2022 Tu Futuro Scholarship Winners Announced
Maria Castrejon, Kenneth Garcia Receive Full Scholarships At Special Ceremony
Two Houston area high school seniors who both aspire to enter the medical profession after graduating college were named the recipients of full scholarships at the University of Houston-Downtown through the Univision “Tu Futuro” Scholarship program.
Maria Castrejon of KIPP Connect High School and Kenneth Garcia of Alief Early College High School were presented with the scholarships during a ceremony at the Uforia Lounge at the Univision Houston studios. This is the second year that UHD and Univision have partnered in this effort to support the scholarship program.
Applicants for the scholarship had to meet UHD admission criteria and write an essay describing their unique story and sharing how a college scholarship would help them positively impact their community. Representatives from Univision Houston, UHD, and local scholarship sponsor Fresh Dental Care selected the winners from nearly 400 scholarship applications.
Castrejon said she is pursuing nursing as her course of study because she wants to make a difference in providing health care to underserved populations.
“At the end of my freshman year, nursing was one of those careers that called out to me,” she said. “I instantly knew that this was what I wanted to do with my life. I believe nursing is a career where one can connect with people in a deep and personal way. With a college degree, I will be able to create opportunities for all the individuals who don’t have health care access.” She added, “One underlying problem in Hispanic and Black communities is the lack of health care access due to many not being able to speak English. Another underlying problem is not having enough money to pay for a hospital visit. With a college education, I want to create pop-up clinics around my city that have both English- and Spanish-speaking volunteers.”
Garcia, who will major in Biology, said he plans to attend medical school after he graduates from UHD. His late grandmother, who suffered from severe arthritis, serves as an inspiration to pursue orthopedic medicine.
“The ‘Tu Futuro’ scholarship will help me achieve my goal of being a doctor and aiding the injured and sick, in addition to creating and participating in fundraisers and charities to support my neighborhood, especially my Hispanic community,” he said.
The Tu Futuro scholarship program resulted from a partnership and collaboration between Univision Houston and UHD. The program was launched in January 2021 for high school seniors residing in the Greater Houston area with the purpose of awarding local students a full scholarship. The Tu Futuro scholarship is part of the Univision Houston Contigo (With You) community empowerment initiative.
“Our future is brighter thanks to young people like last year’s scholarship recipient Mateo Muñoz and the hundreds of students who applied for this scholarship this year. It’s an honor for Univision Houston to partner with the University of Houston-Downtown to help high school students pursue their higher education and fulfill their college dreams without worrying about financial barriers,” said John Hannon, President and General Manager, Univision Houston. “We are thrilled with our UHD partnership, and together, look forward to growing and enhancing the program in future years.”
UHD President Loren J. Blanchard said he is grateful to Univision for promoting higher education opportunities.
“This scholarship is making a difference in the community and most importantly in the Hispanic community,” Blanchard said. “It is about creating opportunities for those who may not have thought they would have the financial means. Yet they will receive not just the funding but also all the amenities in terms of support, guidance, and advisement to make sure they will cross the finish line, earn their degree, and move on to their respective career goals.”
The University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) is the second-largest university in Houston and has served the educational needs of the nation’s fourth-largest city since 1974. As one of four distinct public universities in the University of Houston System, UHD is a comprehensive, four-year university led by President Loren J. Blanchard. Annually, UHD educates approximately 14,000 students, boasts more than 66,000 alumni, and offers 45 bachelor’s degrees, 12 master’s degrees, and 19 online programs within four colleges: Marilyn Davies College of Business, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, College of Public Service, and College of Sciences and Technology. UHD has one of the lowest tuition rates in Texas.
U.S. News and World Report ranked UHD among the nation’s Best Online Bachelor’s Programs for Applied Administration and Best Online Master’s Programs in Criminal Justice, as well as a Top Performer in Social Mobility. The Wall Street Journal/College Pulse ranked UHD one of the best colleges in the U.S. for its 2024 rankings, with notable distinctions: No. 1 for diversity (tied) and No. 3 for student experience. The University is designated as a Hispanic-Serving Institution, a Minority-Serving Institution, and a Military Friendly School. For more information on the University of Houston-Downtown, visit uhd.edu.