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The Annual Fund - A Springboard for Student Success

The proverbial pot of gold at the end of the rainbow has to start somewhere. For UTB students and faculty, it begins with the pot of silver at the beginning of the rainbow – called the Annual Fund – and it must be continually replenished to fulfill its mandate.

The Annual Fund has two components: One, it is an important matching funds source for the Stars Scholarship Fund that awards scholarships to students selected on the basis of academic achievement and financial need. Fifty percent of the accumulated donations to the Annual Fund are matched, dollar-for-dollar, by the Stars Scholarship Fund. Secondly, the Annual Fund helps defray costs for students and faculty to attend workshops, conferences and competitions – all critical components to academic growth.

An important offcampus event might be as close as San Antonio, while others could be as far-reaching as Ekaterinburg, Russia, where three UTB students recently traveled to compete in the 38th Association for Computing Machinery International Collegiate Programming Contest.

Representing UTB at the ICPC (left to right), Reynaldo Rea Jr. from Brownsville, Ali-Amir Aldan from Almaty, Kazakhstan, Dr. Liyu Zhang, Associate Professor in the School of Engineering and Computational Sciences and competition coach, and Satzhan Sitmukhambetov from Karagandy, Kazakhstan, placed 19th out of the 122 teams representing universities from every continent.

Presenting research at conferences – testing the waters

The Annual Fund helped with expenses for a group of seven doctoral students, accompanied by Dr. Laura Jewett, Assistant Professor in the Department of Teaching, Learning and Innovation, to attend the Curriculum and Pedagogy Conference held in New Orleans last fall.

“Our doctoral students need to not only attend conferences, but also present their research at these events,” Jewett said. “These learning opportunities are necessary components of a complete education.”

Expanding horizons and creating relationships at home and abroad

Other examples of the Annual Fund in action:

Fall 2013: Senior Gracie Cano (pictured below) traveled to Kielse, Poland, where her photography was included in an exhibition at Jan Kochanowski University.

Fall 2013: Education graduate students Zelica Espinoza and Yousun Shin submitted a proposal and were invited to lead a roundtable discussion at the Council for Learning Disabilities Annual conference in Austin.

Spring 2014: Psychology graduate student Celeste Ledezma presented her research at the Association for Psychological Science convention in San Francisco.

Scholarships are always needed and opportunities abound. Now is the time to make a commitment to the Annual Fund – and the future of the RGV.

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