A new endowment established by Dr. Juan Gonzalez, visiting professor in the College of Education's Department of Health and Kinesiology at The University of Texas-Pan American, was announced recently by the UTPA Development Office. The endowment will establish the Dr. Juan Gonzalez National Strength and Conditioning Examination Endowed Scholarship for kinesiology majors at UTPA.
"Many kinesiology students ask me if any scholarships are available for them. Unfortunately the answer has always been no," said Gonzalez, who served 1997-2003 as an associate professor in the health and kinesiology department and more recently within the Division of External Affairs before returning to a faculty position.
"This endowment also honors my life's passion," he said. "Sports involvement with young females definitely makes a positive impact in the development of their self-esteem and a positive attitude that there is nothing they can't do in life."
Gonzalez said he recognized the need for sports specific strength and conditioning programs for talented young female athletes when several years ago, at the request of a friend, he agreed to train her high school daughter in track and field. His training helped the young athlete compete successfully in her sport and since then Gonzalez has trained athletes from throughout the Rio Grande Valley and cities as far away as Houston.
"These outstanding young women have taught me so much," he acknowledged, noting several of his high school athlete trainees have attended UTPA and other universities to pursue degrees in engineering, physical therapy, and education. "There are many more I still work with who are heading in the same direction. Many of these young ladies someday will be CEO's of their companies, medical doctors, teachers and engineers. Sports specific strength and conditioning are important for any athlete."
Gonzalez believes that in today's global market, students need to be competitive. In addition to helping his students acquire their kinesiology degrees, Gonzalez's vision includes a national certification for them as strength and conditioning specialists through the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA).
"For those students who are going into coaching, the CSCS is a valuable certification because it is recognized worldwide. It opens up many opportunities not only in the Rio Grande Valley but outside this area as well. Through the creation of this scholarship endowment, I would like to share my life's passion with other UTPA kinesiology students and, together, we can make a significant impact on the lives of kinesiology students, female athletes, and their future."
For information on establishing an endowed gift, contact Cecilia Johnson, Deborah Gonzalez or Lydia Aleman in the External Affairs Development Office at 956/381-3361.