Five students from The University of Texas-Pan American were each awarded a $2,000 scholarship to support their higher education endeavors thanks to the generosity of one of the world's largest retailers, Walmart.
This fall, the company's Information Systems Division sponsored the $20,000 Walmart Leadership in Technology and Innovation Scholarship fund to support scholarships in the Department of Computer Science and Department of Computer Information Systems (CIS). Each department received $10,000 to fund five scholarships per area.
According to Dr. Kai S. Koong, chair for the Department of CIS and Quantitative Methods in the College of Business Administration, this is the largest gift Walmart has made to the program. Last year, Walmart awarded the department $5,000. Koong said he is extremely grateful to the corporation for supporting his students over the years.
"This scholarship is especially great for our students because many of them come from disadvantaged and challenging backgrounds. This allows them to continue their education. It also motivates them in terms of moving forward," Koong said.
"This also shows our students that Walmart is not only the world's largest retailer, but they also care about people," Koong added.
Walmart Scholarship recipients in the CIS program included seniors Paula Hinojosa, Nestor Rodriguez Jr., and Margit E. Houston, and juniors Benjamin A. Gallegos and Raudel Rosales. The CS program will announce their scholarship winners later in the semester.
All five recipients said they are very appreciative of the extra funds to support their dreams of a higher education.
"I felt honored to have received this scholarship. It will heavily motivate me to continue with my bachelor's degree in computer information," Rosales said.
Hinojosa said she plans to use her scholarship to further her education with a master's degree, which she said will hopefully get her on the right track to a Wal-Mart job at the company's headquarters in Bentonville, Ark.
"We really would love to just thank Walmart for this financial support. It means so much to us," Hinojosa said.
Tina Young, Walmart recruiter from its headquarters, said the company has had an almost 20-year relationship with the University, which Walmart has named one of its 10 "core schools" in the nation, based on UTPA's size, rank and curriculum.
"We are dedicated to this University and we truly respect the caliber of students this University is producing. The relationship we have with this University is very important to us, which is why we make sure our executives come to this school and build a relationship," Young said. "UTPA is one of the few HSIs (Hispanic Serving Institutions) in this country that produces great talent."
To date, Young said that more than 20 UTPA alumni work at the Bentonville headquarters in the Information Systems Division. Ultimately, Young said Wal-Mart would like to expand the scholarship to other majors at the University.
If you would like to learn more about supporting the advancement at UTPA, contact the Office of Development, Division of University Advancement at (956) 665-5301 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also visit the Division of University Advancement website.