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Guinan Scholarship Winners Pumped About UST
Five accomplished freshmen were selected for the Father Vincent J. Guinan Scholarship. The recipients will receive full tuition to the University of St. Thomas beginning next semester. Recipients for fall 2012 are Luke Herbert, James Jurica, Jenna Maksymiak, Megan Nguyen and Thy Nguyen.
Father Vincent J. Guinan, a visionary leader, led the Basilian fathers in founding St. Thomas and served as the first president. To further Guinan's mission, scholarship recipients are required to join the Presidential Ambassadors and participate in Campus Ministry activities.

Scholarship applicants must be Catholic, meet specific academic requirements and submit a 500-word essay and recommendation letter. The top 15 finalists attended an on-campus interview.
Meet the fall 2012 scholarship winners:
Photos: Guinan Scholar Luke HebertLuke Hebert, of Bridge City High School in Bridge City, Texas, is the youngest of six, and his education depended largely on scholarship funds.
"If I had not received the scholarship, I would have been forced to attend a public school closer to home," Hebert said. "I was ecstatic to discover I would be spending my undergraduate career at St. Thomas."
Hebert was impressed by the welcoming staff, students and programs when he visited St. Thomas, and he was accepted to the Honors Program.
"Instead of splitting students apart within their discipline, this Honors Program serves as a melting pot for each discipline to mesh in one discussion group-centered class," Hebert said.
Hebert plans to study the field of genetics, and the location of St. Thomas is integral in his career goals.
"The Medical Center in Houston will prove convenient, if not instrumental, for a pre-medical student," Hebert said. "Early connections and internships are essential for my field of study and St. Thomas holds the resources necessary for me to study genetics."
Guinan Scholar James JuricaJames Jurica, of Seton Home Study School in Houston, was genuinely surprised when he received his acceptance phone call.
"I thought the recipients of the Guinan Scholarship had already been contacted weeks earlier," Jurica said. "When I received a call about being chosen for the scholarship I was thrilled."
Home schooled throughout his entire education, Jurica said he looks forward to a quality education and immersion in an inviting, wholesome atmosphere.
"Because I have seven siblings, the Guinan Scholarship provides me the financial means necessary to attend St. Thomas without having to work a second or third job," Jurica said.
Paul Krystofiak, St. Thomas adjunct professor of music, is Jurica's piano professor and recommended him for the scholarship.
Jurica plans to become a doctor.
Guinan Scholar Jenna MaksymiakJenna Maksymiak, of Marian Central Catholic High School in Woodstock, Ill., said prayer and thanksgiving motivate her spiritual and academic life.
"I am just so incredibly grateful," Maksymiak said. "Finances are always a concern in my family and faith has always been what has helped us through. This scholarship continues to make that statement ring true."
Coming from Illinois, Maksymiak is excited to get to know the Houston area, experience different cultures and become a representative of faith and character.
"I just love the diversity of St. Thomas, and I will definitely participate in campus ministry activities," Maksymiak said.
Maksymiak plans to become a theology teacher to teach teenagers what it means to have a relationship with Christ.  
Photo: Guinan Scholar Megan NguyenMegan Nguyen, of Incarnate Word Academy in Houston, said she is thrilled about college life.
"I want to immerse myself in the Catholic curriculum and friendly atmosphere," Nguyen said. "The University of St. Thomas is an environment where the faculty and staff will truly encourage me to succeed."
Nguyen, more than anything, feels blessed and honored that she could relieve her parents of a four-year financial burden.
"It was a great feeling to be able to give my parents just a fraction of what they have given me my whole life," Nguyen said.
She plans to go into the medical field and looks forward to learning more about science and English.
Photo: Guinan Scholar Thy NeguyenThy Nguyen, of Cy-Fair High School in Cypress, Texas, said St. Thomas had the most welcoming atmosphere out of all of her other college visits.
"I felt a little voice was telling me I should come here," Nguyen said. "It was important to me because this was the only way I would've been able to attend St. Thomas and experience everything it offers to the fullest."
Nguyen plans to be a dentist and looks forward to the new things she will learn from her professors and friends.

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