scholarship or to the SAISD Foundation Scholarship Fund. Our SAISD Foundation scholarships support 10 new two-year scholarships each year across all SAISD high schools).  Donate here. Read about all of our named scholarships here.
  3. Donate to the College Emergency Gap Fund to help students get from college acceptance through to college graduation.  From housing deposits, enrollment and orientation fees that are required before their aid/scholarship packages kick in, to all the barriers that can prevent a student from walking into the first day of college classes and crossing the stage at college graduation. The average Emergency Gap Award is $300. It is that easy to make a BIG difference. Donate here. 
  4. Create a new named or endowed scholarship. Learn more.
  5. Donate to the SAISD Foundation using the Give Now button below. 96 cents of every $1 donated is spent on programs like these.

Hear from our talented students about 

how investments in their postsecondary success matter…

Victoria Buentello, Edison ’21

UTSA

Louis Tamez Scholarship

I finished my first semester at UTSA and I am currently getting ready for my second semester! I was offered an internship position with a Ph.D professor to help investigate micro plastic exposure within urban watersheds. We go out to creeks, collect water samples, and evaluate the microplastics collected. Working with a Ph.D professor and his research has been such a fun and knowledgeable experience and can’t wait to start again this semester! I am beyond grateful and blessed to have been selected for this scholarship, it has helped me concentrate and stay focused. It has been my motivation to be really successful and for that, I thank y’all! Thank you Tamez family for your generosity. (December ’21)

Nathan Perez, Lanier ’18

Texas State University

Lanier Alumni Business Scholarship

 

Nathan is a fourth-year student at Texas State pursuing a career in business and finance. With his strong passion for numbers and desire to help others, he plans to use his skills to become a financial advisor to help families make wise financial decisions. During his time at TSU, he has joined the lacrosse team and added a minor in Communications. Despite unexpected life events due to COVID, Nathan has persevered. In his words, “There’s been a lot of unexpected events throughout my college career that I think have hindered my ability to perform to the expectations that I’ve had for myself. Regardless, I’m pushing forward and it’s because of these donations and scholarship opportunities that I am able to focus on my education with little worry of the financial burden that would otherwise completely consume my time.”  (November ’21)

Marilyn Medina, Burbank ’20

University of Houston Victoria

Cliff Martinez Scholarship

I have just completed my first semester of college! I am happy to say that I have finished my first semester with a 3.2 GPA. Even with COVID restrictions, I have joined clubs like the Student Government Association, as a freshman senate member, and the Criminal Justice Society. I even started a sorority at UHV (University of Houston Victoria) called Xi Alpha Rho in which I hold the officer position of Vice President. Overall, my first semester of college has been a great one with new experiences, new friendships, and always new opportunities. (January ’22)

D’Vaughn Duran, Jefferson ’21

St. Mary’s University

Joan Fischer Comer Scholarship

I am doing great and I am going into elementary education at St. Mary’s University! I love the campus and the professors there. In my free time, I have a work-study job at the education department and coach kids at Urban Champions Academy.  This semester has been a great learning experience for me and I can’t wait till next semester! Thank you for this opportunity and the people at SAISD Foundation and the Joan Fischer Comer Memorial Scholarship! (October ’21)

Austin Martinez, Fox Tech ’20

UTSA

Julian Castro Future Leaders Scholarship

I have grown so much in responsibility and confidence since first coming to UT Austin. Although my classes have been online for a year and a half now, I am taking advantage of every opportunity I can get my hands on as a journalism major and Latino media studies minor.  I am heavily and proudly involved in the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, serving on the National Students Committee, leading as an officer for the student chapter at my university, and establishing a newsletter for the San Antonio professional chapter. In the fall semester, I plan on establishing UT’s only student publication highlighting Latino Longhorn life and Latino communities in Texas. I am thankful to have supporters like you to encourage me. I wouldn’t be able to enjoy my dream of being involved in the journalism field without you. (May ’21)

Delores Ijames-Curts, Sam Houston ’21

University of North Texas

SAISD Foundation Scholarship

I just finished my first semester at the University of North Texas. I am looking forward to starting my biology classes and having a lab this spring semester. I started last semester off strong but the ending didn’t go as I hoped. I plan on doing better this semester. I became more involved on campus by joining the Black Student Union, Woman of Gold, engaging in community service, and meeting many people. This scholarship has really helped me focus on my classes and gain a higher education. (December ’21)

Beyond scholarships, our programs helps students enroll and persist in college.

Katrina Ramirez, Burbank ’21

New York University

Emergency Gap Program

Katrina has been enjoying her first year at NYU as a Computer Science major. Through Emergency Gap funding, the SAISD Foundation was able to pay for her flight home for Christmas to see her family. We were even able to put another student, Timothy Melendez a Computer Science major at nearby Columbia, on the same flight back!  With the help of an individual donor to this program, both Tim and Katrina were also given tickets to incredible shows in NYC in spring 2022. (December ’21)

Francisco Vega, Sam Houston ’22

Drexel University

College Tour Program

Francisco Vega and his mom visited Drexel University during admitted student weekend. He had worked with his College Bound Advisor to research the college and had been offered a full ride, be neither h nor his family has been to the college or to Philadelphia  His trip to visit the campus was the key factor that allowed him to commit there on the spot. As a first gen college student it was important that both he and his mom felt it was the right fit for him. (January ’22)

Ruth Munoz, Sam Houston ’20

DePaul University

Emergency Gap Program

Ruth Munoz’s laptop gave out when she was about to start a new (virtual) school year at DePaul University. This Sam Houston HS Alum reached out and our Emergency Gap Funding program was able to help her purchase a new laptop! This program exists to remove barriers like this for our alumni working toward college graduation. (September ’20)

Jennifer Fuentes, Lanier ’18

Texas Tech

College Tour Program

Jennifer Fuentes graduated from Texas Tech University in May 2021 with a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice and is currently pursuing a master’s in legal studies at Texas State University. She works in the University College at Texas State University advising undergraduate students who are on academic probation to navigate resources on campus to help them get back on track. 

Both the opportunity to visit Texas Tech and her dual credit hours, which allowed her to graduate in just three years, have been key to her success as an SAISD graduate, a first gen college student and the oldest of 10 siblings. She is setting an incredible example! (October ’21)

Luz Moreno, Travis Early College ’17

Texas A&M College Station

College Tour Program

Luz Moreno was a participant in the 2016 Midwest College Tour program. Student like Luz who speak to the power of that experience are key to why we partnered with Valero Energy Foundation to make the program available to hundreds of SAISD students. Luz is quick to share that the college tour experience was significant in her realization that she could attend and succeed in a four-year college institution and that for her, she needed to go away to college to become ‘her best self”.  And she has indeed become just that! Luz is a proud Aggie and a proud SAISD alumnus, who is eager to support first generation college students like herself navigate the college experience as a Remote Mentor.

She now works as a Mechanical Engineer in supply chain. (December ’21)

Fina Sierra, YWLA ’17

UT Austin

College Tour Program

Fina Sierra was a participant in the 2017 College Tour program as a junior in college, one of the first college tours under the Pipeline for College Success landmark investment by the Valero Energy Foundation. Her college tour experience helped her cement her decision to head to Austin for college. Fina graduated from UT Austin in May 2021 with a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and a minor in business.

Following her summer remote internship with Disney, Fina was hired as a full-time software engineer for the company. For now, she will continue working out of Austin with her Seattle-based team. (December ’21)

More about our scholarship students…

Juan Reyes, Brackenridge ’19

Texas A&M

Edward Zuniga Memorial Scholarship

I have just begun my junior year of college and I am doing well. I have joined an organization called Engineers for a Sustainable World, which is a project-based group that focuses on solutions for problems utilizing renewable energy and other sustainable means. Academically, I have maintained a GPA of 3.5 and enjoy my studies.  

I would like to take the time to thank y’all, both for the scholarship itself and for bringing it to my attention. I hope I can continue to use my time at Texas A&M to embody the values molded at Brackenridge High School with the intention of carrying them into the industry and public life. A time which wouldn’t be possible without scholarships such as yours for people such as myself. (September ’21)

Carina Vlaun CAST ’21

St. Mary’s

Julian Castro Future Leaders Scholarship

I finished my first semester of university and I’m preparing for the spring semester. I enjoyed all of my classes (especially my programming classes) and my professors have been so amazing. They have been helping me a lot to adjust to university and I’ve gotten so close with my programming professor that she offered me an internship for the summer to teach young women how to program! I was hired at the IT department of the university which has really helped me meet some of my friends and advance my computer efficiency. This scholarship has helped alleviate some financial pressure I would have had without it to attend university. I’m starting to concentrate on my courses and I have been studying with peers over the break to prepare for the spring semester to raise my GPA. I’m loving everything about Saint Mary’s and I can’t wait to start the spring semester. (December ’21)