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Jazz and Jambalaya Event to Help UTB STARS Students Focus on Academics
BROWNSVILLE, TEXASJUNE 17, 2013 – To raise funds for STARS [South Texas Academic Rising Scholars] scholarships, The University of Texas at Brownsville will host “Jazz & Jambalaya” at 6 p.m. on Saturday, June 22 at the Rancho Viejo Convention Center. All funds raised will be matched by the STARS Foundation up to $200,000.
Terry Tomlin and Richard Urbis will entertain at Jazz & Jumbalaya. Terry Tomlin and Richard Urbis will entertain at Jazz & Jumbalaya.
The evening will include casino games, a silent auction, dinner with New Orleans-style cuisine and music by the UTB faculty jazz combo featuring Professors Terry Tomlin and Richard Urbis.
UTB students Jennifer Berenice Frausto and Sarah Christian Garcia know the joy of receiving a STARS scholarship. Frausto has her sights set on becoming a cardiologist, and Garcia is focused on earning her Master’s in Public Health.
“I was always told that college is hard to pay for, and scholarships are scarce, and you have to work hard to earn them,” Garcia said. “I thought, ‘If I earned the STARS scholarship, then I have worked hard.’ Knowing that, it encouraged me to continue heading in a positive direction.”
Garcia and Frausto are not only STARS students, but they are also UTB University Scholars, and both students exemplify the advantage of participating in college-prep academic programs while in high school.
Nineteen-year-old Garcia, a 2012 graduate of Rio Hondo High School, took advantage of Classic Upward Bound throughout her high school years.
“It was great; we took college-level classes, requirements such as government, in the summers,” Garcia said. “We came here to campus and lived in student housing – first the old housing, but last summer we lived in the new Casa Bella, and that was a big change for the better.”
Being University Scholars, Garcia and Frausto live in Casa Bella during the school year as part of their scholarships.
“Those summer experiences gave me a real feel for being in college and an idea of how rigorous the studying is and what it is like to live on campus,” Garcia said. “It was a good way to get our feet wet for the college experience while still being supervised.”
Sarah Garcia
Sarah Garcia
Frausto, also 19 and a graduate of Brownsville’s Porter High School in 2011, participated in GEAR UP.
“We went on field trips to colleges and got help with our FAFSA applications and were informed about various scholarships and had assistance in making those applications,” Frausto said. “The summer before my senior year, I took biology and speech here at UTB with my GEAR UP cohort. Then the next summer, I interviewed to be a University Scholar, and after I was accepted, I was assigned a mentor to help me during my first year at the university.”
Frausto, a biology major, was assigned to mentor Garcia when she became an incoming University Scholar the following summer.
“They paired us up since I was intending to major in biology,” Garcia said. “That was before school started, and we were able to meet up and talk. Jennifer was there to give me advice and help me make it through that first semester when sometimes things are confusing and challenging, and by spring I had more of a grasp of the environment.”
In her second semester, Garcia changed her major to kinesiology/exercise science and has begun focusing on being accepted into the Master of Public Health 4+1 program offered by the UT Houston Health Science Center School of Public Health that is located in the Regional Academic Health Center on the UT Brownsville campus.
“I have always wanted to promote healthy lifestyles and help people develop habits of good nutrition and exercise,” she said. “I learned about community health education, and I feel this is a good way for me to get the message out there and hopefully promote healthy living that will benefit people’s lives.”
While Garcia will be taking summer classes again this year and meeting her incoming University Scholar mentee, Frausto will depart for The University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston where she has been invited to attend an intensive two-week Pre-Medical Allied Health Academic Achievement and Retention Program.
Recently, Frausto was among several students who interviewed for an early acceptance medical school program for The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston Medical School.
“There were two short interviews, about 20 minutes each, with different faculty members,” Frausto said. “It was mostly conversational; they asked questions about why I wanted to go into medicine, and I felt they were just trying to get to know me. I told them my two sisters, who are both handicapped, inspired me to go into the field of medicine. At first I was thinking about physical therapy, but after talking to Dr. Gustavo Stern [Director of the Office of Health Professions Careers], I learned of the opportunities and wide range of specialties, so I gave medical school some thought and it really interested me, and I made the switch this past year.”
Frausto said her STARS scholarship has helped lessen her concern about finances, allowing her to concentrate on her studies.
Jennifer Frausto
Jennifer Frausto
“I was able to complete the school year without the unnecessary stress of the many expenses that come with being a student,” she said. “It is very dear to my heart because I feel this scholarship gave me the opportunity to come a step closer to my ultimate career goals. I greatly appreciate the financial support, and I will do my best to proudly represent STARS by excelling in my academic career.”
Garcia echoed Frausto’s comments, saying she is the first in her family to attend college.
“Hard work does pay off,” she said. “I’m working to help others and my future children to live good, healthy lives.”
For information, sponsorships or to purchase individual tickets for “Jazz & Jambalaya,” contact Marisa Campirano at 956-882-4337 or


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